Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz had harsh words for Democratic President Joe Biden's plan to forgive some student loan debt, saying the move only benefits "slackers" and suggesting if young Americans could “get off the bong for a minute” they might manage to "head down" to the polls and vote.
You can hear what Cruz said in the video below.
"There is a real risk if you are that slacker barista who wasted seven years in college studying completely useless things, now has loans and can’t get a job, Joe Biden just gave you 20 grand."
"Like holy cow, 20 grand."
"You know, maybe you weren't going to vote in November and suddenly you got 20 grand then, you know, if you could get off the bong for a minute and head down to the voting station or just send in your mail-in ballot the Democrats have helpfully sent you, it could drive up turnout, particularly among young people."
Cruz joined a chorus of Republicans who have also criticized the proposal,most of whom fully supported prior corporate bailouts and tax breaks for the wealthy.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median pay for food and beverage workers in $12.49 per hour, which comes out to $25,980 per year.
BLS notes while "some workers in these occupations earn tips, most get their earnings from hourly wages alone," part-time employment "is common for food and beverage serving and related workers," and the work might be seasonal, meaning food and beverage serving and related workers "may not work or may have limited hours during certain times of the year."
None of these facts hint at food and beverage serving and related workers—including baristas—making near enough money to pay off what are often astronomical student loans.
Cruz was swiftly criticized by people who said he was mocking members of the working class who are bound to benefit greatly from the Biden administration's proposal.
Biden's plan forgives $10,000 - $20,000 for individuals making less than $125,000, or couples making less than $250,000.
According to the White House, the overwhelming majority of student loan relief will benefit those earning less than $75,000 a year, and no one in the top five percent of wage earners will benefit from the plan.
The plan also extends the pause on student loan debt repayments to December 31, 2022.
In his remarks while announcing the decision, Biden said canceling some debt would allow many people to "finally crawl out from under that mountain of debt to get on top of their rent and utilities, to finally think about buying a home or starting a family or starting a business."
Conservatives suggested those calling for student loan forgiveness are "lazy" and simply need to work more and go without if they want to pay off their debts.
Their hot take doesn't take into account the impact of high loan interest rates debt forgiveness advocates have said are predatory, trapping borrowers in an unforgiving cycle of debt that can never be paid off.