A think tank co-founded by the Kochs is trying to stop President Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness program. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             A think tank co-founded by the Koch brothers is trying to stop President Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness program. Wow. You know, I thought we were, I thought I was finished with these people, the Kochs, didn’t you? You know, I thought maybe they just disappeared, but no, they’re back. Cato Institute, right?

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             They owned the Cato Institute. They’re the ones that made the Cato Institute. Biden has a great idea about trying to say, look, we need to work in some capacity to make, to do something about these student loans, right?

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Take it from there.

Farron Cousins:                  And, and, and the Koch brothers, and you’ve got actually a lot of conservatives out there that were furious at this. They spent weeks after it was announced trying to come up with a legal argument, and now they’re, they’re trying their best with actual lawsuits. Cato says, listen, this is unconstitutional because if you, if you forgive people’s student loan debt, people aren’t gonna want to come work at our non-profit, which is the Cato Institute.

Mike Papantonio:             Right.

Farron Cousins:                  Because they’re basically not indentured servants anymore. You’re freeing people of a debt burden, and we need to use the debt burden because after 10 years working at a nonprofit, you can have part of your student loans forgiven.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  It, it’s ridiculous. They’re arguing that people have to be indebted or else they’re not gonna be able to find any workers.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, if you think about it, it’s another, it helps the economy. When you say to somebody who’s worked to get through college, and now they’ve got their degree and they owed 200, $200,000, whatever it is, that once you forgive that, that money moves right back into the economy.

Farron Cousins:                  It does.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s, it’s not a bad idea in that sense. But I, I thought this was remarkable. Their argument, first of all, there’s been six lawsuits that have been brought, similar lawsuits. Two of ’em have already been dismissed. The judge’s opinion was like, really? What in the hell are you talking about? So, I don’t know that, I don’t know they’re gonna have much success with this. First of all, the question is, does the executive branch have the, have the opportunity to do this? Does it have to be a congressional mandate? And I think they’ve already won on that idea. So we’ll see where this goes.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, and, and because they’re only tackling the federally held student loans.

Mike Papantonio:             Yes.

Farron Cousins:                  Which are part of the Department of Education, they have full discretion over that.

Mike Papantonio:             Right.

Farron Cousins:                  We already have other programs.

Mike Papantonio:             Explain that a little bit. Talk about that a little bit.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. The, the Department of Education is a part of the executive branch, which means the executive branch would have control over it. And because there are already mechanisms in place that allow the Department of Education to forgive certain loans, they, they’ve got the precedent on their side. They’ve got the power on their side.

Mike Papantonio:             Constitutionally, he does not need enough congressional mandate. He can do this as executive right.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, and, and what’s really funny too, is the military folks have been making the same argument that the Koch guy, I can’t call ’em brothers anymore, it’s just one left.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. The brother.

Farron Cousins:                  But, they’re making the same argument with the military, saying, well, if you give them free college, nobody’s gonna sign up to go fight in our wars anymore because, you know, you gotta go risk your life in order to get an education in this country.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  So it’s a really pathetic argument. And this is gonna get laughed outta court pretty quickly, I think.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, two of ’em are gone.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Six of ’em were filed. Two of ’em are gone already.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.