AOC on How Student Debt Forgiveness Helps Everyone, Even Those Who’ve Paid Off Their Loans

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has spoken on the issue before, saying earlier this year she wasn't sure why Biden hadn't taken sweeping action.

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is pictured speaking at a podium

Image via Getty/Alex Wong

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is pictured speaking at a podium

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has addressed an oft-repeated conservative argument surrounding the push for widespread student debt forgiveness, namely the assertion that such a move wouldn’t help those who have paid off their loans.

The comments arrived via an Instagram Stories update over the weekend, as spotted byBusiness Insider, and saw Ocasio-Cortez responding to the question, “How does canceling student debt help us who paid their loans?”

In an extended response, the progressive Democrat highlighted multiple examples of programs (i.e. (first-time homeowner benefits, Medicare, public transit, etc.) being put in place to benefit specific groups, all while contributing to a greater good.

“Maybe student loan forgiveness doesn’t impact you. That doesn’t make it bad,” she wrote. From there, AOC urged the public to “reject the scarcity mindset” and understand the benefits that can come from such developments whether one is directly affected or not.

“We can do good things and reject the scarcity mindset that says doing something good for someone else comes at the cost of something for ourselves,” Ocasio-Cortez said. She closed with, “It all comes around. It’s okay. We can support things we won’t directly benefit from.”


Ocasio-Cortez has spoken on the issue before, including as part of a Yahoo Finance discussion in February during which she said she was “not sure” why President Joe Biden hadn’t enacted widespread student debt forgiveness.

“It’s the right thing to do,” she said at the time. “Why the president hasn’t done it yet, I’m not sure. But I do think this is an issue of increasing urgency. He has already indicated an openness to it and he has actually already used his authority to forgive student loan debt in certain small, very narrow cases.”

Last week, Biden—per the Associated Press—told reporters at the White House he was “taking a hard look” at such forgiveness. “I am considering dealing with some debt reduction,” he said amid comments delivered in the Roosevelt Room. Not being considered by the administration, however, is $50,000 in debt reduction per borrower. Additional details on Biden’s latest plans have not been disclosed. More information is expected to be made public in the coming weeks.

In April, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris both shared remarks on the decision to extend the pandemic-spurred pause on federal student loan repayments through Aug. 31. As Biden pointed out, Federal Reserve data showed that resuming payments as originally expected in May would have threatened financial stability for many Americans.

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