Comedian Hasan Minhaj appeared before Congress this week to plead with the House Financial Services Committee for some action to help fix the student debt crisis. Minhaj described the student loan debt crisis as a “paywall to the middle class” and pointed to students asking rappers and musicians for help with their student loans rather than selfies.
“People aren’t making more money and college is objectively way more expensive,” Minhaj said. “You see what’s happened? We’ve put up a paywall to the middle class.”
Minhaj is currently a host of the Netflix series Patriot Act, which covers hot topic issues. On a recent show, he discussed student loan debt and a survey of his audience found that the 200 people in attendance owed a whopping $6 million in debt.
In front of Congress, he expanded on those numbers.
“We recently did an episode on the student loan crisis and it really hit home with our audience because 44 million Americans owe more than $1.6 trillion of student loan debt,” he said. He then joked, “Now granted, our audience is mainly unemployed poli-sci majors, but that’s still a lot of money.”
You know the student loan crisis is bad when I'm asked to testify before Congress about it. pic.twitter.com/TTqylZZf8k
— Hasan Minhaj (@hasanminhaj) September 10, 2019
The $1.6 trillion in student loan debt has surpassed the total amount of outstanding credit card and auto debt.
Because of that, and the 200 millions of Americans who are impacted by the issue, it has become a hot topic during the 2020 Democratic Primary season. Senator Bernie Sanders is the most active, introducing a plan to immediately wipe out student loan debt for all Americans, while Senator Elizabeth Warren has a plan that would clear student loan debt for anyone who is not considered a “high-earner.”
Whether Minhaj’s comments in front of Congress make a difference remains to be seen, but earlier this year comedian Jon Stewart gave a testimony about the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund which the House Judiciary Committee then passed one day later.