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Monday, December 11, 2017

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President Obama has called on Congress to prevent subsidized student loan rates from doubling from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Speaking in the Rose Garden on Friday morning, he called for a quick solution to a problem that would afflict young people already saddled with big loans as they emerged into a very difficult job market.

“If Congress doesn’t act by July 1, federal student loan rates are set to double. It’s like a $1,000 tax hike,” the president, surrounded by college students, said.

Obama’s plan ties the rate to the 10-year Treasury rate, and fixes that loan to the rate when it is issued. It also provides funding to assist struggling students based on their income.

House Republicans have passed their own student loan fix that, like the president’s plan, ties rates to the market rate, but their plan allows rates capped at 8.5 percent to rise and fall with the economy over the life of the loan.

“I’m glad that they took action, but their bill does not meet that test. It fails to lock in low rates for students next year,” Obama said. “The House bill isn’t smart, and it’s not fair. I’m glad that the House is paying attention to it, but they didn’t do it in the right way.”

The president’s bill is designed to keep the cost of loans low by limiting repayments to 10 percent of the borrower’s discretionary income“Higher education cannot be a luxury for a privileged few,” he said.

In 2011, the average student owed nearly $27,000 in loans.

“According to the Federal Reserve Board of New York, the share of student loan balances 90 or more days delinquent surged to 11.7 percent in the last two quarters—three percentage points higher than the same time last year—elevating student loans, for the first time, to the ignominious distinction of having a worse repayment rate than credit cards,” according to The Century Foundation’s Benjamin Landy.

Rather than calling for a comprehensive fix now, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has introduced a bill that would tie student loan rates to the Federal Reserve’s overnight rate of .75 percent that banks pay for one year, while Congress figures out a lasting solution. A petition supporting her bill has more than 400,000 signatures.

“The student loan bill passed by House Republicans takes a bad situation and makes it worse,” Warren said in a statement issued when the House bill passed.

The CBO found that the president’s plan would save the government $3.1 billion over a decade.

“We know that the surest path to the middle class is some form of higher education,” said Obama, who pointed out that he and the First Lady only finished paying off their loans in the last decade.

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo

29 Responses to Obama: ‘Higher Education Shouldn’t Be A Luxury’

  1. Should be some focus on the coursework, a much more comprehensive program.
    In areas sorely need for our countries future, education should be fully funded, and others where there is no need or societal benefit, virtually no funding.

    Do we need more in medicine and engineering or more psychology, affrimative actions and social work majors?

    • Affirmative action is NOT a course of study. I seriously doubt that you could even find the term on any curriculum in the top 150 colleges and universities. However, student assistance in medicine, engineering, and psychology would go far, as would assistance in chemistry, physics, biology, genetics, etc. in preparing this country for the workplace of the next generation. Thee is definitely a growing need for ALL fields in science and medicine, including social work.

      • With respect, we need to be preparing the country to continue as a Constitutional Republic more than we need preparation “for the workplace,” important as all the fields you named are. Without that, the knowledge and power gained in those fields will likely be corrupted and put to evil ends.

        • Sand_Cat, there lies the conundrum. You’re not wrong but neither is Robert. Without education, we have no chance
          of making such preparations let alone consolidating our gains.
          On the other hand, if we don’t secure the Constitutional Republic first, then we have little chance of consolidating our gains. This is the first hurdle we need to deal with and it is a major one. We all have our own ideas of what is priority one. Our leaders don’t even know, they guess.

        • You are absolutely correct, as far as you go. In order to preserve our experiment in Democracy, people MUST be trained to fully understand it, see where it is being assaulted, and be willing to do all that is necessary to preserve it. However, in order for this country to survive as the world leader it has been it is necessary for us to educate a workforce that will take us into the next generation. The jobs opening up today are jobs that people with a 1990’s education simply cannot fill. Even manufacturing is getting much more technical than it was when we were coming up, requiring an understanding of IT and robotics, electrical engineering, etc. – skills that just are not today available to the average HS student preparing to get into the job market. Even EMTs need to have skills that require at least two additional years of schooling, and anything in the medical professions require extensive post-HS training. Math, physics, engineering, biology, genetics, etc. are just a few of the areas that will be opening up in this decade and the next for which today’s students are woefully unprepared, making it necessary for us to bring in students with special skill sets from outside this country and KEEP them here, NOW. It all ties together in a way that makes our Democracy stronger.

    • As a rule, a liberal arts education is broad-based and teaches problem-solving and how to think outside the box. It used to be that engineers were thought to be technocrats.

      I still remember when I was kid–around 1958–and my dad show a full page ad in the Sunday edition of the London Times for a manager for the National Railroad of India. It had four or five “long” columns of jobs. I’ll never forget the final line of the ad: “Classics Man Preferred.”

