On Your World yesterday, Stuart Varney repeatedly attacked the Student Loan Forgiveness Act as a "bailout." He couldn't really come up with any other reasons to call it a bad idea, but threw around “bailout” as if that, alone, should scare any viewers away from even thinking about whether or not the Act might have some real merit. Unfortunately for Varney, Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-MI) slapped aside every argument, starting with the point that taxpayers are already on the hook for defaults.
Hansen said, "Right now, the taxpayers – as you and Dave Ramsey have so rightfully noted a month ago on your show - are on the hook for a lot of this money right now, so I put together a bill that has a mandatory repayment plan so that all current borrowers who make payments according to their income, 10% of their discretionary income for 10 years will likely have those loans paid down, if not paid off altogether."
"But if they're not paid off altogether, the taxpayer is on the hook automatically after those 10 years right?" Varney said.
"We're on the hook right now," Hansen argued.
Varney continued, "The taxpayer will pay under your system, a student loan... you pay 10% of disposable income for 10 years. You do that, you've met the terms of your bill. At that point... the taxpayer pays up. That's a bailout."
Hansen reiterated that taxpayers are on the hook now. He added, "Parents have borrowed a lot of money too, to send their kids to school. I provide them with a manageable way to pay off their debt."
So Varney switched talking points. "You're not fixing the problem, you're not." Not that he offered any solution.
Hansen said, "We need jobs, and we have to increase the purchasing power of our borrowers." He went on to say that the borrowers don't have money to buy homes, start businesses, etc.
Rather than offer his own answer, Varney attacked again. "It's not a solution to the underlying problem, is it?"
Hansen said, "There's two problems. Tuition rates are going up, but also, too, we've been bought into this myth that if you go to school and graduate you'll get a good paying job." He said he thinks it's imperative that we free them from the burden of debt so they can create jobs.
Again, rather than debate Hansen's point, he attacked again. "You could be accused of buying votes with taxpayer money, couldn't you?"
Hansen didn't fall into the trap of arguing that point and going on the defensive. Instead, he threw out his own zingers: "The money that we're using, we're already spending in Iraq and Afghanistan... We're paying for it right now with the lack of jobs, with people who are in debt for decades, almost the rest of their lives. That's unimaginable. That's unspeakable. The government shouldn't have that kind of power to destroy people's lives like this. These loans were supposed to provide an opportunity for people but also for our country. The more well-trained we are as a workforce, the more likely we are to attract jobs around the world to the U.S. and compete against China and India.
Hansen did a great job holding his own. While Varney seemed far more interested in attacking him and his bill than in exploring any real solutions for students in need of loans to go to college.
bail â¢ out
(bayl – owt)
n. Pejorative: Any government program designed to benefit the middle class (not to be used in reference to tax breaks for the wealthiest 1%)
Source: Wingnut-to-English Dictionary