My parents were willing, and able, to pay for me to go to college, even though I spent four years doing what would certainly appear from the outside (and often from the inside) to be drinking and goofing off.
I’ll ruminate on what I learned in college, and how differently I would approach it now, some other time. Right now, I’m here to note that the interest rate of student loans has been raised _35%_.
I don’t know how much the government spends on student loans, it’s true. I would be surprised if it’s more than a billion dollars a year (remember, all domestic programs except Social Security and Medicare are *dwarfed* by military spending in this country), and I can’t think of a better investment than making it easier for people to make the choice to go to college.
Yet, when the time comes to try to rein in the budget deficits created by tax cuts that go overwhelmingly to the very rich (like the 72 billion dollars that the super-wealthy stand to reap by elimination of the estate tax, which is “paid by only .3% of all estates”:http://www.citizen.org/documents/EstateTaxFinal.pdf, or a projected 6300 estates out of 2.3 million in 2006), the Republican government decides that people who are not wealthy trying to get an education are the ones should have their lives made harder.
Many years ago (though the paper I reference is dated 2004, I seem to remember reading a draft of it quite some time earlier), “Phil Agre”:http://polaris.gseis.ucla.edu/pagre/ suggested that to understand the agenda of the Republican party, “one needed to think about what conservatism was”:http://polaris.gseis.ucla.edu/pagre/conservatism.html–and he suggested that “the true goal of conservatism is to establish an aristocracy, which is a social and psychological condition of inequality”.
Making it harder for people without wealth to send their kids to college will certainly help fullfill that goal, and it’s shameful that it’s happening in this country.