Thursday, February 16, 2006

I thought Bush recently stressed that we need more scientists -- how does this help?
....Anyone wanting proof that Boehner is no reformer need only look at the changes to federal student-loan programs that he just helped push through Congress as part of this year’s budget reconciliation bill. The alterations reduce government subsidies for student loans by $13 billion over the next five years.

....The Republican leadership, with Boehner serving as point man for the issue, studiously avoided alternative proposals for student-loan reforms that nonpartisan experts, such as the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the CBO, as well as many Republican House members, reported could have achieved similar tax savings without costing students and their families. Doing so, however, would have required a larger government role in administering student loans — something that is anathema to pro-business ideologues like Boehner. The alternatives also would have cut into the profits of the private lenders who make student loans and who have been very generous donors to Republicans, especially Boehner, in the last several years. Boehner says he cares about his constituents’ dreams, but the Republican changes to the student-loan program clearly make it tougher for students to realize theirs. And Boehner talks about respecting constituents’ values, but the groups whose values he served best in this case were those of his political donors, the companies that make money offering student loans.

....The end result, says Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, is that lower- and middle-class families will pay more to give their kids the education now needed to have a chance at a decent job, “while the playing field is tilted in the favor of lenders,” who happen to be big contributors to Boehner and his party. Concludes Nassirian, a longtime observer of educational politics in Washington, “Boehner will be a worthy successor to Mr. DeLay.”

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