Uh, dude, you’re literally married to a Cabinet secretary.
There’s a pretty good chance that if you’re reading this sentence, you’re acutely aware that President Joe Biden has thus far opted not to extend the current federal student loan relief. That means that, if you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans who owe the government some portion of the estimated $1.5 trillion in total student loans debt, you can expect those payments to start right back up on Feb. 1 of next year.
Yes, this sucks — particularly given then-candidate Biden’s promises to forgive huge swaths of student loan debt. And doing so could be the sort of generationally monumental decision on par with the seismic impact of the WWII-era G.I. Bill. So, it makes sense that people aren’t exactly thrilled that payments will once again start coming due, even though we’re still very firmly not finished with the public health crisis that prompted the current pause in the first place.
Among those voicing their frustrations at the looming resumption of payments is none other than Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who just so happens to be an extremely likely Democratic candidate on the presidential ticket come 2024.
On one hand, Chasten’s revulsion is wholly understandable. But take a step back here and consider that although the Buttigieg family is estimated currently to be living a relatively comfortable, but by no means opulent middle-class life, he is also in the position of extreme privilege by virtue of being married to one of the most powerful politicians in the country, who just so happens to have the ear of the most powerful politician, the president of the United States. So who exactly is Chasten’s message for? Student loans suck, no question, but a snarky “no thank you Merry Christmas next” is hardly the sort of everyman sign of solidarity with the rest of the loan-paying public when you remember it’s coming from someone who breathes the same rarified air as the people who could actually do something about it. Not to mention that Chasten is almost certain to earn a tidy familial sum from book deals, board positions, and speaking arrangements once the Biden administration ends, while his husband is free to make the sort of money that follows being an elite-level politician. Don’t kvetch to us, Chasten. You’re gonna be just fine!
Ultimately, if the goal was to signal that he, too, knows student loans are a garbage racket, well, yeah, no shit dude. Hardly a revelatory observation there. And if the goal was to come across as a regular ol’ guy with regular ol’ problems like the rest of us ... well, sorry Chasten, but you’re not! You’re married to a Cabinet secretary who very well could be president of the United States in the not too distant future. Which isn’t to diminish the severity of the student loan problem, or the frustrations that come with knowing it doesn’t have to be this way. But, sometimes the issue isn’t the message, it’s the messenger. Or put another way: You don’t always have to post.