New York Times Lies to Readers About Student Loan Debt (and Yes, the Lie Helps Trump)

April 04, 2024

The New York Times is apparently finding it difficult to be honest with its readers about the burden of student loan debt. It ran a major column telling readers that the burden of student loan debt is discouraging young people from becoming priests or nuns.

The whole premise of this column rests on a lie, that student debt should be a major burden to people interested in pursuing low-paying careers that might serve a higher purpose. The reason this is a lie is that income-driven repayment plan that President Biden put in place should allow people working in low-paying occupations to face little or no burden from their student debt.

Under this plan, a single person (presumably the relevant category for nuns and priests) would have to pay zero if their annual income is less than $32,800 a year. If it is $40,000 they would owe $720 a year and at $50,000 they would have to pay $1,700 a year. This hardly seems like a crushing burden for someone who wants to devote their life to pursuing religious ends.

This is not the first time the NYT has run a piece on student loan debt that completely ignored Biden’s income-driven repayment plan. Back in January it had a lengthy piece on how student loan debt was making college a bad deal for many people that never once mentioned Biden’s plan.

It is kind of astounding that people could be writing on this important topic, for the country’s leading newspaper, who apparently know nothing about the debt burden students would face under current law. It would be very unfortunate if people made decisions on colleges and careers based on the information they’re getting from these pieces.

In addition to confusing people on their options for dealing with debt, this is also a major political issue. Since tens of millions of people have student loan debt, the existence of a repayment option that minimizes their burden is likely to be a big deal for them in how they view the political parties.

Not only did President Biden put this new income-driven plan in place (it makes earlier plans from Clinton and Obama more generous), 11 Republican state attorneys general are suing to have the courts declare the plan illegal. It is very likely that if Trump wins the election, he will end this income-driven repayment plan.

Voters should know the implications for their student loan debt burden when they go to vote this fall. Readers of the New York Times would not.


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