Higher Education Becomes a Political Football as College Debt Increases in the United States
You may not be aware that the current interest rate on federal student loans is set to expire on July 1st. If Congress does nothing, the current rate of 3.4% will double to 6.8% at the end of this month.
This is pretty likely given that the Republican controlled House of Representatives is dedicated to inflicting as much economic pain on the American people as possible, in the hopes that it will be Democrats who get punished at the ballot box.
In contrast, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has introduced a bill that now has eight co-sponsors to reduce federal student loan interest rates to the same rate that the Federal Reserve charges banks. That rate is currently less than 1%.
At more than a trillion dollars, student loan debt has now surpassed credit cards as the number 2 source of American indebtedness (home mortgages are still number 1). The explosion of student loan debt is a product of an economy in which some sort of college degree is increasingly a basic prerequisite for most careers.
The sad truth though is that having a degree is no guarantee of finding a job that will compensate you well enough to ever realistically pay back the loans taken to afford our skyrocketing tuition costs.
We wouldn’t have this problem if the US were like the rest of civilized world and had low or even no cost higher education available to those who met university entrance requirements. Instead, our colleges and universities are being run like movie theatres, charging as much as they can, provided they can still get almost all the seats filled.
Obviously, it would help a huge number of people, including many still unemployed college graduates if student loan interest rates were reduced. That is exactly why it won’t happen, and the most likely result is that nothing is done, the deadline comes and goes, and the interest rate doubles. It would simply make too much sense for the Republicans to allow it to happen.
After all, we can’t have the government do anything that would actually help anyone. It would just give Democrats an opportunity to get rightfully deserved credit for something.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Gossom and do not reflect Results Radio, Townsquare Media, its sponsors or subsidiaries.