PHOENIX — Just two days from the first Democratic presidential debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders is proposing a bill which, if passed, would eliminate all student debt in the country.
Sen. Sanders’ proposal comes after Sen. Elizabeth Warren unveiled a plan in the last few weeks that would reduce student debt and the cost of college tuition.
Student loan debt has now eclipsed the amount of debt from credit cards or through car loans—all for getting an education that has become a prerequisite to get many jobs.
“I think at the highest it was $35,000,” Jasmine Lok, a single mom, teacher, and private business owner said about her student loan debt.
The national student debt ticker is on the rise, sitting at $1.6 trillion.
“It is time to hit the reset button,” Bernie Sanders said.
If student debt is eliminated, the result could provide a boon to some families.
“That’s an extra $500 in my pocket. That’s daycare for my kids,” Lok said.
But free college and debt repayment have a real cost.
“It won’t be for free because someone has to pay for it,” Dave Wells, research director at the Grand Canyon Institute said.
In the current forms of the proposals, it would be the wealthy and Wall Street on the hook for the bills.
For example, Warren’s plan calls for an additional 2% tax on anyone making over $50 million (along with an additional 1% for those making more than $1 billion).
Sanders' debt repayment plan calls for new taxes added on to stock trades on Wall Street.
But those details are up for negotiation. Even if one of these candidates makes it to the White House, the plan will still need congressional approval to become reality.