      I asked my dad why they listed all those job titles when they wanted a classics man. He said, the classics man didn’t need to do each of the jobs. Trained specialists did each of those jobs. The classics man needed to understand and see the big picture to supervise all these different positions and make sure the train ran on time and safely.

      As for medicine, here’s an interesting tidbit. If you want to be a doctor who treats patients in France, you need to have a liberal arts major. Science will be taught in medical school. However, the liberal arts will teach the future MD to understand human nature and communicate with his/her patients. FYI, France has one of the best medical systems in the world.

    • Who will determine what is “sorely need[ed”?


      The idiots who don’t “believe in” evolution and global warming?

      An education – a real education – is about a great deal more than vocational training, and it is in the interest of maintaining a Constitutional Democratic Republic that the citizenry be able to think clearly and critically, and that they be aware of something beyond their jobs or other personal concerns. Not to mention that people who have benefited world culture and ethics were educated (or not) in all kinds of disciplines; can you come up with a way to predict who will be one?

      • I don’t think it will be Physical Education majors, and
        BTW, a well rounded education is important,
        a pigeon hole focus however isn’t.
        It used to be Our Congress wasn’t dominated by “lawyers”,
        and it worked better and far less expensive. .
        Common sense is far more important.

    • You Got That Right Bill It’s Just More Gutting Out This Country And Destroying The 98% Of The American People That Live Here!! Time To Wake Up People We Must Get The GOP/Tea Party Out Of Offices!!!! 🙁

  2. Where has True Christian and Conservative values gone???? As ALEC and its tea party bought a “Politician”!!! In the special interest of a signed pledge laid against a Constitutional Oath unto “We the People”!!!

    The approach of the Republicans is best summarized in its oath:

    “I believe that the proper function of government is to do for “the people” those things that
    have to be done but cannot be done, or cannot be done as well by individuals,
    and that the most effective government is government “closest to the people”.

    I believe that good government is based on the individual and that each person’s ability,
    dignity, freedom and responsibility must be honored and recognized.

    I believe that free enterprise and encouragement of individual initiative and incentive have
    given this nation an economic system second to none.

    I believe that sound money policy should be our goal.

    I believe in equal rights and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, age, sex or national origin. I believe that persons with disabilities should be afforded
    equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunities as well.

    I believe we must retain those principles worth retaining, yet always be receptive to new ideas with an outlook broad enough to accommodate thoughtful change and varying
    points of view.

    I believe that Americans value and should preserve their feeling of national strength and
    pride, and at the same time share with people everywhere a desire for peace
    and freedom and the extension of human rights throughout the world.

    Finally, I believe that the Republican Party is the best vehicle for translating these ideals
    into positive and successful principles of government.”

    But today! Government isn’t the Solution! Government is the Problem! When it comes to the corporate special interest of a “Bought Politician”.

    • You have a lot in common with Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, etc. While I am sure you must take that as a compliment, between you and them I would choose any old brick as the smarter.

    • Wow! What an imagination you have! When has the Republican Party ever – even in the days of Abraham Lincoln – believed in even half of the noble (well, except for the parts about the Republicans and your last sentence) ideas iterated in your note?
      All I can say is what a pity such apparent coherence and even eloquence is wasted on supporters of the current Republican batshit-crazy cult, which incidentally relies on the un- and ill-educated for a significantly larger percentage of its votes than far-from-perfect Democratic

      But maybe it means there’s hope for some of you, and for this country.

      • The Republican Party stood for Progress and other major Liberal ideas for a significant portion of its existence. Its only in the last 70 years that the GOP has become what it is to day.

    • And when has today’s Republican Party supported anything but a crude caricature of “true Christianity”?

  3. What the hell is the issue if it, in the long run, saves the federal government money? Simply because 1) Obama is backing it, 2) it benefits the middle class? The money-saving issue should be a no-brainer for the Republicans, since that is what they are looking for, isn’t? This would cover the cost of disaster relief for Oklahoma, so Coburn and Inhofe should be supporting it.

  4. The right thing to do is to allow student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy and without the gory extreme conditions that can qualify (terminal illness, loss of bodily functioning or death).
    If an individual has a loan that can’t be serviced for a legitimate reason they can prove then they should be allowed to go to court with legal representation and have the loan either discharged or modified.
    The student loan business will be nothing more than a federally sponsored “debt trap scam” until fairness is restored and people can discharge student loans just like anybody else in dire financial circumstances deserves a fresh start.
    The Banksters like Sallie Mae know they benefit from student loans people can’t afford to pay. They contract with collection agencies and Wall Street repackages those loans to fatten their profits.
    This is the kind of greed that if unchecked will turn America into a banana republic where there is no middle class and 2% of the country owns everything

  5. The Republicans want higher rates because they represent the class that makes the loans, not the class that borrows. Those who make the loans want better returns so they can continue to live above the rest of us in the oligarchy they have created.

