The Politics of Student Debt

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Over at WRAL-TV (North Carolina), Kimberly Hefling wonders if with his new plan to relieve the debt burden of student loans President Obama is just “aim[ing] at key voting bloc.” Hefling writes:

Seeking to shore up support among cash-strapped college graduates and students struggling with rising tuition costs, President Barack Obama is outlining a plan to allow millions of student loan recipients to lower their payments and consolidate their loans.

Outside of mortgages, student loans are the No. 1 source of household debt. Young voters were an important bloc in Obama’s 2008 campaign, and student loan debt is a common concern among Occupy Wall Street protesters.

That’s an interesting point but how does Hefling know the Obama administration is pursuing this in order to appeal to young voters in the next election? The group probably would have voted for him anyway.

Is Obama’s student loan plan an effort to court college voters? Sure, maybe. But whatever, who cares? It’s a good plan. As Lucy Madison at CBS News writes:

The Obama administration has said that 1.6 million Americans will benefit from the lower monthly payments, and upwards of 6 million can take advantage of the loan consolidations, which will lower interest rates by up to 0.5 percent. Most of those affected will be current students or recent borrowers whose income is sufficiently low upon entering the workforce that monthly payments are a significant financial burden.

“It hurts to be this cynical, says Tina Korbe at Hot Air, “but the timing and sudden urgency of so many of the president’s recent proposals raises the possibility that the president is politicizing again and again.”

Sure he is; he’s a politician. But saying Obama’s student loan plan is a cynical ploy is like saying Lyndon Johnson Great Society program was an effort to secure the votes of America’s poor.

Maybe, but it doesn’t really matter. If the policy is good for the constituents, it makes a lot of sense for them to vote for the agent of that policy. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer