Why Obama Is Wrong On College Loans

25Jun12

In his recent weekend address, President Obama implores Congress to act on a bill to reduce college loans. While I can understand and appreciate the sentiment, I think the President is wrong how he wants to solve the problem.

This is Obama regarding college loans:

We know that one of the most important things we can do for our economy is to make sure that all Americans get the best education possible.  Right now, the unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average.  Their incomes are twice as high as those who don’t have a high school diploma.  So, if we know that a higher education is the clearest path to the middle class, why would we make it harder to achieve?

I have no problem with Obama saying college education is important. My father calls it a “union card” because most companies want college grads to work for them. I even had one boss say to me I couldn’t advance with the company unless I got a college degree.  So I’m very thankful I have one.

However, Obama ignores the fact that most people choose to get student loans. Yes the cost of college tuition is extremely high, but people decide to take the loan in hopes of getting out of college as quickly as possible. I know at least one person who took out a student loan so they could get ahead on their car payments. I’m not sure how many students decide to scrape and claw their way through college by taking three jobs and paying for each semester that way. Or how many students decide to apply for scholarships or grants, whether from their college or the government. I somehow get the feeling it’s not that many.

The President also ignores that the House passed a student loan bill in April. It never made it through the Senate because it eliminated part of the federal healthcare law. It almost didn’t pass in the House because there are Republicans who aren’t in favor of government subsidized loans. I don’t necessarily disagree with them because the Constitution says nothing about providing loans for students. Since the country’s debt is also spiraling out of control, I believe in reducing government expenses as much as possible.

However, there’s a more important part which the Washington Point pointed out: the student loan cut is a campaign gimmick. As the Post says, it was done to help Democrats take back Congress in 2006. The New America Foundation reports the cost will end up being $133 billion. Basically, Obama and the Democrats are reaping what they’re sowing by making short term policy, instead of focusing on the long term.

This happens time after time after time, and politicians hardly ever admit their mistakes. Why should they? Most of them see it easier to toss money at a problem, instead of ending it. I’m not sure why this is, but suspect it has to do with a politician’s desire to show they’re “doing something.” Plus if they keep getting re-elected, there’s no reason to change their ways at all. But I digress.

Obama ends his weekly address with this:

It’s not lost on any of us that this is an election year.  But we’ve got responsibilities that are bigger than an election.  We answer to the American people, and they are demanding action.  Let’s make it easier for students to stay in college…And let’s tell Congress to do their job.   Tell them it’s time to take steps that we know will create jobs now and help sustain our economy for years to come.

It’s fine as political rhetoric, but that’s all it is. The question is will the House blink or stand their ground.



2 Responses to “Why Obama Is Wrong On College Loans”

  1. 1 your sister

    You lost me here: “I’m not sure how many students decide to scrape and claw their way through college by taking three jobs and paying for each semester that way. Or how many students decide to apply for scholarships or grants, whether from their college or the government. I somehow get the feeling it’s not that many.”

    Utter nonsense. Of COURSE students are applying for scholarships. The problem is there aren’t ENOUGH scholarships for students who can’t afford tuition on their own (remember, your / my parents paid for our college education). This is why the loan problem is going out of control. I would think the money from generous donors or in state grant programs has dried up due to the economy.

    It does not make any logical sense why you would think a student would NOT apply for a college scholarship when I suspect there is 1000% more paperwork involved in applying for a college loan. Oh, and I have many friends who got through college with a combination of loans, scholarships, and those low paying jobs.

    • 2 your sister

      the comment deleted my disclaimer btw that mentioned i’m not “mad” at you so don’t take my light criticism personally.🙂


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