Obama's Smoke-and-Mirrors Student Debt Campaign
President Obama is bringing his smoke-and-mirrors message to college campuses this week, as he hopes to again capture the youth vote in his bid to win reelection. As the President heads to the University of North Carolina, University of Iowa, and the University of Colorado, student loans, and that Congress needs to keep their interest rates low, will be his central message.
Obama focusing on what the GOP-led Congress needs to do is a Red Herring to the real issue. What college students and recent college graduates should be clamoring about is the lack of jobs available to them, a reality President Obama hopes is forgotten by these young minds.
Earlier this year, Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce released a report indicating that the unemployment rate for recent college graduates was 8.9 percent. That is a rather dismal figure indeed when you consider that this is the rate for the well-educated young twenty-somethings versus those without the additional education.
While the number of new jobs offered to recent graduates has picked up versus last year, the number of applicants has risen to 31 applicants per job posting versus 21 from a year ago, according to a report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Certainly a large portion of that increase is from the large inventory of 2011 graduates who are still looking to move from part-time, unrelated work to a position relative to their field of study.
Of course, President Obama prefers the discussion not to be on the atrocious college-graduate labor market and what great challenges graduates still have in finding a major-related job. Instead, he wants the dialog centered on how we need the lower the student loan burden by keeping interest rates low on those loans.
The fact is that student loans are far less of a burden when you have a job. You can have a student loan at 5 percent and then have that rate lowered to 3 percent, but if you don't have the income to pay the 3 percent, what good is a lower rate? Obama's smoke-and-mirror message message is meant to have these twenty-somethings miss the proverbial forest for the trees.
President Obama's strategy is soaked in liberalism--have the government reduce the burden on a class of people just enough so that they remain dependent and gracious to the government for the relief, but don't allow enough prosperity such that the people themselves can completely eliminate the overall burden.
His scheme is no different than the great welfare state where people are given enough to survive but the system is constructed so that it is less of a safety net, meant to protect, than it is a fishing net, meant to capture.
In this case, with regards to student loans, Obama is attempting to entangle and capture the youth vote for his benefit.
Obama is not in the same position as he was with the young people back in 2008, when he won 68 percent of the 18-24 age group vote. Back then, a majority of these voters were wide-eyed and giddy about putting the first black man into the Oval Office and all the hope and change he would bring to their generation. Reality has hit them though over the past four years, as many continue to hope for a good job and the only change they have are the few coins in their pockets.
What the Obama presidency has done is to create a dismal labor market for recent college graduates and those who will soon walk across the stage to receive their diploma. Now, President Obama is attempting to ride in on his white horse and extoll his great concern for these young people, not coincidentally mere months before the presidential election. Whether the young people will allow their votes to be bought with a few dollars a month in interest savings or if they will add Barack Obama to the unemployment line remains to be seen.
Chad Stafko is a writer and political consultant living in the Midwest. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org