Abigail Sanchez

Opinions Editor

As all politicians are ‘wont to do,’ President Biden made many promises throughout his campaign trail for the 2020 election — the biggest of which are tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and getting he-who-shall-not-be-named out of office. By signing over 30 executive orders in his first week of office, you wouldn’t be wrong to think that he might actually keep the promises he made on the campaign trail. However, in politics, it’s easier to make a promise than to actually keep it. President Biden may have, thus far, kept some of his promises, but don’t get your hopes up in believing that he will continue to do so. His recent refusal of the $50,000 student loan debt forgiveness plan, pushed by the Democrats, makes this clear.

One of President Biden’s own campaign promises was student loan forgiveness, except the plan was more based on income rather than a certain amount that should be forgiven. President Biden planned to forgive the student loans of those whose income is $125,000 or less per year, yet he didn’t really specify up to what amount will be forgiven. One can say that President Biden technically didn’t break this promise by supporting a $10,000 student loan forgiveness plan instead of $50,000. After all, he didn’t say that he was forgiving $50,000 in student loans — only those whose income is $125,000 or less. He did commit to the idea of student loan forgiveness, however, and not standing in support with his fellow Democrats to achieve this goal reflects poorly on him. I’m not here to debate whether the $50,000 or $10,000 student loan forgiveness plan is better, but, at face value, it seems like President Biden is willing to forgive student loans, just at a limit. This brings up a concern as to whether President Biden is beginning to only go halfway — or a quarter of the way — when it comes to keeping the rest of his promises instead of all-out, like people expected him to.

President Biden mentioned that he wanted to leave this matter for Congress to address so they can turn it into a law that cannot be overturned. This is a smart idea, considering that executive orders can be overturned by another president, although, it also revealed another reason why the American people can’t expect him to keep all of his promises. While getting things passed in Congress certainly has the advantage of being more difficult to overturn than an executive order, it can also take quite a while for a bill to even get passed if it faces a hard opposition. Seeing as the Democrats are barely hanging onto control of the House and the Senate, getting bills passed may take longer, especially with the filibuster still in place.

Again, one might say that it is through no fault of President Biden if Congress cannot pass the bills he wants to be passed in a timely manner, but President Biden, in his inaugural address, pledged unity and bipartisanship. While we all know that bipartisanship may not (ever) happen in Congress, President Biden can’t throw in the towel this early in his term and face failure to even unite Congress. He has to show that he is willing to work with the GOP to pass bipartisan legislation, and these kinds of debates won’t last for just one day. In other words, if he can’t work on uniting a divided Congress to pass bipartisan legislation, then the policies he promised definitely won’t be happening anytime soon, or at all, during his term — unless he’s willing to sign more executive orders, which he won’t, if he’s smart.

Why is it so important for President Biden to follow through on all his promises? After all, we shouldn’t expect him to complete them when he probably has enough on his plate with the pandemic and all — except we should. Sure, most people elected him because they just wanted you-know-who out of office, but others elected him because they truly believed he could bring change to the country. True, it is impressive for him to sign so many executive orders in his first week, with most — if not all — of the orders being aligned with progressive policies. However, that doesn’t mean we need to lower our expectations; we still need to hold him accountable. The majority of the U.S. chose him to be president (no matter what the white supremacists say), and, after the past four terrible years, we should expect nothing less than what we deserve. Broken promises don’t build trust, after all.

Additionally, most of his plans could help out so many people if followed through with the right execution. Student loan forgiveness could also help with ending racial disparity, as about “77.7 [percent] of Black students borrow federal student loans to pay for a higher education.” Compare this to a significantly lower 57.5 percent of white students, and a national average of 60 percent of all students. If President Biden were to forgive his preferred number of $10,000, it would help about 30 percent of the borrowers. Should President Biden forgive the $50,000 of student loans, as the Democrats urge him to do, it would help about 80 percent of the borrowers, which would, in turn, help more minorities. President Biden is supposedly committed to promoting racial equality, and forgiving student loans with no limiting factors — which will prevent people who are really struggling with paying back their debts from falling through the cracks — will assist  in that goal.

None of the promises made on Biden’s 2020 campaign trail should be empty. He needs to fulfill them to the best of his ability. At the same time, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if he failed to complete some of his promises, whether it’s because he refused to go all-out, or because Congress couldn’t pass those policies. He claimed to be a president for all Americans, but that shouldn’t just be a reference to a political party affiliation. “All Americans” also includes those struggling to make ends meet, and those who face discrimination from the system. I don’t expect him to fulfill all his promises, but I do expect him to make every attempt, no matter how difficult, to try.

Featured Image: Courtesy of Getty Images / iStockphoto

Author

  • Abigail Sanchez has been writing for the Quaker Campus since fall 2019 and is currently the Opinions Editor of the Quaker Campus. She is also a freelance writer and has written for two feminist media platforms. She enjoys writing about political and social issues that affect the country and her community. In her spare time, Abigail likes to listen to music, read books, and write fictional stories.

Abigail Sanchez has been writing for the Quaker Campus since fall 2019 and is currently the Opinions Editor of the Quaker Campus. She is also a freelance writer and has written for two feminist media platforms. She enjoys writing about political and social issues that affect the country and her community. In her spare time, Abigail likes to listen to music, read books, and write fictional stories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Next Post

Apple Music’s Foundation for the Future