College graduate unemployment hits pre-pandemic level as Biden sells loan forgiveness as COVID emergency

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The August jobs report released on Friday showed the unemployment rate for college graduates fell to pre-pandemic levels after President Joe Biden’s recent pledge to spend at least $500 billion on loan forgiveness studying while using the coronavirus pandemic as legal justification.

The unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree fell to 1.9%, according to the August jobs report, matching the same rate recorded in February 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdowns that followed in the United States.

The new figures come at the same time President Biden has pledged $500 billion, a figure many experts expect will ultimately be much higher, to erase $10-20,000 in student loan debt. for millions of Americans while citing the coronavirus pandemic as legal justification.

Biden, who once said it was “quite questionable” if the president had the power to write off student loan debt, justified his sweeping executive action by claiming that the “HEROES Act” of 2003 grants the secretary of the education authority “to deal with financial hardship resulting of the COVID-19 pandemic by reducing or canceling student loan principal balances for a broad class of borrowers.”

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President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House, Saturday, March 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP/AP Newsroom)

Many lawyers questioned the administration’s interpretation of the “HEROES Act”, which was passed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in an effort to ensure that service members fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan would not be penalized in reimbursing their federal student aid loans.

EJ Antoni, a regional economics researcher at the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis, told Fox News Digital that the unemployment rate among college graduates falling to pre-pandemic levels takes away from Biden’s argument that debt should be canceled now.

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“If you want to talk about, oh these people need debt relief because of the pandemic, then wouldn’t they have needed debt relief all the more in February 2020?” said Anthony. “The very idea that it’s somehow because of the pandemic is frankly abhorrent to me.”

President Biden delivers a speech in Philadelphia on September 1, 2022

President Biden speaks outside Independence Hall, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci/AP Newsroom)

Antoni explained that Americans with a bachelor’s degree or higher have jobs that have essentially kept pace with inflation during the pandemic, which has shown them healthy pay increases while the average worker has seen their wages drop by 5%. .

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“So you’re asking the average American who earns less in real terms to pay for people who earn that much in real terms, just as much as they did before the pandemic,” Antoni said. “This, in my view, is a total slap in the face for the worker who never went to college and obviously for those who went to college and paid off their loans or didn’t borrow.”

Antoni added that there have been “literally only a few times in history” when the college unemployment rate has been below 1.9% and 3.7 million more college graduates are working today. today than in February 2020.

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In addition to concerns about the legal justification for canceling student loan debt, many have questioned whether it is prudent to spend such a high price at a time when historic inflation is inflicting financial hardship. to so many Americans across the country.

Students protest against student loans

FILE: Activists attend a rally outside the White House to call on US President Joe Biden to cancel student debt on July 27, 2022 in Washington, DC (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images/Getty Images)

“It’s kerosene on the dumpster fire,” Antoni said, adding that the pause in interest payments and other factors will almost certainly push the total cost of student loan forgiveness to more than $600 million.

“The White House has no control over these numbers at all,” Antoni said.

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The White House did not immediately respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment.

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