published Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Stafford loans still at risk

If Congress doesn't act this month to renew the current interest rate on the popular Stafford loans for college students, the rate will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Because so many families and students now rely on student loans to help pay for a college education, a higher rate would add to their financial burdens. For some strapped families, it might thwart dreams of a college degree altogether. That should not be allowed to happen.

The partisan standoff in Congress is not about whether to keep interest rates on Stafford loans low. It's about how to pay for them.

Democrats have proposed to eliminate the huge oil subsidies that the federal government gives the five largest oil companies, which have had record profits in recent years. They also want to close some lucrative tax loopholes that mainly benefit rich corporations, and one that that allows wealthy individuals to earn tax-free income from businesses classified as S corporations.

Republicans, however, continue to reject cost offsets that would eliminate such needless tax expenditures favoring the richest beneficiaries. Instead, they demand deeper cuts in unrelated social programs to offset the cost of subsidizing student loans.

Until last week, they had proposed to pay the $6 billion cost to keep interest rates on Stafford loans low for another year by cutting preventive health-care services promised to women next year under the Obama administration's health care reform law. Last week, House Republics offered an equally unfair alternative: another cut in benefits received by federal employees -- whose benefits already have been cut and their pay frozen the past several years -- along with stiffer, earlier pay-back terms on Stafford loans for part-time college students who are working while going to college.

The GOP seems always to favor tax breaks for people and organizations that already are doing very well (and who happen to be large campaign donors) while making it harder for ordinary workers and strapped families who already have a hard time financing college costs.

Republicans' upside-down view of the world fails to acknowledge some core facts. About two-thirds of American students now rely on college loans to help pay for college. Their average college debt, fueled by spiraling tuition costs and regular cutbacks in state spending on higher education, is now $23,300. Seventy percent of Stafford loans go to students whose families make less than $50,000 a year; the next 24 percent go to families with incomes of $50,000 to $100,000 annually.

Jeopardizing Stafford loans is short-sighted in the extreme. It plays recklessly against the educational attainment levels that the United States needs to boost, not deter, to keep competitive in the global economy. And it ignores the financial impact on the families and students who need help from Congress far more than the affluent corporations and individuals that Republicans favor.

In an editorial board meeting at this newspaper Monday, Gov. Bill Haslam -- a Republican who pursues economic growth -- emphasized the urgency of raising the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees from our lamentably low rate of around 20 percent, to the range of 30-plus percent that help other states attract new businesses. He and other Tennesseans should be urging Tennessee's congressional Republicans to provide responsible, timely funding for Stafford loans and the even more neglected Pell grant program for lower-income college students.

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EaTn said...

You can currently finance a new automobile for around 2% and a house for around 4%. To raise the student loan rate to 6.8% is ludicrous.

June 5, 2012 at 6:49 a.m.
joneses said...

The author of this article is lying. Like all liberals the word "subsidies" is used in place of "tax deductions" that all companies get because our tax system allows this. It would not be fair to increase the taxes on some companies and not increase taxes on all companies. Also the author fails to mention that if you raise the cost of the oil companies doing business the price of gas will go even higher. This is simple economics, the higher the cost of doing business the higher the price of the product offering. The author should be ashamed of his self for trying to convince the sheep that the oil companies are responsible for the student loan debt.

The author also lies by stating the government has stopped pay raises. What the government did was not allow increases in pay grades but they did not stop government employees from advancing to a higher pay grade so their inflated salaries can be increased. This is how the government employees get around this and the author know this as well or is just plain stupid.

I could point out all the lies in this article but it would take to much time. The author wants you to believe the Republicans are against student loans so ask yourself this. How would it benefit the Republicans to be against student loans? It would not so that in itself is more proof the author is a liar.

June 5, 2012 at 7:04 a.m.
328Kwebsite said...

I returned home from my fourth war campaign to find that the Chattanooga business community had torn itself to shreds. These student loan programs are essential. I use them.

I used to work in a 17 story skyscraper downtown; it was empty by the time I got back from one tour. It seemed like every time I came back from a training mission or war campaign that I heard again about hundreds of layoffs in a day. Mass layoffs and quick grabs for profit: they became the norm around here. These business decisions were, in my opinion, baseless in profit and self-destructive to the community.

Almost every Soldier in my platoon returned to communities where hundreds of people had been laid off at a time. It was impossible for the communities to re-employ those workers because the re-employment rate is much lower than 125 to 500 people a day (the laid-off rate). Rural communities had it even worse. We're still 10,000 jobs behind; that doesn't count the arrival of new workers like young people and retirees who need entry level and part-time sustainment employment.

