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Student Loan Cancellation Won’t Stimulate The Economy, According To New Research – Forbes

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Student loan cancellation won’t stimulate the economy, according to new research.

Here’s what you need to know.

Student Loans

Supporters of student loan cancellation say student loan cancellation is a perfect financial stimulus: cancel $50,000 of student loans, and student loan borrowers will have more money to spend on local businesses. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have been vocal supporters of student loan cancellation as a means of financial stimulus. However, according to new research from the Committee for a Reponsible Budget, both total student loan cancellation and partial student loan cancellation will have a minimal effect on the economy. Here’s what they found:

  • Total student loan cancellation: only $0.08 to $0.23 of economic activity for every dollar of student loans cancelled.
  • Partial student loan cancellation: $0.02 to $0.27 of economic activity for every dollar of student loans cancelled.
  • Student loan cancellation of $10,000: results in an economic multiplier of only 0.13x.
  • Student loan cancellation of $50,000: results in an economic multiplier of 0.10x.

This means that if you cancel all student loans, then only 8% to 23% of the amount of student loan debt cancelled would stimulate the economy. If you cancel some student loans, then only 2% to 27% of the amount of student loan debt cancelled would stimulate the economy.

3 Reasons student loan cancellation doesn’t stimulate the economy:

  1. Due to income-driven repayment plans, student loan cancellation has minimal impact on impact cash flow;
  2. Student loan cancellation is poorly targeted to those less likely to spend; and
  3. The current state of the macroeconomy given supply and demand constraints

Here are the details.


Student loan cancellation and stimulus

Here’s how much partial student loan cancellation would impact the economy, according to research:

Student loan cancellation: $10,000

  • completely eliminate student loans for 15 million borrowers
  • partially cancel student loans for 28 million would cost $210 to $280 billion.
  • would reduce annual student loan payments by $18 billion per year (after temporary student loan forbearance ends)
  • even after three years, the savings would be $54 billion, which is about 20% – 25% of the amount of student loans cancelled

Student loan cancellation: $50,000

  • completely eliminate student loans for 36 million borrowers
  • partially cancel student loans for 7 million would cost more than $950 billion.
  • would reduce annual student loan payments by $55 billion per year (after temporary student loan forbearance ends)
  • even after three years, the savings would be $165 billion, which is about 17% of the amount of student loans cancelled

Why student loan cancellation doesn’t really impact cash flow

According to the research, student loan cancellation doesn’t really impact cash flow. Here’s why:

  • $50,000 of student loan cancellation doesn’t mean that a student loan borrower now has $50,000 to spend in the economy.
  • Instead, a student loan borrower would save their student loan payment each month, which could range based on their student loan balance, but could be several hundred dollars (not $50,000).
  • Here’s a surprising statistic: nearly 50% of all student loan dollars are connected to non-repaying borrowers either in school, student loan delinquency, student loan forbearance (separate from the current temporary student loan forbearance ddue to the Covid-19 pandemic), student loan deferment or student loan default.
  • And among those student loan borrowers in student loan repayment, approximately 40% of the dollars come from income-driven repayment plans. Unless their student loan debt is completely or mostly cancelled, these student loan borrowers would continue to make student loan payments each month based on their income.
  • Almost 90% student loan borrowers in an income-driven repayment plan have student loan balances above $10,000, while approximately 40% have student loan balances over $50,000.

Biden has supported financial stimulus, but hasn’t cancelled student loan debt

President Joe Biden has been a proponent of stimulus to help Americans in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Through measures such as stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment benefits, Biden has championed providing direct checks to those most in need. The researchers found that “fiscal stimulus is most effective when it goes to those most likely to spend, such as individuals with low incomes or those who recently experienced a loss in income.” However, they argue that student debt cancellation does the exact opposite by distributing money mainly to those most likely to save and least likely to spend. How does student loan cancellation compare to stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment benefits? The researchers estimate savings from a student loan borrower having lower debt repayment will only be about 50% as effective at boosting demand as expanded unemployment benefits and 20% less effective than stimulus checks. “Given high levels of savings, massive stimulus in the pipeline, pent-up demand, supply constraints, inflation pressures, and expectations of a strong economic recovery, additional cash injected into the economy will have few places to go. To the extent that it leads to new spending – as opposed to saving – it is likely to result in additional inflation pressures (especially in the near term).”