    • You are correct. Our focus, as a nation, should be on making higher education affordable and accessible to ALL qualified students, rather than erecting barriers to make it more difficult for bright students with limited financial resources to become prosperous and productive citizens. The worst part is that this is coming at a time when large numbers of students are dropping out of high school, and when we are falling behind other industrialized nations in preparing our population for the intellectual challenges of the 21st century.
      The GOP position on this issue is wrong and should be rejected by all responsible Americans. Our future depends on the ability of our children to excel, depriving them of the education they need to succeed is the equivalent to national suicide.

  6. What the hell do you leftist idiots think Obozocare is? It’s a massive tax hike on the young for redistributing their income to older people. And you dopes are worried about students paying a couple of percentage points on their student loans?

    The Federal Government has no reason to be in the student loan business, except that Obozo and his corrupt socialist machine nationalized that industry a few years back. Nationalizing industries…… hmmmmmmmm……. who nationalizes industries???? Socialists! Communists! Fascists! Tyrants of all stripes nationalize industries. And Oboze is a National Socialist without a doubt.

    Have a nice day!

    “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.” — Milton Friedman

    • Put Milton Friedman – or his living disciples – in charge (you probably aren’t bright enough to qualify, so don’t get all excited). I’m sure they could convert an equitable, contented society into a corporate kleptocracy and police state worse than the one we already have in no time at all.

        • He’s a reminder we need of just how ignorant, bigoted, irrational, and just plain nasty the opposition is.

          I don’t generally read his posts, but his screen name and all the smug and insincere “Have a nice day” closings can be entertaining, especially considering his arrogant assumption that Obama would be defeated. The 3 or 4 day silence from him and the other morons after the election was the funniest thing since Carl Rove’s meltdown and near-tearful performance when Fox called Ohio for Obama.

    • The Department of Education was created in 1867 in order to give freed Africans and poor whites the benefits of education. It sought out ways and techniques to educate people efficiently and effectively to combat the amount of ignorance that could weigh a progressive country down. Public education has been a great benefit to America, particularly around the 1960’s in the Cold War with Russia to make America highly competitive in a global effort of excellence. In 1980, President Carter combined his War on Poverty with the Department of Education to educate and train Americans in the technology and ship building industries and corporations to generate a level playing field for the poor to become economically productive. However, from 1867 to today, slave-power Democrats, Dixiecrat/Republicunts, and today’s Republicunt/neo-Confederate Tea Bags has done everything possible to dismantle public education in order to keep lower-class people dumb and ignorant. Their destruction of public education in America has worked, because look at the shape of education in America today. Bush/Cheney did that. That is why the government is involved in education, Bozo the Clown, to promote achievement, excellence, life, liberty, and the pursuit of stay competitive in a shrinking world economy . . Bozo the Clown, you’re the perfect antithesis of that promotion. Look what home-schooling did to you. If you weren’t home schooled and attended public education, look what the Republicunt/neo-Confederate tea Bag destruction of public education did to you. Or, is that the meth?

      • It’s Retard Robbie the sexual deviant. I’d ask you how stupid you can be, but then again, I know the answer already. As stupid as that empty head Fern Woodfork, and reaching new depths of stupidity daily. Have you seen test score comparisons internationally? Have you seen public schools in urban areas where they brag about 50% of their kids graduate? Yeah… that’s right… they BRAG about their failure. Public education in America has been going down hill since the 1960’s and has accelerated especially under the growth in control of eduction by unions. The unions have made school about enrichment of themselves through extortion of taxpayers, not eductating children. Only a complete fool would blame Bush/Cheney for the decline in public education. That train had been over the cliff long before Bush showed up. This may shock you but I support public FINANCING of primary education. I do. What I do not support is PRVATE CONTROL over public education by crooked unions. That and the leftist freaks that control education in America and are indoctrinating children in collectivist and socialist ideals while ignoring or outright distorting American history and corrupting traditional curriculum like math, english, science, etc.

        Have a nice day, pervert!

        “Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.” ― Mark Twain, Notebook

        • Seriously? Who sounds like a fool now, Bozo the Clown. Oh, and by the way. Mark Twain suffered from hernias. His nuts were so full of his lower intestines, you could run smack into them and knock yourself out. Be careful.

  7. As we have seen , in the past, illiteracy weakens a nation. We must be able to compete, intellectually with the world. Wars are no longer being won by brute force. Cyber attacks could cripple this entire nation. When money becomes more important than learning, we lose. We can see the affects of this attitude toward education in what kind of people ended up in Congress. Medical care and education should not be a status symbol for the wealthy.

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