Emil Guillermo: My trickle up theory and how student loan forgiveness denial should motivate Asian Americans to vote

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Did your favorite team(s) lose this weekend? Don’t go around moping like you’re preparing for a dismal Nov. 8.

There’s still hope. Races are close everywhere. Everything is winnable. Everyone just has to vote.

Early voting has already begun, by mail and in person. Vote early and once. Just vote.

And if you didn’t register yet, believe me, it’s not too late.

If you are reading this on Oct. 24 and are from California, the most Asian American state in the nation, or maybe you’ve been traveling, or attending school in another state, there’s still time to register to vote online by midnight tonight

But even if you miss the deadline, you can still call up the secretary of state’s office and register for a provisional ballot.

You will count in California.

Don’t miss the boat. You’ve got to vote.

If you’re from any other state, call your secretary of state’s office. Any restrictions will let you know how much a certain party doesn’t want you to vote, and is doing all it can to prevent your vote. And if you manage to vote, it will try to assure your vote by redistricting is diminished or devalued.

And then you can see why AAPIs are reluctant to leave California.

For Asian Americans, these midterm elections have become more consequential than even the last presidential election– the one that some Republicans insist was stolen, but wasn’t.

If the election deniers ride the Big Lie to victory, as hard as these last two years have been, expect things to get even harder and nastier with the deniers possibly in the majority in both houses of Congress.

Democracy will feel worse than ever because it will be barely a democracy.

How does democracy denial sound?

Surely, as an Asian American, you don’t need more motivation to vote. It’s already gotten personal.

Are you a Dreamer? A Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient? Know someone who is?

A few weeks ago, the Fifth Circuit appeals court declared DACA illegal. Ultimately, the decision to save DACA, or to establish a pathway to citizenship, relies on a Congress.

You can decide who goes to Congress before they decide who to deport.

Are you another kind of dreamer, the kind looking at a college degree as your ticket to opportunity? Remember, you stretched, got into a pricier school, and got that student loan. You got your parents to get a loan so you could better afford the $70,000 a year tuition.

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, acting on an appeal from six Republican attorneys general from southern states, blocked President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program.

That’s where up to $20,000 in debt relief could come to student loan borrowers if they make under $125,000 a year.

And we’re not just talking students. Some parents added $30,000 of debt or more for their kids. That’s about $400 a month in payments. A relief plan would have made a difference–until Republicans decided to deny you any relief.

You can still apply. But now the courts have made it a new political football.

President Biden was seen earlier on Friday describing the virtues of the relief plan, how easy it was to sign up, and how nearly 10 million, mostly middle-class Americans, already had signed up.

The Republicans must not want their votes. They do want both the corporate, high income voters. And those in the extreme lower end. The ultra rich and ultra poor.

The GOP argument is that middle class relief is unfair because it helps only the middle class and not lower income folks who normally don’t go to college, and also vote Republican. Think of the folks described in the polls as non-college educated, mostly whites. The Trump base.

Slashing the student loan forgiveness plan also works with the nonsenical general Republican plan to address the economy and inflation. That plan? To cut overall spending and cut taxes.

Many economists would consider that inflationary. And that’s the GOP go-to? It’s also yet another variation of the debunked “trickle down” theory. Enrich the corporates and the benefits will trickle down to everyone else.

But it never does.

Biden countered by unveiling a slogan last week calling the GOP plan the “MAGA mega trickle down.”

It might catch, but I prefer referring to student loan forgiveness as good old “trickle up” economics.

$20,000 in debt relief would put in people’s pockets anywhere from $300 to $400 dollars a month. Let them spend that on goods and services and let that “trickle up” the corporate economy.

Debt relief from Biden’s student loan forgiveness can be life changing. You don’t need to hit the lottery to feel a difference.

And It’s not like bailing out the banks or a corporate giant or auto manufacturer, like both parties have done.

This is about bailing out regular folks.

If it matters to you, then you’ve got to vote.

Register while you can and get your invite to election day when your voice in our democracy can “trickle up.”

NOTE: I will talk about this column and other matters, like how I consider Houston a place where I grew up. But I’m still not rooting for them wholeheartedly in the World Series. Also, Britain has a person of color in charge? For Diwali? And my pep talk for dedicated mask wearers, on “Emil Amok’s Takeout,” my AAPI micro-talk show. Live @2p Pacific. Livestream on Facebook; my YouTube channel; and Twitter. Catch the recordings on

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator. Updates at Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.

The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF’s views or policies.

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