The Student Loan Side Show

Updated at 2:30 pm EDT

Since he has no serious ideas – big or small – to get our economy moving (aside from massive tax hikes and total government control), President Obama is touring the country to campaign for his latest policy gimmick. He has a habit of saying things that sound good in a speech but offer no real help to those suffering under his policies of the past 3 years.

His latest “must pass” idea is to stop the interest rate on student loans from doubling. On July 1, the interest rate on Stafford loans will double from 3.4% to 6.8%. It sounds terrible and makes for a great anecdote in a campaign speech about helping students to more easily afford a college education. To counter this increase, President Obama is calling on Congress to pass an extension of a 2007 law that cut the student loan interest rate, keeping loans artificially low and allowing colleges to increase tuition costs since it was “cheaper” for students to get loans to attend.

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Two Americas

Heritage Action’s communications director Dan Holler has a new column this week discussing the difference between the solutions-based, private sector and the wasteful, dependency of the public sector:

“For the government – and elements of the private sector that depend on government – the boom times continue. The federal bureaucracy has not come to terms with our $15.5 trillion debt and the impact it has on our economy, our quality of life and our national security.

“By all accounts, market conditions should be forcing the government to scale back, operate more efficiently and prioritize. Yet, every time a modest reform is even suggested, the defenders of Big Government go on the offense, throwing out one false attack after another: war on government workers, pushing grandma off a cliff, etc. We’ve heard it all before, and for those in the private sector, it sounds like political opportunism and just cause for termination.”

You can read the full article here.

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Driving the Week: Budget, IPAB, ExIm and JOBS

Who said nothing gets done in an election year? Maybe as we get closer to November less will happen, but for now Congress is plugging along (for better or worse) through their agenda. This week:

  • House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) will unveil his FY2013 budget – a conservative alternative to President Obama’s bloated budget and an existing alternative to Senate Democrats’ non-existent budget fantasy;
  • The House of Representatives will vote to repeal the IPAB, the panel of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats charged with controlling costs in Medicare;
  • The Senate (and maybe the House as well) will vote on extending and expanding the Export-Import (ExIm) bank which provides corporate welfare at the expense of domestic companies and,
  • The Senate will vote on the House-Passed JOBS Act, which was endorsed by both House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and President Obama.
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Gallup Poll: Health Costs and Regulations Stifling Hiring

In a new Gallup poll, 85% of small businesses surveyed aren’t hiring, and don’t plan to anytime soon. Seventy-six percent said they just didn’t need any more employees, and 71% were worried that weak sales wouldn’t allow them to hire any additional employees.

This high percentage of small business owners who have cited weak sales as a driving factor limiting hiring has persisted throughout President Obama’s term and the recession. Guess what is keeping customers from buying? Lack of jobs. It seems like a catch-22, but President Obama and the left’s response of taking money from these businesses and giving it to customers so that they can then spend back at those businesses has failed. That’s because simply giving people that money in this economy causes them to save it, rather than spend it.

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Monthly Jobs Numbers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 243,000 jobs were created in the month of January, and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.3%. The bulk of the jobs were in restaurants and hospitality, manufacturing, and mining. Even construction picked up.

This is great news for those more than 19 million people who are unemployed and/or looking for work. Hopefully job creation will continue, but President Obama trying to take credit for this is like him continuing to blame former-President Bush for the ongoing problems in the country – it’s just not accurate.

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