- The administration has teased the application’s release since President Biden’s August announcement.
- Now in mid-October, the White House is refraining from offering specifics on a launch date.
- The confusion surrounding the release of the application highlights just how unprepared the Biden administration was to roll out debt cancellation.
From the headlines I saw Tuesday, it seemed the White House might have actually had some news on the student loan forgiveness front. Perhaps the much-anticipated applications were finally ready for prime time.
Turns out that wasn’t the case.
Rather, the Biden administration simply was “previewing” what the promised form will look like – whenever they get around to posting it.
A failure to launch
On Twitter, the White House made its “announcement” this way:
“Student Debt Relief Update: Today, the U.S. Department of Education is previewing the student debt relief application form.”
What follows is a graphic showing just how easy it will be to fill out the form and get the forgiveness Biden has promised.
This could do real economic harm:Biden’s student loan forgiveness is costly for taxpayers and bad for higher education
The administration has teased the release of the application since President Joe Biden’s announcement in August. It was supposed to be set by “early October.”
We’ve entered mid-October, and the White House is refraining from offering more specifics on the launch date, other than saying it will happen sometime this month.
The confusion surrounding the release of such a simple application highlights just how unprepared the Biden administration was to roll out the debt cancellation.
Economic forecast gets worse
The timing of the forgiveness announcement, as I’ve noted previously, was a calculated move on the president’s part to woo voters ahead of the midterm elections.
What Biden isn’t taking into account, however, is that Americans are most worried right now about inflation and the economy.
While Biden has tried to remain sunny on the country’s economic prospects, he admitted this week that there’s a chance of a “slight recession.” Others, including JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, are much more certain that’s where we’re headed.
More from Ingrid Jacques:‘Inflation reduction’ bill? Don’t buy Democrats’ fantastical twisting of reality.
This is the worst possible time for the government to spur inflation through more than $400 billion in loan cancellation that will add to the nation’s skyrocketing debt (I’ll write more on that later in the week).
To make matters worse, the majority of the cancellation will go toward Americans who need the extra help the least. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has estimated that 57% to 65% of the extended loan repayment pause and cancellation will benefit the top half of income earners.
Lawsuits are likely delaying forgiveness
The good news is that several federal lawsuits, filed by plaintiffs who may be harmed by Biden’s actions, are challenging the legality of the unilateral loan cancellation.
More on Biden student loan relief:Biden’s fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants approach to canceling student loans is creating a huge mess
The success of those lawsuits is the best chance at stopping Biden’s order, which will burden all taxpayers, many of whom have never been to college or who have already paid off their debts.
The Pacific Legal Foundation, which filed the first lawsuit, has amended its complaint and is now bringing a class action suit because the government has tried to sidestep judicial review when it comes to individual plaintiffs.
According to PLF, the Education Department responded to the complaint Tuesday, saying that it won’t cancel anything until Oct. 23. It also stated that in a legal filing related another lawsuit.
I’m guessing that’s what has contributed to the delay in the release of the application, but the administration isn’t likely to be upfront with borrowers about that.
Ingrid Jacques is a columnist at USA TODAY. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @Ingrid_Jacques