Give debt relief, get votes

By Brianna Wellen

Those like me, with insurmountable amounts of debt and a lowermiddle class lifestyle on the horizon, have reason to celebrate.

Thanks to President Barack Obama’s new programs, college graduates will now have monthly loan payments of 10 percent of their income rather than 15 percent, and loans will be forgiven after 20 years instead of 25. Not only that, but students who have taken out a mixture of direct federal loans and loans under the Family Federal Loan Program will have the debt consolidated at a lower interest rate. Right now, the estimation is that the new programs combined will positively affect more than 6 million borrowers.

With numbers that high, I’m sure I wasn’t the only college student who felt some relief at this news. Sure, student debt is still astronomical, but any help we can get while starting out our postgrad lives is much appreciated. This is a positive step for higher education, and it seems no one—except recent grads who aren’t able to get in on this deal—could possibly criticize the changes.

But, as is often the case in politics, nothing is ever that simple. Many Republicans in Congress have opposed the changes because, as Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) put it, the plan was crafted behind closed doors. Skeptics are now claiming the entire plan was a way for the president to “buy” the youth vote in the upcoming presidential election.

Obama isn’t “buying” votes. He made a promise, as the leader of our country, to alleviate the financial burden of postgraduate debt that will help not only college students’ debt load for years to come, but also end up stimulating our economy, helping the nation as a whole. Yes, the direct benefactors of this change are the “youth vote,” and I’ll admit that actions such as these may affect how many college students vote in the upcoming election. It’s certainly given me one more reason to vote Obama rather than anyone else.

Instead of griping about Obama’s attempts to win over young people, those in Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, should be looking forward to the next steps to alleviate debt across the country. They should also realize that when actions help the people of the U.S.—the same people who the president is meant to lead and serve—they will in turn support those putting the actions into motion. It’s not a system of “buying” votes. It’s basic politics.

So thank you, Obama, for helping students out. Hopefully the naysayers will see the positive outcome of these changes and put more actions like these into motion.