You know a politician is looking for applause when he speaks in front of a crowd of college students and says he’s there to help them pay back their student loans. After all, who doesn’t like the prospect of free money? But as the saying (sort of) goes, beware of politicians bearing gifts. That’s especially true this week as President Barack Obama travels the country warning students that their student loan interest rates are set to double and that he has the answer to all their problems.
Guess what? He doesn’t. But if there’s one thing the president has managed to accomplish, it’s in turning this issue into a political football. And now the House of Representatives is joining the game.
This all began back in 2007 when Democrats pushed for a five-year student loan interest rate reduction to 3.4 percent as a temporary subsidy in order to help make the loans more affordable. Now that “temporary” subsidy is set to expire, meaning that rates will return to their original 6.8 percent levels. In the midst of all this, the House is expected to vote today on a measure that would keep interest rates where they are — costing taxpayers $5.9 billion for a one-year extension. And under the proposal, the extension would be paid for by taking funds from Obamacare’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. Obamacare, instead, should be repealed outright — not used as a “slush fund” to pay for other programs.