Welcome to Byron York's Daily Memo newsletter.

Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here to receive the newsletter.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: FORGIVE MY DEBT, PLEASE. What to do about student debt was one of the most emotional issues on the Left during the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. Some candidates, such as Bernie Sanders, wanted the U.S. government to cancel all student debt — just throw out the whole $1.6 trillion thing. It was an astonishingly audacious proposal; the liberal Brookings Institution noted that "forgiving all student debt would be a transfer larger than the amounts the nation has spent over the past 20 years on unemployment insurance, larger than the amount it has spent on the Earned Income Tax Credit, and larger than the amount it has spent on food stamps."

It didn't happen, for a lot of reasons. First, the cost. And second, the fact that forgiving student debt would be a huge handout to higher-income people who borrowed money to go to school and then, with their education and degree, got high-paying jobs.

But the calls for some sort of student loan forgiveness continue. Many Democratic members of Congress believe the president has the executive authority to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt for every person who owes it. For months, they have been pushing President Joe Biden to issue an executive order doing just that. And if Biden complied, they themselves would be among the beneficiaries.

Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue!

Last week, Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib delivered an impassioned speech on the House floor calling for Biden to sign the executive order. She based it on her own story. "I worked full-time, Monday through Friday, and took weekend classes to get my law degree," Tlaib said. "And still, close to $200,000 in debt. And I still owe over $70,000. And most of it was interest — most of it was our own government making money and profit off of me."

Tlaib, like her colleagues in the House and Senate, makes $174,000 a year serving as a member of Congress. The fact that she is asking for debt relief highlights the question of means testing for student loan forgiveness. The median household income in the United States is $67,521. Should the government forgive the debt of a person making $174,000 a year? Some Democratic proposals call for the full amount of forgiveness only for people making under $100,000 a year. But those who make well above $100,000, up to $250,000 a year, might receive some relief. That would certainly include Tlaib (and also two fellow members of the Squad, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar, who also have student debt).

On the House floor, Tlaib made the case for herself. She didn't take out student loans at Michigan's Wayne State University and, later, Thomas M. Cooley Law School in order to make big money, she said. Instead, she headed to the nonprofit world. "I went to Legal Aid," Tlaib, who is 45, explained. "I worked at the nonprofit organization, fighting for the right to breathe clean air, to fight for the worker who was getting their wage taken and stolen from their employer, I went and worked on immigrant rights and so much more." She didn't get an education so she could buy some "bougie car," Tlaib added. She didn't want to use her education to make the big bucks; she did good things. And now, she believes the federal government should reward her virtue by paying at least part of her remaining student debt.

So far, President Biden has not acted on student loans. But he is under pressure from dozens of Democratic members of both the House and Senate, plus a long lineup of liberal activist groups. Some, such as Tlaib, are filled with a sense of their own righteousness — they worked for a nonprofit and didn't buy some bougie car! — and will likely keep up the fight longer than Biden can resist. Eventually, he will have to do something to make them happy.

For a deeper dive into many of the topics covered in the Daily Memo, please listen to my podcast, The Byron York Show — available on the Ricochet Audio Network and everywhere else podcasts can be found. You can use this link to subscribe.