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President Biden, student loans, forgiveness plan, payments, calculation errors
Photo credit: Nenad Stojkovic / Flickr (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to picks@whowhatwhy.org.

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Borrower Shocked Student Loan Bill Is Higher After Botched Forgiveness Plan: ‘Nightmare’ (Maria)

The author writes, “With payments on her $44,000 in federal student loan debt about to resume, Juniper decided to see what the new income-driven repayment (IDR) plan touted by the Biden administration was all about. She applied in September, and her Federal Student Aid account told her the most affordable repayment plan for her is in fact the Saving on a Valuable Education, or SAVE, option, under which she would owe $47 per month. Fast-forward to October, though, when the first loan payment was due, and Juniper was quoted $138 per month on her loan servicer’s website. … At least 420,000 borrowers have had their SAVE payments miscalculated by their loan servicer in recent weeks, according to the US Department of Education.”

Sen. Joe Manchin Considers Independent 2024 Run, Warns Party System Could Be Nation’s ‘Downfall’ (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has benefited from waiting to reveal where he stands as the swing vote in a chamber closely divided between Democrats and Republicans. He’s taken the same approach when it comes to the next phase of his political career: The moderate Democrat has teased possible retirement, a run for reelection to the Senate or even a presidential campaign in 2024 — possibly as an independent candidate. During a multi-day trip to West Virginia’s capital this week, the 76-year-old expressed growing frustration with the polarized U.S. two-party system.”

We Don’t Talk About Leonard: The Man Behind the Right’s Supreme Court Supermajority (Reader Jim)

From ProPublica: “The inside story of how Leonard Leo built a machine that remade the American legal system — and what he plans to do next.”

Blowback: How Israel Went From Helping Create Hamas to Bombing It (Reader Pat)

The authors write, “What do you know about Hamas? That it’s sworn to destroy Israel? That it’s a terrorist group, proscribed both by the United States and the European Union? That it rules Gaza with an iron fist? That it’s killed hundreds of innocent Israelis with rocket, mortar, and suicide attacks? But did you also know that Hamas — which is an Arabic acronym for ‘Islamic Resistance Movement’ — would probably not exist today were it not for the Jewish state?”

What Happens When the Boss Invites You to Bible Study? (Al)

The author writes, “[A] corporate effort to create a sense of belonging at work grew after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, when many companies rushed to improve their diversity, equity and inclusion, or D.E.I., efforts. Employees from underrepresented groups were encouraged to bring their ‘authentic’ or ‘whole’ selves to work, and companies increased support for identity-based employee groups organized around gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Increasingly, faith is a part of this list.”

‘We Are Just Getting Started’: The Plastic-Eating Bacteria That Could Change the World (Laura)

The author writes, “When a microbe was found munching on a plastic bottle in a rubbish dump, it promised a recycling revolution. Now scientists are attempting to turbocharge those powers in a bid to solve our waste crisis. But will it work?”

Invisible ‘Demon’ Discovered in Odd Superconductor (Sean)

From Quanta Magazine: “Physicists have long suspected that hunks of metal could vibrate in a peculiar way that would be all but invisible. Now physicists have spotted these ‘demon modes.’”

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