Those sneaky Dems and their “stealth accomplishments”.

Last Tuesday, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) — aka “Obamacare”. Today, Obama signed the reconciliation bill that was supposed to implement the “fixes” to Obamacare, as required by the House. But, they decided to attach the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act bill as a rider. Together with the original “fixes” bill, they are to be known forevermore as the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872). Huh?

Obama speaks about student loan reform

The Obamassiah tells how he brings salvation to the student loan industry (March 29, 2010 - Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images North America)

There is much that could be said about this, but I’ll leave most of it to others. I just have two questions I’d like to ask.

My first question to our esteemed President and his Congressional comrades is, “What the heck does taking over student loans have to do with healthcare reform?” I don’t even remember this being mentioned until a few days ago. So, what gives? Well, not waiting for an answer, I did a little research and came up with an answer in two parts.

1) The reconciliation maneuver can only be used once per budget year, and Democrats probably figured this was their best (only?) chance to get the “student loan reform bill” passed. (Even some centrist Democrats were opposed.)

2) The Senate parliamentarian informed Dem leaders that, in order to pass budgetary muster, “both the Senate health and finance committees would need to produce $1 billion in deficit savings each over the next 10 years”. The reconciliation bill as it was could not do this; piggybacking the education bill with it allowed the whole package to meet requirements. Pretty sneaky, sis! (Sorry for the old TV commercial reference.)

As a bonus, President Obama gets a two-fer added to his Progressive resume.

I know, I know. This is just typical Congressional behavior. But, it just irks me that they had the nerve to attach another bill onto the Obamacare travesty legislation, let alone one that represents the federal government taking over yet another part of our economy. And taking business away from U.S. financial institutions, too. (Of course, the Administration loves to give this industry a hard time, deserving or not.)

Which brings me to my second question for Obama et al. “Where are you gonna get the money to lend to the students?” The federal government won’t just be subsidizing & guaranteeing student loans anymore. Now it has to loan the entire amounts. After spending so much money already and putting the nation in more debt than it’s ever been in (and getting worse), where will the federal government — specifically, the Dept. of Education — get the funds? My guess is a combination of taxes, fines, shuffling government monies around on paper, maybe borrowing from banks(?), etc. In other words, more pain for the taxpayer.

And don’t get me started on the government’s history with running student loan programs….

Rumor has it that this bill also provides “$2.55 billion to support historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions”. Hmmm. If those groups are being singled out, that sounds like reverse discrimination to me. But, if I asked about that, I’d probably be called a racist. So, I won’t ask.

P.S.  If you read the U.S. News article (which is overwhelmingly pro the student loan part of the Act), be sure to check out the reader comments titled “My Two Copper Coins…” (for some additional points from the other side) and “A little history on student loans” (for a first-hand account of why the govt should not be in this business).

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Comments
  1. pastorjeffcma says:

    Great post and, as usual, I agree with you completely. I certainly am not a fount of knowledge on this but one of the things I have heard as far as a connection to health care is that the government will be lending the money at a higher rate than the banks were and so the extra interest money will be used to offset the cost of health care (at least on paper). Which of course is rather silly since virtually every government program in operation is out of money to exponential degrees.

  2. sirrahc says:

    Yeah, sounds about right.

    Thanks for reading and leaving a comment, as usual. I sure appreciate my “regulars”.

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