Obama Care and Student Loans – what’s the link?

Both Republicans and Democrats agree that Congress must act to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling this summer.  Wow!  The two major parties actually agree on something; it’s a rare day in American politics, especially in a presidential election year.  But wait.  All is not what it seems.  I knew it was too good to be true.  The party of NO really isn’t interested in solving the student loan crisis.  No, they want to dismantle the Affordable Care Act – a/k/a Obama Care.  Here’s what they did:

The House set aside, more accurately, ignored a bill sponsored by Massachusetts Congressman John Tierney that would pay for continued student loan  subsidies and prevent the rate increases by eliminating some tax breaks for big oil and gas companies.   Instead, Speaker Boehner put up a Republican sponsored bill which passed that would preserve low interest rates at the expense of a disease prevention fund in the Affordable Care Act, a fund that provides cervical and breast cancer screenings, among other things.

For the GOP, it’s not about helping students graduate with less debt – in fact, some among them blame students for going to expensive schools.  Romney told folks to shop around more to find the best deal, as if education were  something you could buy on Amazon.  Rick Santorum hinted that young people shouldn’t aspire to college at all, calling them educated “snobs”.  One Republican leader in Florida said that the state shouldn’t be subsidizing students who major in anthropology because there are no jobs in anthropology, which of course misses the point of education all together but that’s for another post.

During the student loan bill debate, as reported in the Boston Globe article referenced above, Speaker Boehner had the nerve to say, “my god, do we have to fight about everything?”  He’s such a hypocrite.  The GOP fight is not about protecting students from mountains of debt.  Do you think they care a thing in the world about helping needy students?  Their constituents, the wealthy corporate class pay for their kids’ education from trust funds -$60,000 a year is pocket change for them.

What is the GOP fight all about?  It’s a fight against women, the middle class, and young people who aspire to enter the middle class or stay in it.  It’s a political fight against President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans are hell bent on destroying.  And it’s a fight to preserve the corporate ruling class that has bought the party, which was a gift from the conservative activist judges on the SCOTUS via their anti-democratic Citizens United ruling.

And so here we are, in the year 2012, as polarized as ever, with both political parties saying – “you know I am right”, which, incidentally, is a great and little known song by Pink Floyd guitarist, David Gilmour.   Get yourselves some free Spotify and have a listen: You Know I’m Right.

2 Responses

  1. Great post. To me, education makes the nation. And I was floored to hear Santorum debase it.

    I think the price of a college education has gotten out of hand. I heard of a nursing student who graduated with a $99,000 loan to repay. A nurse! I’m thinking of the money a bank will make on the interest payments on her loan, because sure as shootin’ she won’t be repaying that in a couple years.

    I can’t imagine we’ll ever return to the days when a college education was just about completely subsidized.

  2. The nurse may have to work three shifts for the next 30 years to pay off the debt. I think society owes nurses a debt. At a minimum, the government should have some sort of forgiveness program for those who work in under resourced public facilities for 5 years or more.

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