Background Briefing: August 24, 2022


Is Biden’s Student Debt Cancellation Enough?

We begin with President Biden’s announcement today that he is cancelling the student debt of over 40 million Americans by $10,000 for most borrowers and $20,000 for recipients of Pell Grants. Joining us is René Christian Moya, an organizer with the Debt Collective, based in Los Angeles. He is also a tenant organizer who has worked to cancel rent during the COVID-19 pandemic and since he is a student debt holder, we discuss what Biden’s move today means for him and whether it is enough given that Senators Schumer and Warren were calling for a $50,000 cancellation while Senator Sanders is pointing out that the average debt forgiveness in the Paycheck Protection Program that went to businesses was $95,700.


How Did Students Cease Being Investments in the Future to Become Centers of Profit?

Then we look further into the shift away from investing in the future of students through inexpensive college and university education to today’s astronomical growth in college tuition and the accompanying student debt crisis of $1.7 trillion owed now that students have become profit centers saddled with a lifetime of debt before they get a job. Joining us to discuss his new book, After the Ivory Tower Falls: How College Broke the American Dream and Blew Up Our Politics—and How to Fix It, is Will Bunch, who is an award-winning national opinion columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, and he blogs at He is the author of The Bern Identity: A Search for Bernie Sanders and the New American Dream and we also discuss his latest article at the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Congress needs to figure out the deal between Trump, Jared, and the Saudis.”


Is Charlie Crist up to the Task of Stopping Ron DeSantis?

Then finally we get an assessment of yesterday’s Florida primaries and whether the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, former Republican Governor Charlie Crist, can throw a wrench into the presidential ambitions of Governor Ron DeSantis who has a $100 million warchest and is clearly running for president but does not want to announce it because Trump would see that as a challenge to his supremacy over the GOP. Joining us is Dr. Michael McDonald, a Professor of Political Science at University of Florida. He is a principal investigator on the Public Mapping Project, a project to encourage public participation in redistricting, and also is the Director of the United States Election Project. His new book, out September 5, is From Pandemic to Insurrection: Voting in the 2020 US Presidential Election.