Bernie Sanders: GOP ‘Squawking’ Over Student Debt Aid, but Fine With Billionaire Tax Breaks

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Senate Budget Committee Holds Hearing On The Striking Workers At Warrior Met Coal In Alabama - Credit: Getty Images
Senate Budget Committee Holds Hearing On The Striking Workers At Warrior Met Coal In Alabama - Credit: Getty Images

Bernie Sanders is tired of Republicans complaining about legislation that helps working people while they support bills that give billionaires tax breaks.

Appearing on ABC’s This Week days after President Joe Biden announced up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness for borrowers, Sanders said, “I know it is shocking to some Republicans that the government actually on occasion does something to benefit working families and low-income people. I don’t hear any of these Republicans squawking when we give massive tax breaks to billionaires.”

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Sanders was responding to Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-Mo.) earlier interview on the show, where he said Biden’s student loan forgiveness program was “monumentally unfair” and “just wrong” while claiming it would harm the economy.

“Well, he’s wrong,” Sanders said. “Sixty percent of the benefits go to people who were on Pell grants, 87 percent of the benefits go to people who are making $75,000 a year [or less].”

“Look, I know it is shocking, George, to some Republicans that the government actually, on occasion, does something to benefit working families and low-income people,” Sanders continued. “I don’t hear any of these Republicans squawking when we give massive tax breaks to billionaires, when we have an effective tax rate today such that the one percent are having a lower effective tax rate than working people. We have major corporations in a given year [that] don’t pay a nickel in federal taxes. That’s OK. But suddenly when we do something for working people, it is a terrible idea.”

Sanders then talked about conversations he had recently with nurses who work two jobs, putting in “outrageous hours” in part because they are trying to “pay for the student debts that they have accumulated.”

Responding to criticism coming from Democrats who point out that people other than those with student debt are also struggling to make ends meet, Sanders said the answer is for government to help everyone.

“The answer is not to do what Republicans want to do, like, ‘Oh, it’s unfair to this person because we’re helping that person.’ The answer is maybe to create a government [that] works for all people and not just for wealthy campaign contributors.”

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