Written by Lucas Draisey
Chairman of the Iowa Federation of College Republican
There was something odd about President Obama’s press conference on Thursday asking Congress to agree to extend low student loan rates: they already have. In April, Republicans passed a version of the bill that would prevent Federal Direct Stafford Loan rates from doubling to 6.8 percent for millions of students—exactly what Democrats said they wanted.
So why are Democrats still rejecting the Republican plan? It’s not exactly clear.
On the face of it, the distinction is this: Democrats want to raise payroll taxes on business owners while Republicans do not. Rather than burden our job creators—already struggling after three and a half years of Obama’s failed economic policies—with an additional $5.9 billion in taxes, Republican members of Congress sought to use part of a slush fund created by Obamacare. After all, what is $6 billion for our nation’s students out of a bloated $2 trillion bureaucracy? As might be expected, of course, Democrats responded by calling this a “war on women.”
Unfortunately, this about-face gives us a clue to the real reason for Democrats’ obstruction and name-calling: politics. Democrats know that in this economy, in which 16.1% of 16-24 year olds are unemployed and one in four college graduates has to live with their parents for financial reasons, they are in danger of losing the youth vote. Indeed, they already have. Young voter support for President Obama is down to about 50%, a far cry from the 68% he garnered in 2008.
President Obama knows he needs the youth vote to win his re-election campaign in the fall. The easiest way for him to do this, however, is to keep student voters disaffected and blame Republicans for all their ills. With Republicans proposing substantive ideas that will not only keep student rates low but allow small business owners to create jobs, President Obama has resorted to using student loan interest rates to distract voters from his dismal economic record.
That’s why it is so farcical to see the President insisting the extension “should have gotten done weeks ago.” Of course it should have. He is the reason for the delay!
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