Monday, April 27, 2009

Haiku 042709

starless sky
blinking plane lights
past midnight


Recently, we read the following:

Associated Press: “Obama touts plan to change college loan system

“President Barack Obama on Friday renewed his call for the government to stop backing private loans to college students and replace them with direct financial aid to young people….

“The administration has pushed for federal financial aid to go directly to students, not to banks that lend money to students…. Obama wants to end the decades-old, dual system the federal government uses to advance loans to students to pay for college. Under that system, students at some colleges borrow directly from the government, while others get loans from banks, nonprofits or state agencies that in turn receive subsidies from Washington. The president's proposal would switch the federal student loan system entirely to direct lending from the government….

“Obama has claimed that the change would save at least $48 billion over the next 10 years — money that could be funneled to more student aid. But Republicans are concerned about the costs of that and even some Democratic lawmakers oppose the switch….

“The president acknowledged the proposal's critics. "It's about whether we want to give tens of billions of tax dollars to special interests or whether we want to make college more affordable for eight and a half million more students…. The banks and the lenders who have reaped a windfall from these subsidies have mobilized an army of lobbyists to try to keep things the way they are. They are gearing up for battle. So am I," Obama said….”


And we thought:

.... Senator Lamar Alexander (R), what’s wrong with eliminating the private, profit-oriented middlemen, i.e., the student loan lenders? Their college loan lending business is essentially subsidized by the federal government and they have in fact been enriching themselves at the expense of taxpayers. What’s wrong with using colleges and universities as the facilitating agents through which the federal government could course the funds for lower interest, student loans? This is currently the process for Pell and similar federal grants or loan programs anyway. What’s wrong with supporting more of our deserving youth through college to prepare them for gainful careers and fruitful lives and better citizenship? Hasn’t that long been America’s promise to them?

What’s really wrong, obviously, is that private, for-profit student loan companies will be losing a very lucrative, risk-free business. What’s really wrong is that the unholy deals between some people in Congress and these student loan lenders will finally be coming to an end. What’s really wrong is that the bilking of families who only want a college education for their kids will finally stop. These are the things wrong about President Obama's nutty plan -- in the minds of these money lenders and their partners in Congress, like Senator Alexander.

Over the last few decades, average tuition costs have reportedly increased twice that of the inflation rate -- very much greater than increases in household incomes. For many students and their families who are increasingly finding it difficult to fund a college education, what is there to fault in President Obama’s plan to reform the college loan system? For them, the President’s plan is the light at the end of this dark tunnel of horrific college loan interest rates and college loan debts....

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