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There was some good news for student borrowers last week. After months of delay due to his own wavering support for the idea, President Biden announced his plan to cancel some student loan debt for eligible borrowers by executive order. Under his plan, the Department of Education will cancel up to $10,000 worth of debt for borrowers making less than $125,000 per year and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. The plan also includes cutting monthly payments for undergraduate borrowers.
The plan does have its shortcomings. The student debt bubble has reached $1.7 trillion and affects about 44 million Americans. Biden is only scratching the surface of the problem. And there are signs of trouble ahead. As part of its announcement, the White House noted that student loan repayment would restart in the new year.
Still, advocates have praised the White House plan as a first step in a longer fight. In less than a decade, the idea of a president canceling student loan debt went from the fringes to reality. These allies were quick to defend Biden and the administration against detractors from the right, who attacked the idea of loan cancellation altogether. The White House itself got in on the action on Twitter, highlighting the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan cancellations for businesses owned by the Republicans in Congress crying foul at the debt relief.
In other news, the effects of climate change are on full display, highlighting the need for urgent global action. In the Chinese city of Chongqing, the riverbed of the Jialing River has run dry amid a sweltering heatwave. In Pakistan, meanwhile, monsoon rain and flooding have killed more than 1,000 people.
Earlier this month, the Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act, signaling a first step to addressing the problem—while also giving sizable handouts to the fossil fuel industry.
Please enjoy this week’s selection of the stories from OptOut’s participating news outlets.
Your Weekly News Roundup from Financially Independent Sources
New in JACOBIN is the story of how student debt cancellation went from utopian ideal to reality.
For more analysis, COUNTERPUNCH has a strong rundown of the Biden student debt plan and its shortcomings.
THE NATION has its own take on Biden’s plan and how it should do more.
Did you read our first climate-focused newsletter? OptOut Climate Editor Cristian Salazar rounds up the best independent reporting about climate change, energy, and the environment every other Wednesday.
To get this week's climate newsletter in your inbox, sign into your account and click "Manage" to subscribe to OptOut Climate!
The Pandemic Isn’t Over
With the school year about to begin, doctors are desperately urging parents to vaccinate their children, reports THE CONNECTICUT MIRROR.
Rights Under Threat
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has made national waves for weaponizing his state government against his perceived enemies, including trans Americans and public school teachers. This week, it was revealed that his election fraud task force probed heavily Democratic areas in his state. The FLORIDA PHOENIX has the story.
The DAILY MONTANAN published a troubling column this week about the assault on Native American voting rights.
Post-Roe v. Wade America looks pretty grim. PRISM reports on the next phase of criminalizing abortion.
On a new episode of THE MAJORITY REPORT, Emma Vigeland interviews Dr. Heather Berg, professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies at Washington University in St. Louis and author of Porn Work, about sex work in America.
LGBTQ+ with Liana!
Today we begin a new recurring newsletter section! Journalist Liana DeMasi, OptOut’s new LGBTQ+ researcher, rounds up some of the week’s important happenings in LGBTQ+ news, events, ideas, and happenings.
COUNTERPUNCH dives into the pervasive and abhorrent fascism of Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, and what that means for marginalized communities as Ron DeSantis and the rest of America’s far right continue to mimic Orbán’s tactics and messaging.
DeSantis is an especially dangerous politician who echoes Orbán’s embrace of a radicalized notion of white Christianity, a regressive notion of family values, and the use of the state to punish groups, corporations, and institutions that he views as a threat to his power.
Alex Masse speaks to their gender journey through the lens of online bullying and exploitation for TRANSLASH.
VIRGINIA MERCURY reports that monkeypox vaccine eligibility is expanding in the state and will now “be available to people of any sexual orientation or gender who have had anonymous or multiple sexual partners in the past two weeks, sex workers of any orientation or gender, and staff of any sexual orientation or gender at establishments where sexual activity occurs.” This is due to the fact that monkeypox is spread through extremely close contact, which happens most often during sexual encounters. It can, however, spread through other types of physical touch.
It is important to note that, while the original outbreak was in the gay community, the monkeypox virus can impact and infect anyone. It’s crucial that the currently affected population receives medical care; equally important is acknowledging that we cannot report on or speak about this crisis the same way we did with HIV/AIDS. If we do, we run the risk of a graver medical situation, as well as widespread discrimination and misinformation. —Liana
Inequality in America
Highlighting a gap in the national discourse about criminal justice, SCALAWAG published a new piece about women who go through America’s criminal justice system.
Years after Hurricane Katrina, the legacy of destruction lives on in the privatized education system in New Orleans. NEXT WORLD, the podcast of Partners for Dignity and Rights, reports on the ongoing struggle.
In Other News
White nationalism is on the rise and fueling domestic terrorism. ARIZONA MIRROR released a breakdown of the issue, including its history and implications.
As the number of classified documents found in Trump’s possession tops 700, the former president is in crisis management mode. RING OF FIRE has a fun recap of his Truth Social meltdown.
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