Elizabeth Warren Just Perfectly Explained the Student Loan Crisis to Conan

April 8th 2015

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) appeared on "Conan" on Tuesday night and used the late-night stage to issue a rousing call for a higher minimum wage and to discuss crushing student loan debt.

Warren began by telling a story about how her mother's minimum wage job at Sears saved the family from losing their home after her father had a heart attack.

"But it was a time in America when a minimum wage job would keep a family of three afloat," Warren said. "We must raise the minimum wage so other families can have that chance."

Conan O'Brien and Sen. Warren also discussed student loans and the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, which Warren introduced in Congress in an effort to reduce interest rates. The bill would allow student loan debt -- federal or private -- accrued before July 1, 2013 to be refinanced through the government at a fixed, lower interest rate. This would reduce monthly payment amounts, providing relief to around 25 million borrowers.

The issue, Warren explained, is that student loans bring in a large profit for the U.S. government -- an estimated $66 billion during a five-year period ending in 2012.

“The United States government should not be making profit off the backs of kids who are trying to get an education,” Warren stated. And according to Warren, the U.S. has already spent that money. Warren's solution: set the interest rates at a "break even" point for the government and do that by making tax rates for millionaires and billionaires equal to those of middle class families. 

"As a government, we can decide we’re either going to spend the same lump of money either to keep tax loopholes open for billionaires or to reduce the interest rate on student loans — and you want to guess who’s winning right now? The billionaires, and that’s wrong," Sen. Warren stated. “That’s why we have to fight back."