As Biden and Congress debate the future of student loan cancellation, the good news is that Biden has cancelled $3 billion of student loans. It’s likely that Biden will continue to pursue targeted student loan cancellation, but there is no guarantee that there will be any wide-scale student loan cancellation. Therefore, make sure you have a clear strategy for student loan repayment. Here are some popular options:


Student Loans: More Reading

Is this a game changer for student loan cancellation?

Are you read to pay student loans again? Elizabeth Warren says your student loan servicer isn’t ready

Biden has now cancelled $40 billion of student loans this way

Biden may extend the student loan relief beyond September 30, 2021, even if unemployment benefits and the eviction moratorium end

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What does a low carbon economy mean for US workers? – Wake Forest News

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The United Nations General Assembly will be debating issues of global concern this week. At the top of the list is climate change. Along with companies, cities and financial institutions, more than 130 countries have now set, or are considering a target date for, achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere and those taken out (net zero) by mid-century.

Arguments for and against will hinge in part on the potential economic effects of such a commitment. Wake Forest economics professor Mark Curtis researches the balance between green jobs and lost jobs – looking at the implications for U.S. workers in a low carbon economy. He recently received a grant from the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

What do Americans fear most about carbon emissions goals?
Confronting climate change will require a dramatic shift in large portions of the U.S. economy. Manufacturing and mining, two carbon-intensive sectors, have long been good, middle-class jobs in communities nationwide. In order to meet a net-zero goal for carbon emissions, these jobs will shrink. Fears among workers and the communities that rely on these jobs are not unjustified.

Is this kind of job loss in large sectors of the economy cause for concern?
Reductions in carbon-intensive industries are only one side of the coin in addressing climate change. While many industries may shrink, investment in green and renewable industries may create new opportunities for workers throughout the country. 

Taking this global concern to the local level, what do you see ahead for North Carolina?
North Carolina has been a leader in renewable energy but needs a continued focus on creating a business environment that encourages entrepreneurship and investment in a wide range of green industries. Industries reliant on fossil fuels will need to transition, and North Carolina should ensure that workers can benefit as this transition occurs. 

What is your next step as a researcher?
There is almost no economic research exploring whether and how green jobs will benefit workers and their communities. Leveraging job-posting data will estimate the long-run benefits that workers accrue as a result of green technology investments. It can also tell us which types of workers benefit and which do not. The funding from the Washington Center for Equitable Growth will help support research to estimate the effects of an increase in green jobs on local economic outcomes such as the employment rate, poverty rate and average incomes.

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US economy continues to strengthen despite Delta, says Fed – BBC News

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Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell

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The US economy continues to strengthen, albeit at a slower rate because of the Delta variant of Covid, the US Federal Reserve has said.

The central bank said the jobs market was improving and that currently high rates of inflation remained transitory.

It said it may start reducing its emergency support for the economy “soon”, but did not say when.

Half of its policymakers also projected interest rates will need to rise in 2022 from current rock-bottom levels.

The US economy has rebounded strongly this year from its pandemic lows, but there are fears Delta will derail the recovery.

The country added fewer jobs than expected in August as rising infections hit spending on travel, tourism and hospitality.

Inflation, which measures the increase in the cost of living over time, is running at 5.3% – the highest in nearly 13 years. It comes amid surging consumer demand, rising energy prices, and supply chain-related shortages.

Despite this, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which sets US monetary policy, said overall indicators of economic activity “have continued to strengthen”.

“The sectors most adversely affected by the pandemic have improved in recent months, but the rise in Covid-19 cases has slowed their recovery,” it said.

“Inflation is elevated, largely reflecting transitory factors. Overall financial conditions remain accommodative, in part reflecting policy measures to support the economy and the flow of credit to US households and businesses.”

‘Broadly as expected’

The FOMC said the path of the economy still depended “on the course of the virus”. And it expects to keep monetary policy loose until more progress is made on stabilising unemployment – which stands at 5.2% – and consumer prices.

However, it said if progress continues “broadly as expected”, it may soon pare back its $120bn-a-month bond-buying programme which has helped keep borrowing rates low.

Worker at Chipotle

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Analysts said the bank was taking a cautious approach, noting no formal date was set for pulling back support.

“While the Federal Reserve has laid the groundwork for an eventual taper [of asset purchases] later this year, the Fed erred on the side of caution given that the macroeconomic landscape has deteriorated somewhat over the last few months,” said Candice Bangsund, a portfolio manager at Fiera Capital.