Without subsidized Federal student loans, I would not have been able to go back to school to update my education. As an officer with a B.A., there were no military educational benefits for me. It was time to start over like everyone else.

Every day I go to school, I see some people starting over. My view on this is that I should see hundreds, if not thousands, of such people. Instead, we only see a handful. I believe the low retraining numbers are a direct result of times being so hard that people cannot summon the means to get the retraining; even with student loans available, it's still too tough for some to survive and go back to school.

Cutting student loan programs in these tough economic times is a stupid and selfish plan. It punishes the poor for being poor. It makes recovery even tougher.

I guess if you're rich and only care about yourself, then it doesn't matter to you or the GOP.

The Republican party wants to finance student loans by cutting "Obamacare" health care payment reform programs. That's their proposed path to coming up with the money it takes to subsidize these loans. They have stated many times that they think this is a "reasonable" path. They won't accept any closing of tax loopholes for corporations to finance student loans. Those are the facts as presented by GOP congressmen themselves.

We need these student loans to get our community retrained for today's commerce. Support these subsidy programs. We'll get our money back. Commerce requires training. Commerce is far better than thousands of uncounted unemployed like me.

June 5, 2012 at 9:09 a.m.
timbo said...

If we forgive college loans or don't charge enough interest, it becomes even more of a back door subsidy for education. We don't need to pay for degrees in subjects that aren't producing a viable chance of the student being able to earn enough to support himself.

Under water basket weaving, journalism (Look what a waste Harry Austin is) or the "arts" is a waste of time and money. At least have a double major in something that is practical.

Typical liberal tactic of buying votes with free money.

June 5, 2012 at 10:55 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

"A backdoor subsidy for education?" We certainly don't want that, do we! What kind of nation would we be if we emphasized the importance of an education for all its citizens? And for the government to subsidize it?? Horrors! Let's keep our priorities straight, folks. Subsidies for the obscenely rich oil companies? Of course! Subsidies for education? Fuggitabout it!

Thanks, timbo, for imparting your wisdom to us, as always. Good thing you didn't get one of those wasted liberal arts educations - you might have turned out to be some gol-danged socialist or something and then we'd be derprived of the many pearls of your business minded wisdom. Teach us more, oh great one. We thirst for your knowledge.

June 5, 2012 at 12:01 p.m.
joneses said...

I think the question needs to be asked. What irresponsible language was put in the student loan bill by the dummycrats to keep the Republicans from backing this proposal? The dummycrats are the ones plying with the student loan program by putting ridiculous language in the bill to avoid bipartisan support. This is designed for the Republicans not to support this by the dummycrats so they can politicize the student loan program.

June 5, 2012 at 12:12 p.m.
Easy123 said...


The logic in your last paragraph at 7:04 is flawed.

And your last statement is baseless and ignorant.

June 5, 2012 at 12:48 p.m.
joneses said...


You only say this because it is not convenient to your liberal views. Of course you would say that but actually you are wrong. I have tried over the last 2 weeks to avoid name calling but you liberals seem not have any problems with it. If you disagree than that is okay but calling me or anything I post "ignorant" is exactly what I stopped doing. I rose above you.

June 5, 2012 at 3:24 p.m.
timbo said...

Rickaroo....Do you think that a cave man painted stick men on the walls or hunted to feed himself first? Of course it was to feed himself. I like art and music but I also got a degree in Chemistry so I could make a living. Too many useless degrees are being given out and these people end up being on the public dole.

He wasn't talking about oil companies in this article, he was discussing education. I know you want to change the subject but it won't work.

June 5, 2012 at 3:35 p.m.
Easy123 said...


No really, your logic is flawed. And your comments are baseless and ignorant. By the way, "ignorant" is not name calling. I'm glad you are self-righteous enough to believe that you have "risen above" anyone on here.

June 5, 2012 at 4:04 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

"Democrats have proposed to eliminate the huge OIL SUBSIDIES that the federal government gives the five largest OIL COMPANIES, which have had record profits in recent years." - editor

I don't know how you go about readng an article, or anything for that matter, sir, but the mention of oil companies seems to be right there before our very noses. Now, maybe my education didn't provide me with the critical thinking skills to interpret what seems to be obvious as something entirely other than what it is. If that is the case, you must forgive me, I'm just one of those silly misinformed liberals who lacks the capacity to see beyond my nose, I guess. Or, maybe your nose, like your ego, is so big that you cannot see the obvious.

