The Obama Administration and Student Loans…Trying to Buy Votes With YOUR Money?

The Obama Administration and Student Loans…Trying to Buy Votes With YOUR Money?

I’m sure you are well aware the President gives a weekly address to the nation.

This weeks theme is all about student loans and limiting the interest rate charged for them.

Here is the White House video of the Weekly address given on 21 April, 2012, by President Barack Obama (the transcript is further down the page, after a little commentary from me.

I’ll admit that I’ve not kept up on his claim that the interest rate will double if Congress doesn’t stop it.  No, unlike most people today, I paid cash for the classes I needed and wanted.  No loans, no government assistance, yes, the entire time I have taken classes, I was also working…remember, I was paying cash for what I wanted and needed.   The interest rate charged on Student Loans just was not a big deal for me, so I didn’t (and still don’t) keep up with it.

In my opinion if the interest rate is due to rise, and it was part of the contract signed by the student, well then, what exactly did you expect when you signed up?  Now, if the rate is just arbitrarily going up due to who knows what, and it’s not called for in the contract, then by all means, stop it from happening.

My biggest complaint about this speech, as well as a lot of the speeches this President gives, is that despite speaking for over 3 minutes and making several allegations, the speech is extremely short on particulars.  No exact numbers, doesn’t even mention the exact interest rate being charged now, or the “new” rate he is railing against.

Am I for or against what he is proposing?  At this point, I don’t know, because the proposal falls extremely short of specifics and solutions.  Watch  the video, read the transcript, then decide for yourself.

Don’t forget to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below and thanks for stopping by today,

Stan W.


Here is the transcript of the address for those who would like to read it:

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
April 21, 2012

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Calling on Congress to Prevent Student Interest Rates from Doubling

WASHINGTON, DC—In this week’s address, President Obama called on Congress to act before student loan interest rates double for more than 7.4 million students, adding an average of $1000 to their debt. Having a college education has never been more important, but it’s also never been more expensive.  While the Obama administration has taken historic steps to provide Americans with a fair shot at an affordable college education, Republicans in Congress have instead prioritized huge new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.  Congress has a chance to take action on what should be an area of bipartisan agreement to prevent this unnecessary and damaging increase in interest rates and give our young people a chance to succeed in the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hi.  This week, I got the chance to sit down with some impressive students at Lorain County Community College in Ohio.  One of them was a woman named Andrea Ashley.  Two years ago, Andrea lost her job as an HR analyst.  Today, she’s getting certified in the fast-growing field of electronic medical records.  Before enrolling at Lorain, Andrea told me she was looking everywhere trying to find a new job.  But without a degree, she said that nobody would hire her.

Andrea’s story isn’t unique.  I’ve met so many Americans who are out there pounding the pavement looking for work only to discover that they need new skills.  And I’ve met a lot of employers who are looking for workers, but can’t find ones with the skills they’re looking for.

So we should be doing everything we can to put higher education within reach for every American – because at a time when the unemployment rate for Americans with at least a college degree is about half the national average, it’s never been more important.  But here’s the thing: it’s also never been more expensive.  Students who take out loans to pay for college graduate owing an average of $25,000.  For the first time, Americans owe more debt on their student loans than they do on their credit cards.  And for many working families, the idea of owing that much money means that higher education is simply out of reach for their children.

In America, higher education cannot be a luxury.  It’s an economic imperative that every family must be able to afford.  That’s why next week I’ll be visiting colleges across the country, talking to students about how we can make higher education more affordable – and what’s at stake right now if Congress doesn’t do something about it.  You see, if Congress doesn’t act, on July 1st interest rates on some student loans will double.  Nearly seven and half million students will end up owing more on their loan payments.  That would be a tremendous blow.  And it’s completely preventable.

This issue didn’t come out of nowhere.  For some time now, I’ve been calling on Congress to take steps to make higher education more affordable – to prevent these interest rates from doubling, to extend the tuition tax credit that has saved middle-class families millions of dollars, and to double the number of work-study jobs over the next five years.

Instead, over the past few years, Republicans in Congress have voted against new ways to make college more affordable for middle-class families, and voted for huge new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires – tax cuts that would have to be paid for by cutting things like education and job-training programs that give students new opportunities to work and succeed.

We cannot just cut our way to prosperity.  Making it harder for our young people to afford higher education and earn their degrees is nothing more than cutting our own future off at the knees.  Congress needs to keep interest rates on student loans from doubling, and they need to do it now.

This is a question of values.  We cannot let America become a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of people struggle to get by.  We’ve got to build an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.  That’s how the middle class gets stronger.  That’s an economy that’s built to last.  And I’m not only going to take that case to college campuses next week – I’m going to take it to every part of the country this year.  Thanks, and have a great weekend.



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