Thursday, May 9, 2013

A bold move on student loans

I love this woman! Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been asking the tough questions, thanks to her seat on the Senate Banking Committee (and again, I have to thank the Democratic Party for giving her that opportunity, despite her lack of seniority), and that's been wonderful!

But now? Her first bill proposes a really bold move on student loans - but one which is hard to oppose, don't you think? Why give the big banks such a benefit - pretty much a guaranteed profit - when we won't do the same for American students?

From TPM:
On July 1, without action from Congress, Stafford loan interest rates for some 7 million students are set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

Warren’s first-ever standalone legislation, introduced Wednesday, would prevent that hike and take the additional step of cutting the rate to 0.75 percent — the same rate that big banks are allowed to borrow at — for one year until Congress can achieve a more permanent fix.

“Our students are being crushed by debt,” Warren told TPM in an interview late Wednesday. ...

“The taxpayers are investing in the big banks,” Warren said. “I think the taxpayers should invest in our students. And so I just want the same great deal for both of them.” ...

A study this year by the Congressional Budget Office found that for every dollar the federal government offers in student loans, it makes 36 cents in profit. ...

In her floor speech unveiling the legislation Wednesday, she said that if no action is taken, “the federal government is going to charge students interest rates that are nine times higher than the rates for the biggest banks — the same banks that destroyed millions of jobs and nearly broke this economy. That isn’t right.”

She's correct. That isn't right. And it's high time we invested in our country again, invested in our children again, instead of these continual giveaways to the super-rich.

Since we're speaking of education, here's something else from TPM which I think is very interesting:
Hispanic high school graduates enrolled in college at a higher rate than whites for the first time ever, according to U.S. Census data analyzed by the Pew Research Center.

Sixty-nine percent of Hispanic graduates enrolled in college in fall of 2012, compared to 67 percent of white high school graduates who did so.

Is that going to blow some right-wing minds? We tend to hear Republicans complaining about Hispanics swelling welfare rolls or burdening social services, not that they're attending college at a higher rate than white kids.

Now, true, this study also notes that "Hispanic students are less likely to enroll in a four-year college, less likely to attend college full-time and less likely to finish their degree." And they might be less likely to graduate from high school in the first place. But Hispanics are not just migrant farm-workers, people! They're enrolling in college at a higher rate than whites!

That's impressive, given our history of bigotry and the lower average income of Hispanic Americans. Note that, while I'm not implying that "Hispanic" is equivalent to "immigrant," not at all, there are many first- and second-generation Americans in the Hispanic community, so this is doubly impressive.

Of course, I'd have to add that it's shameful to see the college rate of Americans of any ethnicity at less than 70% - this is the 21st Century, people! - but maybe Elizabeth Warren's bill will help with that. Let's not forget that China has more people in college than we have people.

Hmm,... I wonder how the bigots will react to this, if it gets much publicity. Well, I do enjoy seeing right-wing heads explode. After all, that's harmless entertainment. It's not as though they use their heads for anything.

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