The Forever Student Loan Emergency

Wall Street Journal:

Merry Christmas, student loan borrowers. Taxpayers will have to settle for airing their grievances a la Festivus. That’s the result of the Biden Administration’s decision on Wednesday to extend its payment moratorium again to May 1. Unlike its last pause through January, the Administration isn’t saying this extension is final—probably because it’s not.

The Cares Act in March 2020 relieved borrowers from making payments on $1.6 trillion in federal student loans and waived interest accrual through September 2020. President Trump extended the pause through January despite no legislative authority to do so. Mr. Biden compounded the injury to taxpayers and the separation of powers by extending it through this September.

Over the summer the Administration resisted progressive pressure for another extension. But it ultimately surrendered, as it did with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s rental eviction moratorium. The Education Department in August claimed this “final extension” was necessary to “reduce the risk of delinquency and defaults.” Democrats don’t want the pandemic emergency to end because it’s too politically useful.

Claims of financial hardship for borrowers were dubious then and are even more so now as the unemployment rate among bachelor’s degree recipients has fallen to 2.3%. Some 1.1 million more were employed in November than in February 2020. The pause has on average saved borrowers $400 per month.