Or: Bipartisanship is bad. Or: Mitt is a jackass
Student loans cost money. Except that they don’t cost much (the interest rate is the “cost” of a loan) to those receiving them, namely, students. Instead, those loans cost everybody else, namely, taxpayers, about $6B per year. Federally subsidized student loans are very bad for a lot of reasons, not the least of which are: 1) they disguise the risk and cost to the borrowers who default at a very high rate (23%) and 2) by making higher education “affordable” they inflate the cost of higher education leading to distortion in the cost of higher education and the need for ever larger student loans.
George Will has an excellent post on the absurdity of entitling those already or soon-to-be entitled. Here are two key paragraphs, and note how Will rightly points out 1) the buying of votes involved in extending the law to keep rates low and 2) that bipartisanship is bad.
“In 2006, Democrats, trying to capture control of Congress by pandering to students and their parents, proposed cutting in half the statutory 6.8 percent rate on some federal student loans. Holding Congress in 2007, and with no discernible resistance from the compassionately conservative George W. Bush administration, Democrats disguised the full-decade cost of this — $60 billion — by pretending that the subsidy, which now costs $6 billion a year, would expire in five years.
The five years are up July 1, and of course the 3.4 percent rate will be extended. Barack Obama supports this. So does Mitt Romney, while campaigning against a “government-centered society.” What would we do without bipartisanship?” (emphasis in original)
And here is Mitt in a stupid contradiction (this is from the link at the end of the Will article):
“Question from woman in Peoria, Illinois: “So you’re all for like, ‘yay, freedom,’ and all this stuff. And ‘yay, like pursuit of happiness.’ You know what would make me happy? Free birth control.”
Romney: “You know, let me tell you, no no, look, look let me tell you something. If you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for, vote for the other guy. That’s what he’s all about, okay? That’s not, that’s not what I’m about.””
Except, Mitt, that it IS what you’re all about when it comes to student loans.