...as in the imperative (i.e. you, youth, progress). This blog is updated by politically active young people. Issues that will be discussed are those which concern young voters and are of concern to young voters.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Raid on Student Aid

While economic disparity increases and the cost of university education increases (40% since 2001 according to the Campaign for America's Future), the Republican-lead congress voted in February to cut 12.7-billion dollars from federal student aid. In addition, interest rates on college loans were raised by 2%, the largest single-year increase in history. The Campaign for America's Future (CAF) has thus estimated that 400,000 students who would have attended 4-year colleges 5 years ago will now be forced to enroll in community colleges this fall, and 200,000 individuals will now not be able to attend any college.

The cut was passed in this year's Fiscal Year Budget in an effort to curb the rising national budget deficit. According to Rep. George Miller (via My Left Wing)
"Republican leaders say these cuts are necessary to reduce the nation's budget deficit. But they also plan to push soon for a bill that gives tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, many with annual incomes exceeding $1 million. That bill wipes out any 'deficit reduction' from the budget-cutting bill, laying bare the Republican leadership's true agenda: to reward their friends and campaign contributors at the expense of everyone else."

The cuts also fall on broken promises. Earl Hadley of TomPaine.com reports, "President Bush'’s most recent budget, for the sixth straight year, leaves the maximum Pell Grant - the nation's primary grant assistance program - well below the $5,100 he promised while campaigning for a second term."

Because this is an economic issue, it should be noted that 61% of Americans disapprove of Bush's glass-house economy. Perhaps this is because, as My Left Wing points out in bold over and over and over again, we have the "worst rate of job creation in 40 years." This is bad news for those who can afford college; when you graduate, you are less likely to land a job than any other group of college graduates since the 60's. In addition, if you do get a job, you'll probably be paid $9000 less per year than the same job 3 years ago, according to Global Insight. My Left Wing quotes, "the top 10 areas of job creation for the years 2003-2005 pay on average $9000/year less than the top ten areas of jobs lost in 2001-2003." My Left Wing's 3rd talking point for Democratic leaders is the likelihood that if you get a job, one which will likely pay $9000 less, assuming that you had the money to go to college in the first place, you will probably not get a raise. It's not because you'll do bad work, though you may not be able to do your best because of the declining quality of education in America, but because, to quote My Left Wing:

According to the National Bureau of Economic Analysis, this expansion started in November 2001 when the average hourly pay of non-supervisory workers was $14.70.This figure was $16.62 in May of 2006 for an increase of 13.06%. Over the same period, the inflation gage increased from 177.4 to 202.5, or an increase of 14.15%. Therefore, wages for non-supervisory employees have decreased a little over 1% since this expansion began.

However, the unemployment rate dropped below 5% in December 2005, signaling "full employment". Has the decrease in labor supply increased wages? No. In December 2005 the average hourly wage of non-supervisory employees was $16.35. In May that number was $16.62 for an increase of 1.65%. Over the same period, the overall inflation measure increased from 196.8 to 202.5 or an increase of 2.89%. Therefore, since the economy hit "full employment" wages have decreased 1.25%.

It is unclear to what extent can Democrats gain young votes on this issue, as young voters already favor Democrats to Republicans on the issue of college affordability 61% to 20%, according to Young Voter Strategies of George Washington University. Democrats certainly not going to attain any more converts from this, but it may be a useful tool to galvanize young voters if they continue to promise to reverse the gutted federal assistance programs. Jobs and the economy is the most important issue to 12% of all young voters. Thus, Democrats should focus on the college affordability crisis as one of the many problems of its parent issue, the economy. Bonddad of My Left Wing, who wrote half of my sources for this article, has issued the following three talking points for Democrats on the economy:




Rinse, and repeat. And repeat. And repeat, Democrats.

Special Thanks to Bonddad of My Left Wing for making this post possible.

More Information:

Energy, Education, Economy: Young Voters' Top Concerns in '06 - Young Voter Strategies
The Raid on Student Aid - TomPaine.com
Economic Talking Points for Democratic Leaders - Bonddad of My Left Wing
Cost Keeps 600,000/Year From 4-Year Colleges - Bonddad of My Left Wing


Blogger progressyouth said...

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10:08 PM


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