Do Republicans Plan To Keep Drowning Students In Unconscionable Debt?
Elizabeth Warren has reintroduced the Student Loan Debt Bill that Republicans managed to filibuster last year when every single Democrat supported it, long with both Independents and even three Republicans. But 56 votes wasn't enough to break the GOP filibuster and it failed. At the time Senator Warren explained that "Rising student-loan debt is an economic emergency. Forty million people are dealing with $1.2 trillion in outstanding student debt. It's stopping young people from buying homes, from buying cars and from starting small businesses. We need to take action." Speaking for conservatives and for his own reactionary political party, Mitch McConnell says that it's time to admit that a traditional college education has become a luxury good. "Not everybody needs to go to Yale," he lisped menacingly. "McConnell's idea that people should dream a little smaller is deeply flawed," said Warren. "And let me add: The problem is not limited to private universities. States used to pick up about three out of every four dollars it cost to educate someone at a public university. Now it's about one in four. In America today, a young person needs more education after high school just to have a chance to make it in the middle class. Not a guarantee, just a chance to make it."
Warren's bill isn't some crushing, radical plan to provide free university education to everyone, by the way. All she's asking for is that people people holding student loans financed at rates higher than today's interest rate be allowed to refinance those loans, similar to the way one refinances a home mortgage or car loan. Since the GOP managed to filibuster her bill last year, student debut has grown by $100 billion-- for a total of $1.3 trillion crushing the future not just for these students but for the nation itself.
If New Jersey progressive Democrat Alex Law beats back the insidious Norcross Machine and replaces conservative corporate shill Donald Norcross as the congressman from the Cherry Hill/Camden area across from Philly, he'll be the youngest Member of Congress... ever. The Constitution requires that a Memberof Congress be 25 in order to claim a seat. Alex will be 25 in time for the primary. On the issues page of his website, he has this banner:
It's a subject he's been right in the middle of and his statement is heartening for anyone who is looking for a Congress that will encourage a strong, growing America:
The fact that the system for student loans hasn’t been reformed is a testament to the power of the banking lobby. We are risking our future so that already profitable banks can make even more money. The system is rigged so that many students never escape debt, which prevents them from buying homes and spending money. The money they would have been spent to drive our economy from the middle instead flows to banks at the top. This is a huge part of our collective problem. The scale is staggering. Student loans are more than all credit card debt in our country and quickly catching up to mortgages. Unlike other forms of debt, there is no bankruptcy protection, which is outrageous. If banks and other financial institutions can use bankruptcy protection to shed some of their debt when it becomes too crushing, why can’t real people?This morning, Alex told me that "We have an idea in this country called the American dream. Republicans and Democrats might disagree about how to get there, but I think we can all agree that central pieces of the end result are owning your own home, having a job, and working towards a better standard of living than your parents had. What Elizabeth Warren and other progressives have identified is that if we continue to cripple our students with unmanageable debt at unfair interest rates in order to appease lobbyists and donors from Wall Street, then we are actively preventing large parts of generations of Americans from achieving the dream that their citizenship promises them. An education isn't a luxury; it is a fundamental necessity in America especially as we transform further and further into a service based economy. Without an education, you simply cannot be competitive for certain jobs and it is not acceptable for anyone to be left out of our collective growth because of their parent's wealth. I still believe in an America that rewards hard work with this gloriously idea called the American dream. It is our responsibility to make sure that everyone, not just the privileged and the lucky have a fair shot at it."
7 million Americans have already defaulted on their student loans. These Americans will have their personal credit plummet and be deemed unhireable by many employers as a result. Once a borrower has defaulted on a student loan, this results in automatically becoming ineligible for some government jobs. Their debt that was only obtained in order to get a good job can be the thing that prevents them from getting one.
It is only going to get worse. As the economy improves, the interest rates will rise over 7%. Meanwhile banks can borrow at .75%, nearly ten times less than what many students pay. Why are we subsidizing our banks but turning our future into profit centers?
Shockingly, it isn’t just banks profiting off student loans. If the Federal Government’s student loan branch were a private company, it would be the most profitable company in the world. The Congressional Budget Office reported that the Federal Government made about $50 billion on student loans in 2013. This is $5 billion more than ExxonMobile. Why on earth is the government making $50 billion dollars off of its citizens?
As the global economy continues to value knowledge more and more, we must make sure our youth can keep up. We should stand behind President Obama’s plan to make community college free for all students that show a commitment to learning. We lose when people that want to learn in order to become more productive members of society are priced out of bettering themselves.
If you'd like to help Alex win the seat, you can contribute to his campaign here.