Keep Student Loan Interest Rates Low--In Exchange for Extending the Bush Tax Cuts? Say What?
Mike Huckabee has a modest proposal for how to keep student loan rates low, as President Obama is pushing to do. The former Arkansas governor and Fox News personality thinks, correctly, that doubling interest rates "would be the essence of a tax increase" and is urging Republicans to "Get out in front of the issue. Congratulate the president for bringing it up."
That's big of him. I mean, it's not many professional Republicans who would say anything as generous as "congratulate the president," or take the side of struggling college students.
Only, Huckabee did have one wee trade in mind:
Now, this is the same reason we want to keep taxes low, Mr. President. Why don't you meet us on that one? We will give you this and you give us a guarantee that we will extend the Bush tax cuts. We can call them the Obama tax cuts and make you our hero.
On the one hand, we have the Bush tax cuts, which added $2.6 trillion to the debt between 2001 and 2010 and went disproportionately to the wealthy, with the top 1 percent getting 38 percent of the benefit. On the other hand, we have $6 billion a year in student loan interest divided among nearly 8 million students each year. How's that for a fair trade?
Huckabee isn't even quite putting a velvet glove over the iron hand of class warfare here. Saying "give the top 0.1 percent an annual tax break of $520,000 and we'll let college kids pay 3.4 percent instead of 6.8 percent on their loans" is more like a velour glove worn completely through in patches, but compared to the iron hand wielding a branding iron that characterizes the leaders of his party, I guess this helps him pass for a "compassionate conservative."