“Preconditions for a formal taper announcement will largely depend on economic conditions over the coming months, with an emphasis on data dependence.”

Gurpreet Gill, a macro strategist at Goldman Sachs, said ongoing supply chain disruption, the spread of Delta and higher inflation still weighed on the minds of Fed committee members.

“Given uncertainty around the health of labour market and inflationary pressures, we would not be surprised if the ‘dot plot’ changes again in the coming months as the pace of the recovery and underlying inflation dynamics become clearer.”

The Fed has two goals. It aims to keep US inflation at about 2% and to achieve maximum employment, whereby everyone who needs a job has one.

During the pandemic it has supported the economy by slashing interest rates to historic lows and pumping billions of dollars into the financial system by buying government and corporate bonds.

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Low Vaccination Rates are Hurting Southeast Asia's Economy: ADB – The Diplomat

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Economic growth in Southeast Asia is beginning to fall behind other parts of the region due to the region’s continued struggles with outbreaks of the disease and the sluggish rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, the Asian Development Bank said today.

In an update to its Asian Development Outlook report, the Manila-based multilateral bank stated that growth in the 46 nations of what it terms “developing Asia” is projected to reach 7.1 percent this year, down slightly from its 7.3 percent forecast in April. Despite this small downgrade, this year’s growth estimate is a marked improvement over the 0.1 percent contraction that the region saw last year.

Within the region, however, “growth paths are diverging, with economies that have successfully contained the pandemic or are making good progress on vaccination programs forging ahead,” the report stated.

Among the problem regions is Southeast Asia, where the ADB has cut its growth projections due to the region’s struggle to contain outbreaks of COVID-19, continued lockdowns and restrictions, and slow vaccine rollouts.

Southeast Asia’s regional growth projections for 2021 and 2022 have been lowered to 3.1 percent and 5.0 percent, respectively, from forecasts of 4.4 percent and 5.1 percent in April. The region has also seen the largest gap – 8.6 percent – between economic forecasts for 2021 and pre-pandemic projections.

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“Southeast Asia will recover at a much slower pace than earlier projected,” the report stated, resulting in weaker than expected growth rates in nine out of the subregion’s 11 economies. It added that the region’s recovery “continues to be curtailed by recurring spikes of COVID-19 cases, resulting in the reimposition of stringent containment measures in some economies, including the Philippines.”

The downgrade is more significant in the case of certain major economies in the region, including Thailand (0.8 percent down from 3 percent in April), Indonesia (3.5 percent down from 5 percent), and Malaysia (4.7 percent down from 6 percent).

Vietnam, which had the distinction of being the only Southeast Asian nation to register positive growth in 2020, has seen its outlook for 2021 slashed from 6.7 percent in April to 3.8 percent now.

Myanmar, in the throes of a severe political crisis, will see its GDP contract by an astounding 18.4 percent this year, down from what now seems like an optimistic projection of a 9 percent contraction in April.

The one Southeast Asian nation to see an upgrade in its economic outlook was Singapore, where high vaccination coverage – the country has fully vaccinated more than three-quarters of its population – will “continue allowing the economy to benefit from the rise in global demand.”

While much of Southeast Asia managed to avoid the worst of the pandemic in 2020, the Delta variant of the virus has scythed its way through many countries in the region in recent months. This has exposed governments’ complacency in sourcing vaccines, with just three of the region’s 11 nations – Singapore, Cambodia, and Malaysia – having fully vaccinated a greater proportion of their populations than the United States (51.8 percent of the population) and the European Union (58 percent). Six have fully vaccinated less than a third.

According to the ADB report, “the uneven progress of vaccinations is contributing to the divergence of growth paths in developing Asia,” as economies like China, Singapore, and Taiwan that have vaccinated larger proportions of their populations experience a quicker recovery from the pandemic slump. In its report, the ADB raised its forecast for “developing” East Asia, a region that includes China and South Korea, by 0.2 percentage points to 7.6 percent.

The development suggests that the impacts of Southeast Asia’s sluggish reaction to the latest outbreaks of COVID-19, including both the avoidable delays in beginning vaccine distribution and the unavoidable challenges of gaining access to adequate supplies, will continue to have long-term economic effects.

Even then, the region will remain vulnerable to a host of challenges, “including the emergence of new variants, waning vaccine effectiveness, geopolitical tensions, and the resulting disruptions to global supply chains.

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