President Barack Obama has once again decided to tackle the pandemic of crippling student loan debt currently affecting 37 million Americans.
On Monday, Obama signed a memorandum that will expand the “Pay as You Earn” program by allowing federal direct student loan borrowers to pay a maximum of 10 percent of their income towards loan debt, rather than the previous 15 percent. The shift will allow lower-income Americans, especially those with a higher default risk, a more realistic payment plan.
These new implementations that will assist over 5 million students dealing with money-hungry collection agencies did not appease everyone on the political spectrum.
Offering some typical conservative criticism (and willing to say anything that obstructs progress) was Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
“This bill doesn’t make college more affordable, reduce the amount of money students will have to borrow, or do anything about the lack of jobs grads face in the Obama economy,” said McConnell.
So what have Republicans like McConnell proposed we do to repair the ever-increasing tuition spiral and address the debt crisis? – Absolutely nothing.
In fact, Congress has fought to hinder Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) bill that aims to refinance student loans at today’s lower interest rates. In order to do so, Warren and the Obama administration would utilize the “Buffett Rule”, which would fund the plan by closing loopholes in the system that allow millionaires to pay at a lower tax rate than middle-class families.
Congress will vote on Warren’s bill this week.
During Obama’s memorandum signing on Monday, he urged Americans to be cognisant of lawmaker’s votes. The members will be faced with a moral dilemma: assist students combating debt or continue giving tax breaks to millionaires.
Chandler is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.