Biden’s student loan memo

Student debt cancellation memo

This image has been floating around the internet for the last few months, and it is a redacted memo which contains legal advice for the President on what the president’s powers are regarding student loans.

Here’s what we know

  1. The President has chosen to not pardon student loans.
  2. Harvard law says the President has this power
  3. This memo is another document stating the President’s power on the issue which has been redacted by the President at his sole discretion.

So what combination of factors could we have.

Well, the memo either says the President does have this power, or it says he doesn’t. There is no middle ground.

The president is claiming he doesn’t.

So what does the memo say?

Simple proof

This is the type of problem which is what game theory is used for. Let’s draw the game.

The President chooses to forgive The President chooses not to forgive
Memo agrees with Harvard Law President should show the memo, it supports his decision The President should not show the memo since it disagrees
Memo disagrees with Harvard Law The President should not show the memo since it disagrees President should show the memo, it supports his decision

Why is this the solution? Well, if one of the top lawyers in the US government agree with the President, then the President should show us the document to support his decision. It will strengthen his case.

If it disagrees, he should not show that one of the top lawyers in the US government disagrees with his decision, as it will make him look like he doesn’t care. It weakens his case.

It’s really not that complicated.

More extensive proof

The bigger game theory table looks like this:

Memo says the action is legal Memo says the action is illegal
Forgive Don’t forgive Forgive Don’t forgive
Show the memo 1 -1 -1 1
Hide the memo 0 1 1 0

There are only 3 variables at play:

  1. What does the memo say?
  2. Should the President show the memo?
  3. Will the president forgive student loans?

Since we know that the President will not forgive Student loans the table collapses to the following:

Memo says the action is legal Memo says the action is illegal
Show the memo -1 1
Hide the memo 1 0

and since we know the President is hiding the memo we know the table looks like this:

Memo says the action is legal Memo says the action is illegal
Hide the memo 1 0

Which means that the memo must say the action is legal, the President knows he has this power, and he is lying.

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