What others say: Students need better example for fiscal responsibility

  • Monday, June 23, 2014 3:22pm
  • Opinion

It’s general knowledge that standards for policymaking in Congress have sunk to abysmal lows.

The executive branch of government isn’t doing much to set a better example.

The most recent case in point was President Barack Obama’s plan for helping college students struggling to repay their debt.

Obama used his presumed executive authority to expand an existing program that eases the repayment burden for college student loans.

That’s not such a shocking idea — the program Obama expanded was signed into law by President George W. Bush. And students definitely could use some help in repaying loans in an economy that has yet to raise wage levels.

What is disconcerting is the sloppy way the administration implemented the change. “We don’t actually know the costs yet,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “We’ll figure that out on the back end.”

Is that any way to run the government?

The amount of outstanding student loans soared past the trillion-dollar mark several years ago, an amount greater than either credit card debt or auto loan debt.

In Nebraska, the average student owes $26,473 at graduation, according to the Project on Student Debt.

The default rate for college loans is higher than for credit cards or other types of debt, despite the fact that not even declaring bankruptcy will erase a student loan. Currently, almost 15 percent of college students default on their loans within three years of entering repayment.

The Pay as You Earn program expanded by Obama could help an additional 5 million students by requiring them to pay no more than 10 percent of their monthly income to student loans. After 20 years, the remainder of the loan would be forgiven.

The program could help a student with $55,000 in debt reduce the payment from $541 a month under a traditional 10-year schedule to $146, assuming an income of $35,000 a year, under the Pay as You Earn plan, according to “The Student Loan Ranger” blog.

It’s no secret that salary levels in some fields are so low that it would take half a lifetime or more to repay a college loan.

Good advice for any college student taking out a loan is thinking ahead to how they can repay it.

That’s the adult, responsible way to make these decisions.

Now we just need to get federal officials to take that advice, as the national debt climbs past $17.5 trillion.

— Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal Star,

June 15

More in Opinion

Anselm Staack (Courtesy Photo)
Opinion: Dunleavy’s fiscally irresponsible and deceptive plan

Constitutions are about broad policy objectives and legal boundaries — not about the day-to-day.

New direction for the Tongass will help grow businesses, a sustainable economy

Now is the time to chart a new course for Southeast’s future.

Alaska Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink promotes getting immunized with the flu shot this winter. (Photo courtesy Alaska Department of Health and Social Services)
Immunize when you winterize

An annual flu shot plus the COVID-19 vaccine protects Alaskans and our health care system, too.

(Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Dunleavy’s first act as governor was unconstitutional

That’s according to a ruling by Senior U.S. District Judge John Sedwick.

This Aug. 3, 2021, photo shows Juneau International Airport.  The Federal Aviation Administration shared recommendations on Thursday for improving aviation safety in the state. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: How the FAA will improve the margin of aviation safety in Alaska

Alaska depends on aviation more than any other state…

Central Peninsula Hospital is seen in Soldotna on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: Perspective of an educator in a ‘high-risk’ group, part 2

During some of the darkest days of my time in ICU, it was obvious where we all live is a special place.

Lawmakers havereturned to the Alaska State Capitol for a fourth special session. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Revenues should be determined before more PFD spending

The governor believes the dividend drives the entire calculation. Sadly, he has it backwards

Ronnie Leach. (Photo provided)
Point of View: For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, #weareresilient

At the onset of COVID-19, we expanded our services in a way to ensure COVID-19 consciousness.

Rep. Don Young talks during a June 2021 interview with the Empire. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion:Where’s Don Young when America needs him?

Once upon a time, avoiding political controversy was completely out of character for Young.

Peter Zuyus
Voices of the Peninsula: Seniors appreciate vaccination efforts

To those who have worked to encourage vaccination we say: Be proud, you are, in fact, saving lives.

Jackson Blackwell (courtesy photo)
Voices of the Peninsula: Carbon dividends are the bipartisan climate solution

By levying a gradually increasing price on carbon, U.S. emissions will be slashed by 50% in 15 years.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Dunleavy: Facts Matter

Political opportunists care more about spreading political untruths than accepting the facts.