June 5, 2012 at 4:18 p.m.
joneses said...


You have shown exactly how unintellectual and gullible you actually are by your last statement. If all you have is baseless responses and you do not believe Hussein Obama is politicizing the student loans than you are more ignorant than I could ever imagine. I tried to give one of your post last week some credibility but boy have you shown how misguided you actually are to me and others on here. You have no credidbility from anyone with any intellect. All Hussein Obama is doing is trying to appeal to voting blocks. Why does he not wnat what is best for all Americans? it is because he only cares about being reelected and could give a rats ass about America. That is how pathetic this fool you refer to as president is. Hussein Obama is a complete failure and you are to ignorant to see that. It is amazing how blind you are. Do yourself a favor and go to sleep for about 8 hours so you can be removed from your ignorance and misery.

June 5, 2012 at 9:40 p.m.
Easy123 said...


How old are you? Are you mad? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!

"The author wants you to believe the Republicans are against student loans so ask yourself this. How would it benefit the Republicans to be against student loans? It would not so that in itself is more proof the author is a liar."

This is flawed logic. Politics has nothing to do about who or what it benefits. You are implying that Republicans only do things that benefit them, that is historically untrue. Therefore, your logic is flawed.

And I didn't attack you. I was pointing out that your logic was flawed and the following statement was baseless, (no proof) and ignorant (shows faulty reasoning and disregard for facts):

"I think the question needs to be asked. What irresponsible language was put in the student loan bill by the dummycrats to keep the Republicans from backing this proposal? The dummycrats are the ones plying with the student loan program by putting ridiculous language in the bill to avoid bipartisan support. This is designed for the Republicans not to support this by the dummycrats so they can politicize the student loan program."

Your last post (that you rewrote without all the cursing) is a monument to your ignorance, stupidity, and limited vocabulary. You cannot even have a civil debate with someone over the INTERNET. You are an imbecile and I truly pity anyone that has to put up with you on a daily basis.

This last revised post is also baseless. You have no evidence of your claims. It is only your opinion. You have no facts to back it up. You just believe it to be true. And I would like to think that I have at least some credibility in that I provide facts/research/citations/etc. You have yet to provide anything other than YOUR OPINION.

June 5, 2012 at 10 p.m.
timbo said...

We have poured billions into public education and all it does is get worse. It is not about money. It is about parental care and involvement. You can't fix education until you fix the "on the government dole" culture. Liberals seem to think that throwing money at something is the only way to solve it. The problem is, it isn't your money.

My grandfather and mother had a 3rd grade education and I and my siblings all have degrees including my son and I just watched my daughter graduate and become a DVM. That is the American dream, live right, take care of your family, and work hard. If you do these three things nothing can stop you.

Education is important but it is a waste of money until social problems can be addressed and the nanny government is not the way to do it.

How much of my money do you liberals want? What do you think is "enough" for me?

June 6, 2012 at 1:06 p.m.
timbo said...

Easy123.... Give it a rest..."your statements are basless"...blah, blah, blah. Don't you get it? To some of us yours are even more baseless because you just regurgitate some liberal article or quote the New York Time all the while using others ideas to make you look "smart."

Have and original thought some time.

June 6, 2012 at 1:08 p.m.
Easy123 said...


Give it a rest. How is your opinion more valid than anyone elses? If you don't provide facts, citations, etc. then all of the things you say are baseless. It is simply your opinion. It doesn't make it true.

I use articles from everywhere (and I very rarely use the New York Times) but I guess if they disagree with your opinion then they are "liberal articles". Can you please give me an example of a newspaper, magazine, online database, etc. that you would consider credible?

It does make me look a lot more researched than you. But you obviously don't understand what the word "baseless" means or you would know that providing examples or proof for my claims cannot make any opinion baseless.

You can't even have an original thought outside of your Republican buddies on here. I could replace your posts with several other hardcore Republicans on here and they would look identical. But please, name an original thought you have posted. I can give several examples of mine.

June 6, 2012 at 1:15 p.m.
Mila78 said...

As we know today, doubling of student loan interest rates was prevented, but there are still lots of problems connected with student loans. Student loan debt still grows and higher education problems one is the most difficult today. Lots of families rely on student loans, they have not enough money to pay for the education, because it's extremely expensive. To my opinion, the education should more accessible, because 2 basic ways - saving lots of money or applying for a loan and getting into the debt aren't the best options. Of course, saving money could help to fix the problem, but lots of people have financial problems and can not afford to keep enough money from their budgets.

September 5, 2012 at 5:02 a.m.
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