Monday, September 10, 2007

Why Elections Matter

Friday gave us yet another example of how elections have consequences. After years of subsidies to private lenders at the expense of students, the Democratic Congress passed legislation that will help make a college education more affordable. Of course Indiana's three worst congressmen (Dan Burton, Mike Pence, Mark Souder) voted against the legislation which passed by overwhelming numbers. So let's take a look at what these three voted against.
  1. Increase in Pell Grants from $4310 to $5400 per year
  2. Cut interest rates from in half on Stafford Loans from 6.8% to 3.4%
  3. Loan forgiveness for those who work 10 years in a public service job
  4. Provides scholarships for students that commit to teaching science and math in the schools that need the most help

I could go on and on. And let us not forget that this legislation will be payed for not by an increase in taxes but by removing $20 Billion in subsidies going to private lenders. Money these lenders have used to bribe university officials to help their bottom line while simultaneously eroding middle class income.

It is absolutely shameful that congressmen from Indiana of all places would vote against legislation that will send more people to college. A state where median income and job growth has become some of the worst in the country. Our government has systematically dismantled the economy of this state by promoting trade policies that have undermined the American worker time and again. The "free trade" talking point has always been that we need to embrace the new economy and that workers need to become more educated.

Yet when presented a bill that would do exactly that - help more Hoosiers afford college - these three once again show that they would rather protect their business buddies than help the citizens of this state. Shameful...


Bartleby said...

From the linked NYT story:

" ... offering forgiveness on student loans to graduates who work for 10 years or more in public service professions like teaching, firefighting and the police ... "

Hmmmmm ... government employees all, it seems (depending on what "like" means). So, we all get to pay for a sweet fringe benefit for our public servants ... errrrr, I mean, "masters."

Time for a little unpopular minority opinion: while I enjoy making fun of Souder & Comapny as anyone, I'd still have voted against that legislation, too, in the proverbial New York minute. My question would be, where is the text in the U.S. Constitution specifically authorizing this exercise of central-government power? In the absence of such, just vote "no."

Of course, that criterion requires "no" votes on practically everything -- certainly including the Fed-rul budget as a whole. But that would be a fine thing, too, as far as I'm concerned.

Jeff Pruitt said...


I can see your point but I doubt you would've voted to provide $20 Billion in subsidies to private lenders like these 3 originally did. Theirs is not the same vote of principal as the one you're describing...

Bartleby said...

You are correct -- twice. I've been accused, reasonably enough, of being a little quixotic in my thinking ... but I'd never, ever, ever credit Souder, Pence, or Burton with having done anything out of principle. I'll buy the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, but even I won't believe just anything.