Finally, the Demoscrats are getting it right. If all goes well, they'll pass health care post haste (finally) AND pass student loan reform which will be attached to the health care reconciliation bill. Let the Republicans fulminate and bloviate all they want. The Dems are finally getting it that it's best just to ignore them and get on with it. Let Mitch McConnell whine that the government wants to "take over the student loan business." Another government takeover, no less! Of course, what dear old Mitch fails to point out is that the government ran the student loan business just fine until there was a Republican engineered corporate takeover of the student loan business which has resulted in many students winding up over their heads in a lifetime of debt, not to mention a few suicides. This only happened after the CORPORATE TAKEOVER, and the immense amount of profits corporations like the privatzed Sallie Mae have taken out of students' hides. Maybe the government has a better idea like using the profits for an increased number of Pell grants?!
Good old Mitch went on to say it was symptomatic of Democrats' determination to have "the government expand its tentacles into absolutely everything." That's as opposed to Republican determination to have corporations expand their tentacles into absolutely everything. Please remember that before Republican determination to privatize everything, university education was practically free, students didn't look forward to a lifetime of debt and being hounded by creditors, people with medical insurance didn't go bankrupt paying for medical care and people weren't dropped for pre-existing conditions or getting sick. Remember when Blue Cross and Sallie Mae were not private corporations? I think things were better then actually.
We blogged about this in 2006. See "Sallie Mae Pauperizes Students":
Sallie Mae used to be a quasi-governmental agency but was privatized in 1997. Since then it's stock has risen 2000%. It's presided over by Chairman Al Lord who has been generously compensated for his work while students are being squeezed to the gills to repay loans. According to he is now a legitimate contender to buy the Washington Nationals baseball team and plans to build his own private golf course. Al is the one that persuaded the Federal government to sever its ties with Sallie Mae so that Sallie Mae could become a private company. Not that Al has severed his ties with Congressman John Boehner whom he has lobbied successfully for laws that are even more Draconian as far as the students are concerned and lucrative as far as Al Lord and Sallie Mae are concerned. Since 1999 Al has racked up over $200 million in stock options. Fortune magazine has named Sallie Mae America's second most profitable Fortune 400 company.Free Market News
Al has been using the Sallie Mae corporate jet (yes, they have one) to ferry Congressman Boehner around on golfing vacations. Coincidentally, Boehner has recently passed on legislation before his Committee that would make it difficult and in some cases illegal for parents and students to shop around for and to consolidate student loans.
Oh, the notorious and ubiquitous Congressman Boner, or is it Bonerhead? He seems to have his - er, uh - tentacles in everything! I guess he was rewarded for sticking it to students with his minority leadership position in the House.
WASHINGTON — Under White House pressure to act swiftly, House and Senate Democratic leaders reached for agreement Friday on President Barack Obama's health care bill, sweetened suddenly by fresh billions for student aid and a sense that breakthroughs are at hand.
"It won't be long," before lawmakers vote, predicted Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She said neither liberals' disappointment over the lack of a government health care option nor a traditional mistrust of the Senate would prevent passage in the House.
At the White House, officials worked to maximize Obama's influence over lawmakers who control the fate of legislation that has spawned a yearlong struggle. They said he would delay his departure on an Asian trip for three days – until March 21 – and he will go to Ohio next week for a campaign-style pitch for his health care proposals.
The delay gives congressional leaders much-needed breathing room to finish the legislation and nail down support from wavering lawmakers.
"I'm delighted that the president will be here for the passage of the bill; it's going to be historic," said Pelosi, D-Calif. – though there's no guarantee the House can act by then. A procedural vote in the House Budget Committee is set for Monday afternoon, but as of late Friday lawmakers still hadn't gotten the final analysis from the Congressional Budget Office that they need to go forward.
With Democrats deciding to incorporate changes in student aid into the bill, Republicans suddenly had a new reason to oppose legislation they have long sought to scuttle.
"Well of course it's a very bad idea," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "We now have the government running banks, insurance companies, car companies, and they do want to take over the student loan business."
He said it was symptomatic of Democrats' determination to have "the government expand its tentacles into absolutely everything."
At its core, the health care bill is designed to provide health care to tens of millions who lack it and ban insurance companies from denying medical coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions. Obama also wants the measure to begin to slow the rate of growth in medical costs nationwide. Most people would have to get insurance by law, and poor and middle-income Americans – including families of four earning up to $88,000 – would receive subsidies.