In a desperate stab at stemming losses in the midterms, President Joe Biden is going full monarch.
Biden took to Twitter on Tuesday to lash out at Republicans who have opposed his flatly unconstitutional plan to bail out student loan recipients by saddling taxpayers with debts they never asked for.
And he sounded more like the heir to an empire than the leader of a country born by defeating the British crown.
Biden was issuing a belated response to a September letter signed by 23 Republican governors who pointed out the inherent injustice of Biden’s plan to “forgive” student loans by $10,000 or $20,000 per recipient by simply making everyone else repay them. (Originally, it was signed by 22 governors, but Virginia’s Glenn Youngkin was a late arrival.)
It was also a jab at Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who blasted the idea in an August podcast as the blatant vote-buying scheme it is, aimed at the kind of overeducated, underachieving wastrels courted by the Democratic Party.
“Who the hell do they think they are?” the president of the United States asked about the elected executives of 23 states of the union.
Republican governors wrote me a letter saying student debt relief only helps the “elite few.”
Ted Cruz, the great senator from Texas, said it's for slackers who don't deserve relief.
Who in the hell do they think they are?
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 26, 2022
That’s Biden putting on a tough guy act when what he’s actually doing is pandering shamelessly for votes as the midterms approach — midterms that look worse and worse for the Democrats currently in control of the House and Senate. (John Fetterman’s dismal debate performance on Tuesday night only made the Democratic outlook worse.)
It’s also Biden acting as the benevolent monarch, a man who thinks the power of the purse that the Constitution specifically gives to Congress does not apply in the 21st century when the president is a Democrat and his motives are virgin-pure.
But here’s the problem for Biden: It’s not a question of who they think they are. It’s who they actually are.
And that’s 23 men and women representing states with a collective population of about 143 million — over 40 percent of a country of 330 million — as well as a man who was duly elected to the U.S. Senate by voters in the largest of those states.
That means they have not just the right but an obligation to stand up for the citizens who elected them by asking a president deep into his dotage to pull back from a decision that’s not only morally wrong but likely on a collision course with the country’s courts.
“Only 16-17 percent of Americans have federal student loan debt, and yet, your plan will require their debts be redistributed and paid by the vast majority of taxpayers,” the governors wrote, with Iowa’s Kim Reynolds heading the signatures.
“Shifting the burden of debt from the wealthy to working Americans has a regressive impact that harms lower income families. Borrowers with the most debt, such as $50,000 or more, almost exclusively have graduate degrees, meaning hourly workers will pay off the master’s and doctorate degrees of high salaried lawyers, doctors, and professors.
“What’s more, the top 20 percent of earning households hold $3 in student debt for every $1 held by the bottom quintile, generating a lopsided reality where the wealthy benefit at the expense of the working. Simply put, your plan rewards the rich and punishes the poor.”
Now, Biden might well scoff at that particular piece of analysis; anything that comes from the likes of Reynolds, Youngkin and Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Kristi Noem of South Dakota has to be suspect down in the depths of whatever remains of Biden’s mind.
But in December 2020, The New York Times — the Democratic Party newsletter that masquerades as a newspaper — reached a similar conclusion.
The Times reported that “debt relief overall would disproportionately benefit middle- to upper-class college graduates of all colors and ethnicities, especially those who attended elite and expensive institutions, and people with lucrative professional credentials like law and medical degrees.”
At a glance, “those who attended elite and expensive institutions,” as the Times put it, looks an awful lot like the “elite few” the Republican governors cited as the beneficiaries of Biden’s raid on the Treasury.
None of this is likely to penetrate the Biden brain, of course. A man who has spent his lifetime ensconced in the power and wealth of the federal government — while his own family’s wealth increased — has little need to think about financial realities.
Had Biden spent some time as a governor, forced to deal with the limitations of actual budgets, balancing needs versus desires versus affordability, he might not take such a “l’etat c’est moi” approach to throwing around the taxpaying peasants’ money.
But Biden spent his career as a senator, then vice president, a near-literal leach on the body politic who has never met a problem that couldn‘t be solved by spending someone else’s money.
It’s almost inevitable that would foster the mindset of a monarch, a man who, when called to account by the elected representatives of the American people, erupts with imperial gall to demand, “Who the hell do they think they are?’
Early voting is already in progress. In two weeks more the ballots are going to be counted. And it’s a good bet that when all is said and done, Biden and his party are going to know damn well who the American people think they are.
And it’s not going to be pretty.