Bloomberg Releases Higher Education Plan
Bloomberg’s loan forgiveness proposal is far more modest than other Democratic candidates.
Former Republican New York City Mayor and billionaire Mike Bloomberg has released a plan for higher education in his bid to become the Democratic nominee for president.
The report was initially leaked by Bloomberg staffers to other campaigns, and those campaigns passed the information on to The Intercept who initially reported on Bloomberg’s education proposal.
The proposal makes some distinctions from those of other candidates including Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren.
Most notably, Bloomberg’s loan forgiveness proposal is far more modest than other Democratic candidates. Rather than wiping out federal student loans after 20 years of income-driven repayments as is current law, Bloomberg would cap the amount forgiven at $57,000. This would result in the most indebted having to pay more under Bloomberg’s proposal than in the current system.
Student debt currently sits at a whopping $1.6 trillion in the United States, and it has featured as a central policy discussion in the Democratic primary.
While Bloomberg’s proposal would reduce the monthly repayment amount from 10% to 5%, many Americans would still fall through the cracks and end up paying more after 20 years.
The plan also outlines an apprenticeship proposal geared toward preparing young people for the private workforce. Unlike Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders’s higher education proposal, Bloomberg would only plan to make two-year community colleges free as opposed to all higher education.
The higher education policy was announced during a tumultuous time for the former Republican mayor. While Bloomberg has been surging in the polls, he has begun to receive backlash for his past policies in New York including stop-and-frisk and his opinions on public education.
A 2011 speech Bloomberg gave at MIT has resurfaced in which Bloomberg compared education to real estate and proposed halving the number of teachers would be his preferred education policy.
Bloomberg said if he could he would “cut the number of teachers in half, but you would double the compensation of them and you would weed out all the bad ones and just have good teachers. And double the class size with a better teacher is a good deal for the students.”
At the time, Bloomberg faced backlash for the ridiculous proposal, but his campaign has sought to avoid the former mayor’s spotty record.
Along with the new higher education plan, which includes ample discussion of collaboration between the private sector and students, Bloomberg’s paternalism has been on display throughout his campaign.
Footage also surfaced of Bloomberg discussing healthcare with voters in 2011, the then-mayor said, “if you show up with cancer & you’re 95 years old, we should say…there’s no cure, we can’t do anything. A young person, we should do something. Society’s not willing to do that, yet.”
How Far Will Money Go?
While Bloomberg has been dogged online by his past indiscretions and major media have begun to pick up stories detailing his extensive history of misogyny and alleged sexual harassment, he has enjoyed a huge boost in the polls.
His campaign spent $300 million on advertising prior to the Iowa caucus, and he has dropped $124 million in Super Tuesday states, over ten times more than any other candidate.
His polling numbers have been good enough for Bloomberg to qualify for Wednesday’s Democratic debate ahead of Saturday’s Nevada caucus. The Democratic National Committee changed the debate rules at the end of January to pave the way for Bloomberg to make it on the stage.
While his inclusion has enraged many, his appearance on the debate stage provides all candidates time to attack the billionaire on a national stage.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders currently sits atop of most recent polls, and Bloomberg and Sanders have already exchanged barbs on Twitter, and debate viewers can expect Bloomberg to be the center of attention on Wednesday night.