The student debt crisis is largely one of the Republicans’ making. Among the main reasons college became so unaffordable is the slashed state contributions to their state college systems, started during the Reagan presidency, largely brought about because of the George Bush recession and engineered by Republican state legislatures. The average state spent $1,448, or 16 percent, less per student in 2017 than in 2008. Per-student funding in Pennsylvania – and six other states – fell by more than 30 percent over this period. This increased the cost of college and put more and more students in reach of the moneylenders.
The terms of student loans are so unfavorable to students – where you can repay more than you borrowed over time and still have a balance larger than what you borrowed – because the Reagan DOE and Republican Congresses wrote the terms that way. Student loans could have been done like FHA, directly by the government or under strict regulations, but instead were created to give total freedom to predatory lenders.
An entire generation now is saddled with debt that no generation before ever experienced . This doesn’t just affect their standard of living. They can’t buy a house, start a family, start a business, dream, make plans. Our entire economy is impoverished.
So, Biden took some meaningful steps to fix this problem. It’s not just the debt he extinguished. He also set a limit on how much you can be charged and fixed it so people won’t be looking at a bigger loan than what they borrowed a decade later.
Wow, you’d have thought he created a federal healthcare program, or investigated an insurrection. Why are the Republicans so angry? Because it’s so unfair to all those kids who learned a trade and didn’t go to college? The Republicans? Really?
Today’s Republican party, collectively, is the most lightly taxed group since the income tax was instituted and the most heavily subsidized group ever. Tax cuts. Massive shift of tax burden from Red to Blue states. Home mortgage deductions (a housing subsidy that dwarfs affordable housing subsidies, by the way). Capital gains. PPP.
Come to think of it, why are handouts to business (PPP) ok and aid to individuals (enhanced unemployment) “just encourages people not to work?” Why are students who have been working for a decade “too lazy to work?”
One reason is the double standard. People who get tax breaks and PPP giveaways are “hard working” and “job creators” and “Never got a dime from the government; I worked for everything I got. ”People who file for unemployment or whose standard of living would improve if the minimum wage went up or who can’t go back to work because there’s no child care are “freeloaders” or “don’t want to work.” There was a brief moment in the early days of the pandemic when the food pantry lines ballooned with middle class workers that there was hope of a more compassionate “there but for the Grace of God …” response, but the federal aid largely allowed the middle class to float through
Another reason is the Republican party objective of denying Biden a win. They recognize this can be a win for Biden and so once again they’re fanning the flames of white resentment.
The problem with the Republican party is, they don’t care how much you suffer.
Leon Reed, freelance reporter, is a former US Senate staff member, defense consultant, and history teacher. He is a seven year resident of Gettysburg, where he writes military history and explores the park and the Adams County countryside. He is the publisher at Little Falls Books, chaired the Adams County 2020 Census Complete Count Committee and is on the board of SCCAP and the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. He and his wife, Lois, have 3 children, 3 cats, and 5 grandchildren.