Conservatives in congress are geared up to serve American college students a lifetime of crushing debt to go along with the blinding doses pepper spray.
In a dangerous and cynical move that targets young Americans enrolled in higher education, the Senate Republicans derailed a popular Democratic bill this week using obstructionist, procedural tactics.
The Democratic bill, supported by President Obama, would have kept interest rates on federal subsidized Stafford loans from doubling on July 1st. The measure had more than enough support to pass in a fair, up or down vote, so the Republican minority used a parliamentary stalling tactic to prevent the bill from ever reaching the floor.
Today, students pay a 3.4% interest rate on federal subsidized Stafford loans. Unless this bill is passed before July, that rate will go up to 6.8%. The Senate Democratic caucus voted unanimously in favor of keeping student loan rates low, but it wasn't enough to pass the 60 vote threshhold to get anything done in the post-Tea Party America.
Many in Washington saw this move as a cruel revenge-play against youthful voters who supported President Obama in droves in 2008. Republican lawmakers wary of Mitt Romney's electoral chances hope to disenchant the younger demographic and keep them away from the polls this time around.
Loath to acknowledge such a petty motive, Senate Republicans publicly argued that the bill is fiscally irresponsible because its funding mechanism includes a tax on high-income stockholders. They would prefer to see the student loans subsidized with money taken from poor and middle class Americans.
The fact that they think this is a more reasonable justification for bilking college kids is telling in and of itself.