Last month, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced a bicameral bill to cancel the student loan debt of millions of Americans.
"My very first bill when I got to the Senate was legislation to tackle the growing student debt crisis because I was sick of Washington allowing the wealthy to pay less, while burying tens of millions of Americans in mountains of student loan debt. Since then, Washington has only allowed this crisis to get worse — especially for people of color. Enough is enough," said Warren when she and fellow Democrat House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) introduced the bill in late July, as reported by The Hill.
So why is the younger generation increasingly starting off their professional careers buried in debt? The senator's own textbooks, which are required reading in some college classes, provide a convenient glimpse at one of the many reasons: inflated textbook costs, only made possible by the dizzying federal loan cycle. As one student pointed out to The Daily Wire, the class he's taking this semester on bankruptcy requires him to purchase Warren's textbook and supplementary text that total over $300.
Currently on Amazon, a new copy of Warren's "The Law of Debtors and Creditors: Text, Cases, and Problems" costs students $258.97. If that's too pricey, you can always rent it for the relative "bargain" price of $122.49. If you need the 2019 statutory supplement "Bankruptcy and Article 9," though, you'll have to come up with another $60.00.
Warren's co-authored "Secured Transactions: A Systems Approach" is a bit more affordable than "The Law of Debtors and Creditors," currently costing students $122.81 new. Another of Warren's co-authored texts, "Comprehensive Commercial Law" statutory supplement requires students to fork over $57.95 for a paperback.
Are textbook costs the reason graduates are drowning in debt? Not by themselves, for sure, but they add to the rapidly increasing price tag of a college education, the inflation of which is far-outpacing other segments of the economy. College professors have no control over how much publishers charge for their books, of course, but the increasingly exorbitant costs of required texts can't be lost on them at the start of each semester. As Amazon demonstrates, some of the attempts to curb the costs include rentals, digital copies, which are often still far overpriced, and used copies, so long as professors don't require the newest editions.
As detailed by Forbes in June, Warren's student loan bill is heavily tiered and includes "phase-outs" based on income. The bill would be a great deal for those with a total household income below $100,000, forgiving up to $50,000 of loan debt. Those making between $100,000 and $250,000 in total household income would end up having less of their debt canceled. Those making over $250,000, or "the top 5%" as Warren describes them, would get no such relief.
"The $50,000 cancellation amount would phase out by $1 for every $3 in income above $100,000," Forbes explains. "According to Warren, for example, 'a person with household income of $130,000 gets $40,000 in cancellation, while a person with household income of $160,000 gets $30,000 in cancellation.'"
How does Warren plan to pay for writing off the debt of millions? One of the ideas she's pushing on the campaign trail is a "2% annual tax on the 75,000 families in the U.S. who have at least $50 million in net worth," Forbes explains.