In April, Elizabeth Warren announced a plan to alleviate much of the nation’s $1.6 trillion student debt load. The plan would forgive up to $50,000 per person and apply to 42 million of the nation’s 44 million student debt holders.

In June, Bernie Sanders upped the ante by announcing a plan not just to alleviate the nation’s debt load, but to eliminate it. Sanders’ plan is universal — it affirms the right of all people to plan for their future however they see fit, and leaves not one penny of student debt outstanding.

And in July, Kamala Harris blew the competition out of the water when she announced a plan to… forgive up to $20,000 of student debt for Pell grant recipients who start successful businesses in disadvantaged communities.

Harris’s plan immediately and rightfully came under heavy fire. There were two main objections. First, most Pell grant recipients come from families whose incomes are less than $20,000 per year. Where are these graduates going to get the startup capital to develop a business, and keep it running for three years in order to be eligible for the relief Harris’s plan provides? The plan would functionally apply to hardly anyone, and even then it promises incomplete forgiveness. It’s more of a gesture than a structural fix. […]