Joe Biden says he supports canceling $10,000 in federal student debt through legislation, while congressional progressives like Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) say they want five times that amount wiped out right away, by executive order. The New York Times says the $10K-versus-$50K debate will be “one of the first tests of [Biden’s] relationship with the liberal wing of his party.”

If that’s the big question left to answer, it bodes poorly for solving the student-loan crisis, since wiping out a little or even a lot of debt won’t fix an inherently predatory system. This would be unsurprising, since political attention to this issue almost always involves one-time fixes that leave underlying causes untouched.

The 2019-20 Democratic primary season marked one of the

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