If President Obama and the Democrat’s push for a government takeover of the nation’s healthcare system isn’t enough, they are also trying to include a government takeover of the student loan industry within the healthcare bill. Thus far, Democrats lack the necessary votes to pass the bill, but earlier this week they dusted off an arcane procedure that would allow the bill to pass the house without an actual vote by the people’s elected representatives.
The process is called the “Slaughter Strategy,” named for the Democrat who chairs the rules committee, would make it possible for the House to avoid voting on the reconciliation package by instead voting on the adoption of the rule of reconciliation. Basically, it means that the bill will head straight to the White House for approval, skipping the conference process that would be necessary to iron out any difference between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
The Obama White House has put an incredible amount of pressure on Democratic lawmakers to pass the healthcare reform package. Knowing how unpopular the proposal is with the American public, many Democrats are reluctant to vote for the bill knowing that it could spell trouble for their re-election efforts this fall.
While one would think that the public outrage might cause Democrats to slow down or try and improve the bill, instead it’s actually has persuaded Democrats like Iowa Senator Tom Harkin to attach another huge government entitlement to the bill. When President Obama campaigned in 2008, he advocated for the government takeover of the student loan industry. Now Sen. Harkin is working to lump that added provision in with the healthcare bill. In essence, this is two government takeovers for the expensive price of one huge bill.
By eliminating private sector student loans, the Obama-Harkin plan will kill the competition that helps students get the best deal on student loans, creating a one size fits all government student loan bank with the same rates for all kids and families. While government run healthcare will ultimately lead to the rationing of healthcare in America, nationalizing the student loan programs will also ration who receives assistance and access to higher education in America.
It’s estimated that up to 35,000 private sector jobs will be cut if the student loan takeover passes. Some reasonable Democrats oppose the plan, but the student loan takeover will be written in backrooms by three of the most liberal Democrats and put to a vote without the House, the Senate, or the American public being able to see what is happening due to the use of the reconciliation process to pass a bill that has not been seen by either legislative body.
Just like the healthcare debacle, this proposal is also full of pork. First there is a non-competitive carve out for certain companies in certain states. This sounds exactly like what we saw in the senate healthcare bill. This time, however, it’s not the “Cornhusker Kickback,” instead, it will be the Hawkeye Hustle since the student loan takeover bill would exempt certain state agencies in Iowa and California. Senators Tom Harkin and George Miller both secured carve-outs for their states.
Some believe that including the student loan takeover in the reconciliation process would act as a poison pill that could make it more difficult for the healthcare bill to pass. Yet, Democrats have convinced themselves that, while these huge transformational bills are not popular now, they will be once they are implemented. Another reason for concern is that, since the Democrats already realize that they are about to make an unpopular vote, they might as pass another one of Obama’s unpopular campaign pledges in the process.
With government spending at an all time high and the economy still in the dumps, Democrats are on the cusp of passing two new entitlement programs when we can’t afford the ones we already have. The Wall Street Journal estimates that taxpayers will be asked to loan students roughly $100 billion a year if the bill is signed into law.
Private sector jobs are what America needs to be able to change its current course. Unfortunately, the only thing that the Democrats are interested in is more big government takeovers that will eventually lead to higher taxes which will stymie job growth.
Sadly, Americans are not surprised. It’s just another day, another industry takeover. Bank and auto company bailouts, stimulus packages that went to prop up state spending, and government-mandated healthcare reform. It’s not hard to believe that the next battle involves the Obama Administration’s desire to create a government-run single-payer student loan system.
These government takeovers not only cost taxpayers billions of dollars, they also cost us our liberties.
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