Robert Novak's article on the Democrats' plan to lower interest rates for student loans illustrates once again that politics today is more about show and emotions than principles and reality.
For starters, the interest rate cuts will not be fully phased in until today's students are out of college, and according to Novak the low rates will be available to less than a third of students who take out loans. Other student loan programs will be cut to help "pay for" the rate cuts. The Democrats' "feel good" program is thus not quite what it seems to be on the surface.
Then there's the issue that a majority of House Republicans voted for the bill. California Republicans Dana Rohrabacher and Ed Royce, who are usually reliable conservatives, voted in favor of the measure. I wonder if Rohrabacher and Royce considered that the impact of cheaper credit is likely to be that colleges will be encouraged to raise their tuition rates ever higher to scoop up more of that "cheap money." I suspect they voted for the bill because to do otherwise could lead to their being branded as heartless Scrooges in the media -- as I said above, it's all about "show and emotions" these days. They might have viewed it as too difficult to cut through mainstream media headlines and explain the possible negative ramifications of this "feel good" bill to their constituents.
Novak: "The once militant, united House Republicans are demoralized and on the run. They were battered in the last campaign for cutting school loans in the previous Congress and are willing to go along with a sham bill, hoping for Senate gridlock and a presidential veto."
I frankly think a Presidential veto would be highly unlikely. The President is not particularly conservative when it comes to education, and I suspect he would go along with a "bipartisan effort" to make higher education "more affordable."
The reality is that students may end up needing more money at those lower interest rates, and not be any better off, while universities will benefit further at the expense of students and taxpayers.