So Joe Biden’s student loan relief is only all but useless

Be very, very skeptical of this. I’m setting it up. Yes, it’s me. But previous experiments have fallen flat on their face.

There’s supposed to be an iframe box here:

That would be above this sentence.

I’m still really, really fumbling about here and I don’t really understand the concept of a “virtual server” in this context. It has to actually live somewhere, but I have no idea where that is. It seems not to actually live on any of my machines, which, given my technical aptitude these days, is good.

The impetus is a rather serious doubt that entities like Twitter and Facebook can ever get content moderation right. I still hold to a view that people ought to be accountable for what they say. But if an artificial idiot is your only way of moderating content at scale, which may very well be the case, well, that’s just not going to work, and I’m seeing fairly regularly, with folks posting screenshots of ludicrously censored posts, that it indeed doesn’t work.

I may never have an adequate answer here. But it would be good if some of you would join me in this experiment and “boost” this server, because otherwise I might actually have to actually buy more “boosts.” Ick.


Student loans

I’m learning a bit more about Joe Biden’s student loan relief plan. There are a couple pieces that do after all marginally—very marginally—apply in my situation.

[Joe] Biden also announced a four-month extension of the moratorium on student loan repayments, as well as plans to allow borrowers with undergraduate loans to cap repayments at 5% of their monthly income. . . .

The proposed rule says that borrowers who make less than 225% of the federal minimum wage — roughly $30,577, or what a full-time worker earning $15 per hour earns — are not required to make payments on their federal undergraduate loans, according to the Department of Education.

The rule calls for the government to forgive loan balances of $12,000 or less after a borrower has made 10 years of payments. Currently, borrowers must pay their loans for two decades and have a balance below that amount to have debt forgiven.[7]

I have both undergraduate and graduate student loans amounting to something under $400,000. Because my repayments are already zero, because my income is so low, because I still can’t get a real job,[8] neither the moratorium extension nor the repayment cap nor the income threshold changes affect my financial situation in the near term.

The proposal also would restrict unpaid monthly interest from accruing as long as borrowers are making payments, so those who are benefiting from capped loan payments won’t see their overall balances grow.[9]

As I understand it, zero payments still count as payments, so this means the balance that will never be repaid will not actually grow beyond what it already is. It is already set to be forgiven after twenty years, probably meaning in 2036, which means this last bit is utterly meaningless:

The student-loan forgiveness will qualify as non-taxable income until 2025 under the American Rescue Plan, which Biden signed in March of 2021.[10]

And yes, I understand that for tax year 2036, or whenever it is, I’ll suddenly have something under $400,000 in taxable income from the forgiven debt and I still won’t have the money to pay the taxes on it.

The psychological impact is another story. This is supposed to help people. It hardly helps me at all. It’s assumed that college graduates go on to great careers. Six years after graduating, I’m fucking driving for fucking Uber. The message here is that I’m alone, I’m the only college graduate, or at least one of a very, very few, let alone with a Ph.D., who can’t get a real job.

I know that message isn’t entirely true. I hear otherwise from university faculty and administrators who occasionally get in my car. But the political message is what counts for its failure to acknowledge my situation and that of others like me and because it promises at best negligible relief.

And that messages like the political even exist hurts. With help like this, it won’t just be white Christian nationalists chanting, “Let’s Go Brandon.”[11]

Nancy Cook, Josh Wingrove, and Jennifer Jacobs, “Biden Unveils Plan to Free Students from ‘Unsustainable Debt,’” Bloomberg, August 24, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-24/biden-set-to-freeze-student-loan-repayments-for-four-more-months

Phil Mattingly, Katie Lobosco and Maegan Vazquez, “Biden announces student loan relief for borrowers making less than $125,000,” CNN, August 24, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/24/politics/student-loans-joe-biden-white-house/index.html


Gilead

Abortion

I cannot condemn strongly enough a claim to be “pro-life” when the mother’s life and health do not matter.

In a ruling late Wednesday, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said the statute [which abortions except in cases involving rape, incest or when a woman’s life is in danger — and does not contain an exception for when a pregnant person’s health is at risk] violates a federal act that requires hospitals participating in the federally funded Medicare program to provide medical care when a person’s life or health is at stake. The “trigger” law was written by Idaho state lawmakers long before the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in June, with the expectation that it would automatically go into effect soon after the court made that landmark ruling. . . .

The ruling sets up a potential clash in the federal court system, with a Texas court ruling Tuesday that the federal statute in question does not require states to allow abortions in instances when it could protect a pregnant patient’s health. With many states passing increasingly stringent abortion bans, legal experts expect the litigation over the health-exception issue to continue, potentially reaching the Supreme Court.[12]

Perry Stein, “Judge blocks part of Idaho’s abortion law from taking effect,” Washington Post, August 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/24/idaho-abortion-ruling/


  1. [7]Nancy Cook, Josh Wingrove, and Jennifer Jacobs, “Biden Unveils Plan to Free Students from ‘Unsustainable Debt,’” Bloomberg, August 24, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-24/biden-set-to-freeze-student-loan-repayments-for-four-more-months
  2. [8]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  3. [9]Nancy Cook, Josh Wingrove, and Jennifer Jacobs, “Biden Unveils Plan to Free Students from ‘Unsustainable Debt,’” Bloomberg, August 24, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-24/biden-set-to-freeze-student-loan-repayments-for-four-more-months
  4. [10]Nancy Cook, Josh Wingrove, and Jennifer Jacobs, “Biden Unveils Plan to Free Students from ‘Unsustainable Debt,’” Bloomberg, August 24, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-24/biden-set-to-freeze-student-loan-repayments-for-four-more-months
  5. [11]Ben Smith, “Brandon Just Wants to Drive His Racecar,” New York Times, December 19, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/19/business/brandon-brown-lets-go-brandon.html
  6. [12]Perry Stein, “Judge blocks part of Idaho’s abortion law from taking effect,” Washington Post, August 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/08/24/idaho-abortion-ruling/

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