As president, Bernie Sanders intends to eliminate every penny of the student loan debt held by tens of millions of Americans. Sanders’s debt cancelation plan and his intention to finance it with taxes on certain financial transactions is even more indiscriminate than the plan introduced by Elizabeth Warren in April, which directs most of its assistance to households making less than $100,000.

The numbers Sanders uses to justify so radical a move are familiar: “45 million people hold some $1.6 trillion in student debt” and the “average college student in the U.S. graduates with close to $30,000 in student loans. But these numbers are misleading.

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