Last week, in the most recent display of rank hypocrisy from the GOP, several right-wing candidates and legislators who are also PPP loan recipients denounced Joe Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt. Lisa Scheller, currently running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 7th district, had this to say:
Under most circumstances, this is a perfectly fine opinion for a potential legislator to express. But when the candidate shouting about how student loan relief is a bad idea has also taken over $5 million in PPP loans – loans that were later forgiven – that anti-relief position becomes very difficult to defend.
Scheller is president and CEO of Silberline Manufacturing in Schuylkill County, a company that received a $3 million PPP loan in April 2020, and another $2 million PPP loan in January 2021. The loan program began under former President Trump, and both of these loans were forgiven in their entirety.
The “bootstraps” mythology on the right is nothing new, and neither is the hypocrisy behind it. Many of the business leaders who have always claimed working families should do everything on their own have also, in almost every instance, taken huge sums of tax dollars in the form of subsidies and other handouts.
This “do as I say, not as I do” mentality has always existed, but this time around, it appears to have a cost. Student loan forgiveness is quite popular, as are many of the Biden team’s recent legislative wins. The accusations of “unfairness” from the GOP are falling flat, and Democratic accusations of hypocrisy seem to be winning the messaging war. Even the White House twitter account is pulling no punches:
If Scheller wants to claim that $10,000 in student loan relief is a bad idea and that students should pay back every cent they borrow, that is certainly her right. But doing so after taking $5 million in government loans she will never pay back isn’t likely to sit well with Pennsylvania voters.
Scheller is running to try to unseat incumbent Democrat Susan Wild, who beat Scheller in 2020. Pennsylvania’s 7th district (which includes all of Lehigh, Northampton, and Carbon counties, along with a portion of Montgomery County) was seen by GOP leadership as a pickup opportunity in 2022, but recent polls that show the top of the ticket falling way behind in the Governor’s race and the Senate race have GOP leadership rethinking their strategy in Pennsylvania.
A midterm election is typically a time when the party out of power makes gains, and that very well could be the outcome in November, but if Susan Wild and the Democrats hold onto the Pennsylvania 7th, it could be a sign of a national election upset that no one could have predicted even a short time ago.