Presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) unveiled a sweeping new plan that would erase the country's more than $1.6 trillion in student loans, paying for it with a new tax on Wall Street.
The Democratic presidential candidate's plan would release 45 million Americans from paying debts incurred as a result of student loan, a plan that goes much further than his fellow Democratic presidential hopeful, Elizabeth Warren. Warren's plan would only forgive the first $50,000 and would not offer any help to those people who make more than $250,000 a year.
"Are you truly free if you graduate hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt? Are you free if you cannot pursue your dream because you don't make enough to cover your student loan payments? We will #CancelStudentDebt because there is no freedom without economic freedom," Sanders wrote on Twitter Monday morning.
Under Sanders' plan, two-and-four-year public college and universities would also become tuition and debt-free. Sander's plan would be paid for by a tax on Wall Street that could raise more than $2 trillion over ten years, his campaign said. The tax would be place on financial transactions, including a 0.5 percent tax on stock transactions, and another 0.1 percent tax on bonds.
Student loan debt has become one of the biggest issues on the 2020 campaign trail for Democrats. Student loan debt has skyrocketed in recent years, going from $480.1 billion in 2006 up to nearly 1.4 trillion in 2016. Up to 28 percent of student loan borrowers are in delinquency or default. That debt has forced many millennials to delay major life decisions such as getting married, or buying a home.
"This is truly a revolutionary proposal," Sanders told The Washington Post. "In a generation hard hit by the Wall Street crash of 2008, it forgives all student debt and ends the absurdity of sentencing an entire generation to a lifetime of debt for the ‘crime’ of getting a college education."