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Not to disagree too strongly, but I think student loans are a great program, which help students get an education and also be personally responsible for it.

yeah, there's a yes and no, I feel.

You are right about the potential "goof off" factor, if you make everyone eligible for grants. But the way around it is, you only give grants for so many semesters. Someone screws up too many times, then they run out of grant money.

No one ever points out, that the loan programs merely allowed the schools to tack the same amount onto tuition. The government said, "hey, here's $2000 to borrow for school!". And within a few years, colleges had figured out a way to charge $2,000 more.

So I wonder if it really opens doors like people say.

(Except the doors of the college president's Lexus or the Jag of some big shot at Sallie Mae.)

You are also right, that there should be some service-factor built into amortizing the loan. Say, if you want a certain amount of loan forgiveness, then join a certain community program on the weekend, or be a lawyer for the poor.

The problem, however, is that the unions and the law firms scream bloody murder about proposals like that.

If people pay "as a percentage of income", what's the difference between that and the ordinary taxes they pay.

I've already paid to the federal government enough money to eliminate the student loan. (I live in the county with the highest median wage in the United States - Somerset County, New Jersey.) Why do I have to borrow my (and my family's) tax money back at interest, when other parts of the country get a lot of federal programs for free? (See my posts from 2000-2001 about this.)

This is why I believe the Democrats best strategy this summer would have been to say, "let's scrap the program or turn it into grants."

Or: sure, let's have the program, but you write the entire payment off on your federal taxes.

They basically made a big fight about fixed-or-variable consolidation loans. And the Republicans did an end-run around them by offering the consolidator the alternative of FIXED or VARIABLE (where you pay a premium for the fixed rate.)

The real issue is why even have them? They're just a flood of cash to college budgets, with the student as a hose.

(Student gets hosed maybe is more like it . . .)
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