bar graph showing $1.5 trillion student loan debt equals budget deficit
Press Release
January 2, 2018

The Republicans’ Choice: Tax Giveaways for the Wealthy and Corporations Instead of Help for Hard Working Student Loan Borrowers

$1.5 Trillion GOP Adds to Federal Deficit With Tax Scheme Equals Amount Americans Saddled With in Student Loan Debt

MADISON, Wis. — The tax scheme rammed through by Washington D.C. Republicans, with the support of top members of the Wisconsin GOP including Gov. Scott Walker and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, will add an estimated $1.5 trillion to the federal debt. One Wisconsin Now Program Director Analiese Eicher noted the irony that the budget busting tax cut adds to the federal deficit an amount roughly equal to the $1.5 trillion in student loan debt held by over 44 million Americans. Student loan debt is the second largest consumer debt in the U.S., exceeding credit card and auto loan debt.

“Republicans could have literally paid off the student loan debt of every American with what they’re willing to pile on to the federal deficit with their tax scheme,” commented Eicher. “But instead of providing real relief for hard working Americans from the economic crisis of student loan debt, they’re larding themselves and their wealthy friends and corporations with tax giveaways.”

According to analysis the provision of the GOP’s recently adopted tax scheme will add roughly $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit over the next ten years. That closely mirrors the amount of student loan debt estimated to be held by over 44 million Americans. And while rushing to pass a tax plan whose benefits overwhelmingly go to the wealthiest, the GOP has for years refused to enact a common sense student loan debt reform, allowing borrowers to refinance their loans, just like you can with a mortgage.

Eicher pointed to the “Badger Bribe” for student loan debt reform opponent and ostensible deficit hawk Sen. Ron Johnson as a particularly egregious example of the graft among Republicans in Washington D.C. that leaves average Americans out in the cold. Johnson has voted on multiple occasions against legislation that would have allowed borrowers to reduce their monthly federal student loan debt payments by refinancing at lower interest rates. Yet he fought to include a special provision in the GOP tax bill to benefit “pass through” business entities like his family business.

For his part, Gov. Scott Walker enthusiastically embraced the tax giveaway, penning a glowing editorial in favor of the kind of trickle down economic scheme embodied in the final version of the GOP tax bill. Yet Walker, who himself listed six figures in student loan debt on federal financial disclosures during his 71 day run for president, has opposed a state based plan to help Wisconsin borrowers refinance their student loans.

She concluded, “Republicans made their choice. And every month when 44 million Americans open up their student loan debt bill they’ll be reminded that the GOP politicians chose the wealthy and big corporations over them.”

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

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