Student Loan Forgiveness Plans Enrage Boomers: 'Unfair'

A number of people in the so-called "boomer" generation have hit out at President Joe Biden's reported plans to forgive some student loan debt for millions of people.

The suggestion that Biden may follow through with one of his 2020 campaign promises was revealed by California rep. Rep. Tony Cardenas, following a meeting the president had with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

During the meeting, Biden is reported to have said he is not only prepared to extend the current federal moratorium when it expires in August, but is also looking into forgiving at least $10,000 in debt for students who are paying back their loans.

"He said, 'Yes, I'm exploring doing something on that front,'" Cardenas told the Associated Press. "And he also smiled and said, 'You're going to like what I do on that as well.'"

Student Loan Forgiveness rally
Student Loan Forgiveness rally n Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th street near the White House on April 27, 2022 . Stock image (Inset) Unhappy old people. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The move to cancel student debt has been long called for by the progressive sections of the Democratic party. It is seen as a way for Biden to improve his ratings in the polls and chances of winning the next election, as well as help the Democrats retain control of the House and Senate following November's midterms.

However, the reported plans to forgive student loans money have also been met with criticism, especially from older generations who have spent years paying off their own debt.

Others also take issue that people who did not attend college will have to cover the cost for those who attended expensive schools.

"Canceling student debt is unfair to millions who worked hard to pay off their own," tweeted Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera.

"The Rep. Ro Khanna idea works better for individuals and the nation: Free Community College for every American high school grad. No Debt, just a leg up for every kid rich, poor or middle class."

Mark Curtis, an television anchor for Arizona's 12 News, added: "Cancelling accrued interest on a loan.. I can see or cutting interest rates to 0%... but forgiving ALL student loan debt? While nice.. it is unrealistic and unfair to all of those who have worked their tails off in the past."

Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney mocked the plans to wipe off student loan debt as "desperate" from Biden.

"Desperate polls call for desperate measures: Dems consider forgiving trillions in student loans," Romney tweeted. "Other bribe suggestions: Forgive auto loans? Forgive credit card debt? Forgive mortgages? And put a wealth tax on the super-rich to pay for it all. What could possibly go wrong?"

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, who at aged 47 is not part of the boomer generation, also tweeted his objection to the student loan forgiveness idea on the basis it affect those who did not attend college

"Mississippians without college degrees (or who paid off their debt) should not be forced to pay for the student loans of others," Reeves tweeted. "Why should people who chose not to go to college or chose to settle their own loans be punished for the benefit of those who made different decisions?

"The student loan machine is predatory. It should be held accountable. But this is a fundamentally unfair and unwise way for the Biden administration to do it."

This graph, provided by Statista, shows the impact student loan forgiveness would have.

Graph Shows Effect of Student Loan Forgiveness
This graph shows the effect that student loan forgiveness would have at varying levels of potential debt cancelation. President Joe Biden has reportedly indicated he may soon act on student loan forgiveness. Statista

The issue on whether student loans should be forgiven has shown to be more favorable with millennials—those born between 1981 and the mid 90s—and Generation Z, those currently aged around 24 and under.

According to a Morning Consult poll in December, there is a major gulf in terms of approval between age demographics when asked if the government should enact some sort of student loan relief.

The survey found that 45 percent of baby boomers, those currently aged between their mid 50s and mid 70s, are against any form of student loan forgiveness.

One in 10 boomers said all student loans should be wiped off for families with lower incomes, with just nine percent stating all student debts should be forgiven.

In comparison, more than one third (34 percent) of millennials believe that all student loans should be forgiven, with just 13 percent believing no loans should be wiped off.

Nearly one quarter (24 percent) of Gen Z, some of whom will not have started paying back any college loans yet, said the debts be forgiven entirely.

As well as there being opposing views among different age groups, there is also a partisan split over the suggestion of student loan forgiveness.

According to the Morning Consult poll, 51 percent of Democrats believe there should be some kind of student loan forgiveness, while nearly half (48 percent) of Republicans stating there should be none at all.

The White House has been contacted for comment.