On September 15th, 2015, David Sirota and Matthew Cunningham-Cook writing for the International Business Times (IBT) released an article titled “Joe Biden Backed Bills to Make It Harder for Americans to Reduce Their Student Debt.” According to this article, Biden made it more challenging for Americans to reduce their student debt by filing for bankruptcy. IBT along with other independent news outlets covered the story although there was little corporate coverage on the matter. Following September of 2015, the first release of this information, Sirota and Cunningham-Cook’s article has been underreported by the corporate press.
Their article centers on the topic of student debt. The article relied on data from renown universities as well as the Pew Research Center and explained how the “bill effectively prevents the $150 billion worth of private student debt from being discharged, rescheduled or renegotiated as other debt can be in bankruptcy court.” The bills that Joe Biden endorsed were “bankruptcy restrictions preventing courts from discharging most educational debt, more and more students have complained to federal regulators that private banks are unwilling to renegotiate the terms of high-interest loans.” It is difficult for students to file for bankruptcy while banks refuse to lower interest rates, causing students to accumulate more debt than ever before.
Sirota and Cunningham-Cook’s article is significant as many Americans are affected by the laws being passed. They explain, “Today, there is more than $10,000 of personal debt for every person in the country, as compared to roughly $6,000 in the early 1970’s.” The amount of average debt many Americans carry continues to increase annually. This often results in the repossession of many people’s cars and homes. The money once used to purchase commodities that strengthened the economy is now primarily being funneled into repaying debt.
After the initial release of Sirota and Cunningham-Cook’s article, there has been little corporate coverage on the topic. One of the independent news outlets that covered the story is Democracy Now! (October 20th, 2015) which provided an eight-minute broadcast featuring Sirota. Since the release of this story, there have been very few follow up stories on Biden’s political stance. Nevertheless, this story is significant as it impacts many Americans.
Sirota, David and Matthew Cunningham-Cook. “Joe Biden Backed Bills To Make It Harder For Americans To Reduce Their Student Debt.” International Business Times. 15 Sept. 2015. http://www.ibtimes.com/joe-biden-backed-bills-make-it-harder-americans-reduce-their-student-debt-2094664
“Joe Biden for President? Media Buzz Ignores How Veep Worsened Student Debt on Big Banks’ Behalf.” Democracy Now!, 20 Oct. 2015, http://www.democracynow.org/2015/10/20/joe_biden_for_president_media_buzz
Student Researcher: Cari Brown (California State University, Maritime Academy)
Faculty Evaluator: Nolan Higdon (California State University, Maritime Academy)