"With the stroke of the President's pen, millions of Americans would suddenly have hundreds, or in some cases, thousands of extra dollars in their pockets each and every month to spend on ailing sectors of the economy," the petition says.
The way supporters see it, forgiving student loan debt would boost consumer spending, business would start hiring, jobs would be created, and "a new era of innovation, entrepreneurship, and prosperity will be ushered in for all."
Forgiveness of student loans is among the demands of the Occupy Wall Street protest movement, but the suggestion is not new. Two years ago, shortly after President Obama signed his economic stimulus package, a liberal activist proposed forgiveness of student debt instead, and he set up a website to spread the word.
The effort has at least one supporter in Congress: Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.) has introduced a resolution seeking student loan forgiveness as a means of economic stimulus.
The petition calling on Congress to pass a bill forgiving student loans had around 564,000 signatures as of early Tuesday morning.
"The future economic success of this country is wholly dependent upon a well-educated, prosperous middle class," the petition says. "Instead of saddling entire generations with debt from which there is no escape, let's empower the American people to grow this economy on their own."
The petitioners call it a “trickle-up” approach to stimulating the economy.