Story at a glance

  • A senior government official, appointed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, quit in dramatic fashion.
  • Arthur Wayne Johnson says his two years under DeVos convinced him the student loan system is “broken.”
  • Johnson says a first step to fix it is to forgive billions of dollars in student loans.

A senior government official appointed in 2017 by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to oversee $1.5 trillion in student loans resigned Oct. 23, saying the student loan system is “broken” and calling for billions of dollars in student debt to be forgiven.

Arthur Wayne Johnson was in charge of the Office of Federal Student Aid before being reassigned to head up an effort to improve the student loan repayment process. He is quitting his job to run for Senate in Georgia and because he believes the student loan system is “broken,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Student debt relief will form the centerpiece of Johnson’s platform. Despite planning to run as a Republican, Johnson’s plan to forgive the first $50,000 of student debt regardless of income places him alongside Democratic presidential hopefuls like Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

“Their [the Democrats’] proposals are crazy,” DeVos said on Fox News a week before Johnson’s resignation. “Who do they think is actually going to pay for these? It’s going to be two of the three Americans that aren’t going to college paying for the one out of three that do.”

The Wall Street Journal estimates Johnson’s plan would cost $195 billion per year. To pay for it, Johnson says he would levy a 1 percent tax on all employers, including nonprofits.

Published on Nov 05, 2019