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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 15, 2013/ 8 Menachem-Av, 5773

A Student Loan Faceoff

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ever get the feeling that Washington sees every issue as a hockey puck in a rink with no nets? There's just a constant back-and-forth between two teams with big elbows and pointed fingers — but no real resolution.

That's how a battle over federal student loans played out in Congress last week — lots of news conferences but no legislation.

The two parties faced off after Congress failed to act before a July 1 deadline. Rates for subsidized Stafford loans doubled, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

"Most people would see that rate, especially for borrowing with no collateral, and think that's awfully, awfully good," critic Neal McCluskey of the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute observed.

But in a town in fierce competition to win the student-parent vote, neither party wanted to be seen as doubling the price of student borrowing, even if the program is unsustainable. The Congressional Budget Office expects student loans to cost taxpayers $95 billion over the next decade.

Those loans, many voters have come to realize, do not make college affordable as politicians suggested they would. To the contrary, McCluskey argues, federal aid has fueled tuition hikes and encouraged students to borrow more than they will be able to pay back.

Last year, when the subsidized Stafford rate was scheduled to rise, President Barack Obama launched a "#DontDoubleMyRate" Twitter campaign. Young voters swooned. In the heat of the 2012 election season, Congress voted to delay the slated rate increase for a year.

Call it spendthrift gridlock. When both parties cannot agree on anything, they can always agree to dump all reform and keep on spending.

This year, there was every reason to expect a repeat. Then, to his credit and Washington's surprise, President Obama proposed tying federal student loans to the 10-year Treasury yield. With interest rates expected to rise, it was a smart and bold move.



"When he did that," McCluskey told me, "it really signaled to Republicans you can do something that is more responsible, and you have political cover for it."

House Republicans passed a measure The New York Times described as "similar enough to the White House proposal to give Republicans solid political cover against Democratic attacks."

Alas, neither the White House nor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wanted to give House Republicans a win. The president and Reid vigorously opposed the House measure.

For their part, House Repubs seemed all too pleased with an opportunity to needle Obama for failing to lead and the Senate for not passing their measure and allowing subsidized Stafford rates to double. (The House bill would limit this year's increase to below 5 percent and cap rates at 8.5 percent if interest rates rise.) House Speaker John Boehner gamely proclaimed, "The White House and Senate Democrats have let these students down."

On Wednesday, Reid tried to ram through a bill to prevent the rate increase for yet another year. Even as he hectored Boehner for blocking the passage of bipartisan measures on such issues as immigration, Reid would not allow a Senate floor vote on a bipartisan measure by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Angus King, an independent from Maine who caucuses with Democrats, and Richard Burr, R-N.C. It took guts for these three senators to oppose Reid and Washington's usual game of pandering and deficit spending — and never fixing a problem.

After Manchin and King joined a GOP filibuster Wednesday, Reid's pet bill failed.

The rate for new loans is 6.8 percent. That's not a bad thing, but there was a better way to solve the problem. Obama suggested it himself. Tie interest rates to the market; let the increase be more gradual. Because House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House cared more about blaming the other guys for doubling loans, it didn't happen.

To Washington's elected class, taxpayers and students are just two hockey pucks in an endless, netless game of gotcha.

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© 2013, Creators Syndicate

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