WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled a plan Monday that would cancel the estimated $1.6 trillion in student loan debt accumulated by U.S. college students.
“The American people bailed out Wall Street. Now it is time for Wall Street to come to the aid of the middle-class of this country,” Sanders (I-Vt.) said at a news conference on Capitol Hill.
Sanders said the plan would be funded by a tax on Wall Street “speculation.” He said the tax would raise $2.4 trillion over the next decade.
It proposes a .5% tax on stock trades, a .1% fee on bond trades and a 0.005% fee on derivative trades.
The money would be used to pay for universal higher education and is part of Sanders’ plan to make public colleges and universities free of charge.
Many industrialized countries, such as Germany, Britain, and France, have instituted similar policies to pay for higher education.
Sanders is not the only Democratic presidential candidate with a plan to eliminate student debt.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) has introduced a plan that would allow students from families whose household income does not exceed $100,000 to erase up to $50,000 in debt.
Recent polls show Warren and Sanders in close competition for second place among the 23 Democrats seeking to challenge President Donald Trump next year.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is the frontrunner, polls show.