Should conservatives save themselves a lot of heartache and throw in the towel now? Republicans seem unable to get their message out without looking like villains (see: Do Republicans Want to be America’s Enemies?). With so many prime targets and renewed support from women a possibility thanks to Hilary Rosen, did House GOP members have to select a program to fund the newest bailout that could be used to throw women’s health in their faces? Going after Democrats for the interest hike on student loans should have been like snuffing fish in a barrel. Even the president admitted last week at the University of North Carolina that Democrats are largely at fault for legislation that caused the interest rate confrontation. Nevertheless, when he mentioned Democrats who were attending the speech, the crowd responded with applause.¹
Students were big Obama supporters in 2008. Anyone old enough to vote and incur student loan debt is also old enough to learn that decisions have consequences. Instead of teaching a lesson about choice, we are going to watch Democrats take credit for backing House Republicans into a corner over student loans and forcing a bailout over a problem they created. The GOP will bear criticism for endangering the health of women, and for putting students’ futures in jeopardy even though their solution will ultimately go nowhere.
The president shows genius at using Republicans as his whipping boy when Democrats get the urge to spend to shore up their support base. Mr. Obama boasted of his student loan fix when he took loans away from the banks, but like most of the president’s successes the benefits were pushed far into the future, all the way to 2020:
This reform of the federal student loan programs will save taxpayers $68 billion over the next decade. And with this legislation, we’re putting that money to use achieving a goal I set for America: by the end of this decade, we will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.²
The interest on student loans is part of a college affordability crisis Democrats are creating while they ignore the excesses that help make a public college education so expensive. Union interference, excessive salaries and benefits for educators and administrators, taxpayer-paid breaks for illegal immigrants, and the president’s threat to punish tuition hikes while his Secretary of Education insists we pay teachers more money are all part of a broad strategy endorsed by the White House. Republicans should have gone after these abuses long before they brought up a “slush fund” that was bound to get them in hot water no matter what they did with it. If they needed money for the loan interest bailout there are grant programs aplenty that do not reflect on the stereotype that the GOP is anti-woman (see: Will Obama’s Tax Hikes Pay for Reid’s Arts Grants?).
Pulling $6 billion from one bill and throwing it at another is not the same thing as refusing to spend $6 billion in a down economy. How did the GOP end up buying into another bailout made necessary by the failure of Democratic policies? The president is a master at manipulating public opinion to get his way, so we keep shelling out billions to fund his rich vs. poor, entitled vs. disadvantaged worldview. No matter what caused the recession, the bad economy we are stuck with now is the fault of the man in the White House and Democrats in Congress who are still selling the country on their bad ideas. Why are Republicans unable to get the message out about what is really happening, and why are they making it easy to place blame everywhere except where it belongs?