Obamacare, Student Loans, and the Future of the Republican Party

If you went to college, you probably have student loans.  This year nearly 2/3 of all college graduates will graduate with debt.  It has become a common reality for many young people to take out student loans to fund their education.  But, while student loans are allowing more people to attend college, the federal government is also using them as a way to pay for Obamacare.

Here is how it works: In 2010, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  The bill included a provision which eliminated the private student loan market completely.  While the bill saved lots of money in administering student loans, it did so at a price to student loan borrowers.  As part of this package, Congress voted to increase the student loan interest rate to 6.8%.  Well, actually Democrats chose to increase the rate, since Obamacare was passed without bipartisan support.  The bill siphoned off almost $9 billion dollars to fund for Obamacare.

This rate increase continued to be law until 2012.  Because it was an election year and because Democrats were afraid of losing seats in Congress, they vote along with Republicans to lower the rate to 3.4%. The interest rate has held steady at 3.4% despite deep division in Congress over Obamacare.  The rate is set to increase to 6.8% right before the 2014 election.  So odds are the rate will stay at this lower rate until Republicans gain control of Congress.

Back in 2012, when the Democrat’s plan to siphon student loans to pay for Obamacare was exposed by Sen. Lamar Alexander-TN, many in Congress, including Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, justified maintaining high interest rates because “Obamacare would be great for young people”.  I mean what young person wouldn’t love to stay on their parent’s health plan until they are 26?  Who wouldn’t love to have free health care?  The problem with this whole idea is that young people needed much more than Obamacare to save them from the reality of the “Obama Economy”.

Our generation has experienced a similar struggle to our grandparents went through in the Great Depression.  As of July 2013, over 16% of our generation was unemployed.  Almost 22 million of us are still living with our parents.  Add to that the fact that we are graduating from college with almost $26,000 on average in student loan debt.  These figures are depressing.  To make matters worse, President Obama is expecting our generation to foot the bill for Obamacare.

In 2008, and again in 2012, my generation overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama because he promised “Hope and Change”.  I will be the first to admit, we were duped.  Now here we are in 2013.  The economy is just as horrible as it was in 2008.  We are graduating from college with huge debt and no employment prospects.  So, what does this mean for the future?

I see the next two years as a great opportunity for Republicans to attract young voters.  The party is starting to recruit candidates that relate well to young people.  Guys like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz make young people feel proud to be a Republican.  They also understand the importance of the youth vote.—>

In the end, I believe young people will become disillusioned with Democrats just like they did with Republicans in 2008.  One party being in power naturally leads to disillusionment and a desire for change.  It happened after the Franklin Roosevelt created a vast welfare system.  It happened after President George W. Bush got us into two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Eventually, there comes a point when citizens get fed up with the way the majority party is leading the country.

If Republicans really want to control the White House and Congress in 2016, they can and must advocate policies that actually make young people’s lives better.  Instead of defunding Obamacare, they should allow us to experience the pain and cost of Obamacare.  Instead of allowing government funds to be siphoned off for Obamacare, they should advocate for the privatization of the student loan industry and push for reforms that will make it easier to pay off student loan debt.  Yes, if Republicans truly want to win they must allow us to experience just how horrible life can be when government is running every aspect of it.

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