In the news today, it was reported that President Obama once again used his executive authority to implement a legislative change — this time, to ease the debt burden on student loans.
According to reports, the executive order moves up the effective date of a previoulsy enacted law which reduced maximum required repayments from 15 to 10 percent of annual discretionary income. Under Obama's order, the law will take effect in 2012 instead of 2014. Obama's executive action will also allow student-borrowers to consolidate their loans into a single government debt, carrying an interest rate that is half a percent lower than at present.
Obama's move is such patent financial demagoguery it is hard not to laugh. Obama is obviously feeling the heat of his own betrayal of the 99 percent. His answer? Shave off half a percent!
This is the third time within the week that Obama has announced an executive action which bypasses the congressional dead end. Earlier in the week he announced a housing re-fi plan and a job-training program for veterans. Needless to say, the Republicans are huffing indignantly about constitutionalism and the End of the Republic!
In all honesty, it would be unfair to accuse Obama of “currying favor” with the demos like kings scattering coin to the jubilant throng or would-be emperors promising donatives to the Praetorian Guard in quid pro quo of electoral support. It would be unfair because such transparent skullduggery is exactly what American democracy is all about. Getting some change to the Code of Federal Regulations is what a thousand-bucks-a-plate is for.
What is scandalous is how cheaply Obama seeks to buy student support. Big Bank, Big Pharma, Big Inc., big anything get small, teensy changes in the law through which billions in profits are siphoned. Rope through the eye of a needle? No problem. But when it comes to buying the support of ordinary people, the small change produces small change.
According to the WSJ, Julie Margetta Morgan, a policy analyst at the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, called the Obama plan a step in the right direction, but said that without Congress on board, the White House can't advance “the kind of really big changes we want to see.”
The really big change would be for Obama and Congress both to stop thinking in terms of leveraging the profit generator to gear-in some small social or economic change. What students need is European style merit-based university education that taxes only the brain.