Elizabeth Warren is touting a new idea that would make public college free and erase student debt for millions of people. It would be paid for by a tax on the wealthy. The Massachusetts Senator is hoping her focus on education helps her stand out from the pack of candidates running for the Democratic nomination. Monday morning the presidential candidate’s team wrote a post announcing a plan that will surely draw backlash from many Republicans (and some Democrats). It lays out the case of why “student loan debt is crushing millions of families.” Here’s an excerpt:
The first step in addressing this crisis is to deal head-on with the outstanding debt that is weighing down millions of families and should never have been required in the first place. That’s why I’m calling for something truly transformational — the cancellation of up to $50,000 in student loan debt for 42 million Americans.
My plan for broad student debt cancellation will:
Cancel debt for more than 95% of the nearly 45 million Americans with student loan debt;
Wipe out student loan debt entirely for more than 75% of the Americans with that debt;
Substantially increase wealth for Black and Latinx families and reduce both the Black-White and Latinx-White wealth gaps; and
Provide an enormous middle-class stimulus that will boost economic growth, increase home purchases, and fuel a new wave of small business formation.
She goes on to detail her plan for free public college:
Once we’ve cleared out the debt that’s holding down an entire generation of Americans, we must ensure that we never have another student debt crisis again. We can do that by recognizing that a public college education is like a public K-12 education — a basic public good that should be available to everyone with free tuition and zero debt at graduation.
The hard part, of course, will be how to fund this plan. Warren says “The entire cost of my broad debt cancellation plan and universal free college is more than covered by my Ultra-Millionaire Tax — a 2% annual tax on the 75,000 families with $50 million or more in wealth.”
Warren spoke with CNN about her proposal.