Britt McHenry: Elizabeth Warren took a stab at fixing a looming crisis, but she hit far from the mark

Elizabeth Warren is right, and that is not something this writer has said often -- if ever.

The United States has a massive student loan debt problem that has crippled the finances of Millennials and will continue to do so, if not properly addressed. Warren deserves credit for emerging as the only 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to substantively acknowledge the estimated $1.5 trillion in debt.

However, that’s where agreement with the Massachusetts senator ends. On Monday, Warren detailed in a Medium blog post how she would like to cancel $50,000 in student loan debt for individuals making below $100,000, or roughly 42 million people. For those who earn a salary exceeding $100,000, the $50,000 cancellation would gradually vanish by $1 for every $3 dollars. Warren proposed using data already on hand in the federal government.


But if you make more than $250,000 annually, well, you’re out of luck in this Oprah-like freebie contest. Watch your peers skate off scot-free while you wallow in interest-laden debt. Nice to see that our country’s leaders are readily embracing handouts on perceived class warfare.

Here’s the problem: the middle class, as Sen. Warren sees it, does not exist. In metropolitan areas such as New York, Washington D.C., and San Francisco, any individual making $100,000 is barely living comfortably. According to the finance site GOBankingRates, one would need to earn $110,357 in San Francisco and $86,446 in New York to essentially just make ends meet.

So, right off the bat, one of our largest cities that’s a driving force in one of our country’s leading future industries (technology) doesn’t meet Warren’s criteria. You’d be lucky to fall into Warren’s phase-out plan simply based on picking an essential profession that geographically screws you.

Warren also proposes making college tuition free for all Americans, for both two-year and four-year programs at public institutions. Her student debt cancellation idea would cost $640 billion, which ramps up considerably to $1.25 trillion over the span of a decade.

Free Monopoly money is just flowing everywhere in Warren’s world. Although, it’s not surprising, given Warren relied on a sketchy and diluted claim of Cherokee Nation heritage on both her Harvard and Texas Bar registration to help cut corners as a “minority professor.”

Nevertheless, Warren suggests her “ultra-millionaire tax,” two percent taxation applied to anyone with more than $50 million in assets and three percent for those with assets valued over $1 billion, as a way to pay for everything. According to UCLA Berkley economists, it would pay for Warren’s expensive student-loan solution plan, with a trillion to spare.

My greatest issues with this are its practicality. First, lower the federal interest rates on student loans, which are often higher than mortgage rates. In one decade of modest payment plans, I ended up spending $22,000 in interest alone.


It’s mind-boggling that more politicians are not currently advocating for this. Instead of just wiping out all debt, (which many Americans, including this writer, have responsibly paid off), offer a gradual work-towards-forgiveness program that applies to a larger swath of people than just public service workers.

In America, we work for what we have. We earn it based on a philosophy of merit and not cancellation handouts. Warren took a stab at fixing a looming crisis, but she hit far from the mark.