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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 3, 2013/ 25 Tamuz, 5773

As student loan rates double, Congress fails to act

By Martin Schram




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In a bipartisan act of calculated inaction and willful indifference, the Democrats and Republicans who run Congress passively allowed a key student loan interest rate for low- and middle-income students to double.

The senators and representatives weren't around for the fallout, of course -- they'd already dashed out of town for their Fourth of July vacations. An estimated 7 million low- and middle-income students receive these so-called subsidized Stafford loans each year. They represent a quarter of all student loan recipients. Last year, the 3.4 percent interest rate on those loans was extended for one year so Congress could reach a compromise solution.

But of course, this Congress couldn't compromise itself out of a burning building -- so, on July 1, the rate soared to 6.8 percent. Now those who can least afford it must pay twice as much in interest as those who got their loans before the end of June.

Depending on how much a student borrows, the estimated cost of a four-year college education could increase by anywhere from $1,000 to the $4,500 projected by Congress' Joint Economic Committee.

This would require low- and moderate-income students to pay 6.8 percent interest rates at a time when folks with excellent jobs and excellent credit are getting mortgages for, say, 3.9 percent and buying a new car with a zero-percent interest loan. Also at a time when tuition costs are soaring and families are scrimping so their children will be able to go to college.

As the senators and representatives skedaddled out of town without acting on the loans, President Barack Obama's familiar voice of compassion was missing. We didn't hear Obama demanding loudly that Congress do the decent thing by simply extending the discounted Stafford loan interest rate until a permanent deal could be done.

Perhaps his silence was due to the political laryngitis that often plagues Washington. After all, this political war isn't your typical battle of Blues versus Reds.

Democrats are mainly battling Democrats, much to the bemusement of Republicans. Conservative Republicans are at odds with conservative Republicans, much to the merriment of Democrats. The Republican-run House passed a proposal that would tie future subsidized Stafford loans to market-based rates. A number of Republican senators are pushing a similar proposal. And -- here's what rankles a number of progressive Democrats -- Obama also offered a market-based plan in his 2014 budget. While Obama would lock in rates for the lifetime of the student loans, the GOP House plan would allow rates to climb year by year.

Now this: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a progressive clarion, has proposed a very different market-based plan. She wants to peg interest rates for subsidized Stafford student loans to the Federal Reserve's discount rate -- presently just 0.75 percent. She cites a Congressional Budget Office report saying the federal government will make $51 billion from all student loans this year, not just the subsidized ones. That's more than the annual profit of any Fortune 500 company.

This gets us to an outcome that seems both mindless and heartless. The new interest payments, forced upon already-overburdened students, would add hundreds of millions of dollars in federal revenue.

"We should not be profiting from students who are drowning in debt while we are giving great deals to big banks," Warren and Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., wrote in a recent Boston Globe op-ed column. They are right, of course.

Meanwhile, Washington's smart set is all a'Twitter about how Congress will eventually make a deal. And a born-again reduction in the Stafford interest rate will surely be made retroactive. So the neediest students need not worry, after all.

We haven't had an assurance so comforting since the summer 2011, when Congress winked as it enacted an automatic budget "sequester" provision. Just to force responsible spending cuts, of course. The Capital cognoscenti assured us back then that Congress would never -- no, never -- allow the dreaded sequestration to happen.

Today, the sequester sometimes seems to be all that is working in Washington.

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Previously:


06/05/13: Scandal chatter drowns out best and worst news

05/29/13: Obama vs. Obama

03/13/13: VA's growing backlog needs attention now

03/06/13: When a presidency and press corps collide

02/27/13: Washington unintentionally but predictably triggering a coast-to-coast tsunami, freezing job hiring

02/21/13: Cold War vestiges still afflict 2 nuclear cities

01/16/13: Turnabout sucks

01/09/13: Education must be America's new national security priority

11/29/12: Building a budgetary bridge to somewhere

11/24/12: Voters share blame for negative campaigns

10/24/12: Romney displays unusual strategy for winning

10/17/12: Russia drops a bombshell on U.S. nuclear safeguard plan and few notice

10/11/12: A new debate game plan for a new comeback

07/25/12: Washington news, sanitized for officials' comfort

07/18/12: By withholding, Mitt Romney taxes campaign

06/20/12: Cruel consequences spring from an old leak

06/13/12: Gaffes, not facts, dominate presidential race

06/06/12: Command decisions mark new era of video-game warfare

04/25/12: Safeguarding us all in the nuclear age

04/18/12: The battle for the honor of enraging us more

03/28/12: Eavesdropping on diplomacy and politics

02/22/12: Drawing Romney's big picture

01/25/12: Candidates proving that time-tested Marxist theory

01/12/12: Even with primaries still to go, history's longest year starts now

01/05/12: Iowa caucuses reveal news media lapses

12/14/11: How Gingrich stole Mitt's Christmas

11/16/11: Supercommittee's super-sized surrender

11/16/11: Romney talks Texas-tough on Iran

11/03/11: The Silent Majority speaks at last

10/20/11: Outsourcing our democracy; hijacking our holidays

10/13/11: Decline and fall of presidential press conferences

09/28/11: Washington's Monument to broken government

08/17/11: Tax credits for job creation

07/06/11: Obama's on-the-job retraining from Clinton

06/29/11: Obama, Nixon suddenly joined in posterity



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