Sen. Bernie Sanders has a plan to tackle student loan debt that it isn't just big, it's "yuge" — $1.6 trillion "yuge" to be exact. The 2020 Democratic candidate's plan for eliminating student loan debt is believed to be the most ambitious plan seen so far. In fact, Sanders' student debt proposal would wipe out your loans, no matter what your income level is.
"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," the Associated Press reported Sanders said of his plan in a prepared statement.
According to CNN, Sanders' plan would cancel $1.6 trillion in undergraduate and graduate student loan debt, impacting approximately 45 million people. Unlike the student loan debt relief plan rolled out in April by fellow 2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sanders' plan has no eligibility or income limitations. Rather, it would wipe out all student debt, regardless of income or assets, saving the average borrower roughly $3,000 a year according to the Associated Press.
By comparison, Warren's plan calls for cancelling up to $50,000 in student loan debt for those with a household income below $100,000. For every $3 in income a person made above $100,000 the debt cancellation amount would drop by $1, meaning someone with a household income of $130,000 would have $40,000 in debt canceled and someone with a household income of $160,000 would get $30,000 canceled. However, people with household incomes at or above $250,000 are not eligible for debt forgiveness under Warren's plan.
To pay off all that student loan debt, Sanders's plan includes a Wall Street tax he estimates will generate $2.4 trillion over the course of 10 years, CBS News has reported. Specifically, Sanders' plan seeks to place a 0.1% fee on bond trades, a 0.005% fee on derivative trades, and a 0.5% tax on stock trades, the last of which would translate into 50 cents for every $100 of stock traded, the news outlet reported.
"We bailed out Wall Street in 2008," Sanders wrote in a tweet posted Monday. "It's time to tax Wall Street's greed to help the American people." In a separate tweet posted that same day, Sanders argued it was "Wall Street's turn to help rebuild the disappearing middle class."
Joining Sanders in proposing the College For All Act are House Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Ilhan Omar, who recently identified herself as someone carrying the burden of student loan debt. "I am one of the 45 million people with student debt, Omar tweeted Sunday. "Forty-five million people who are held back from pursuing their dreams because of the student debt crisis. It's why I'm proud to stand with @SenSanders and @RepJayapal to pass #CollegeforAll and #CancelStudentDebt!"
Sanders unveiled his plan for eliminating student loan debt two days before he and 19 other 2020 Democratic candidates are expected to square off in the first debates of the party's presidential primary. And while issues related to education and taxes aren't the number one issue voters want candidates to talk about, they're certainly near the top of the list. A recent USA Today/Suffolk University poll found education and taxes ranked fifth and sixth on the list of issues voters want to see candidates discuss at the debate.