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Don’t Double My Rate on Gasoline, Mr. President

By Douglas Carlson, Right Side News

President Obama is out on the campaign trail this Spring Break with a message to students and recent graduates.  He promises to work with Congress to prevent the interest rate on federally subsidized Stafford Loans from doubling this July 1st, from 3.4% to 6.8%.  7.4 million students with federal student loans will see their interest rates double this summer if nothing is done to prevent it.

Hope_and_No_ChangeThe message the White House wants everyone to hear is how he supports the poor student or recent graduate in their plight to prevent personal economic collapse from the high cost of higher education funding.  Total student loan debt is expected to hit $1T this year alone.  But, fear not, President Obama is there for you - after all, why would you vote for him if doesn't protect you from this?·

How are students or newly graduated young men and women supposed to compete in the market when the cost of a gallon of gas has doubled since president Obama took office?  Of course, that's only a problem for students and recent grads if they actually find a job to drive to.  Many have not, and despite claims to the contrary, the number of jobless in America has stubbornly refused to drop below 8 percent.  Recall that President Obama assured America that if we got behind his stimulus bill we'd keep the number of unemployed below 8 percent.  Currently, the national unemployment rate stands at 8.2%.·

Another more sinister and costly doubling has taken hold, and it doesn't just affect students or grads.  The steadily-increasing price of gasoline has threatened to derail what we are told is a rebounding economy.  As an ever-larger percentage of the household budget, hard choices must be made each day just to afford to top off our tanks.  Less money spent elsewhere in the economy does not create jobs.  While the President is eager to be seen doing something to prevent students from paying higher interest on their student loans, he has shown very little leadership when it comes to driving initiatives to lower the cost of gas or create viable new jobs.·

We can just make out on the horizon (as we look toward Europe) yet another "two-fer" that will impact everyone, and not just students.  More and more likely it seems that we may be facing a rapidly approaching "double-dip" recession.  Britain, the most recent double-dip victim, is coming to terms with what this means for their economy.  Yet we in the U.S. seem to think we can tax and spend our way out and avoid that fate.·

Although Ben Bernanke insists that our economy is "expanding moderately", when asked about unemployment rates (and why people are dropping out the job market), he replies that many are "young people who are not out of the market indefinitely but are going to school or doing something else other than working."  Really?  Like what?  Organizing rallies for President Obama and attending Occupy Wallstreet sit-ins, perhaps?·

The truth of the matter is that large percentages of students are dreading the prospect of finding a job in this economy after graduation.  Many may be continuing their education above and beyond their career needs (using Federal student loan dollars) in an effort to avoid entering the job market and facing the reality of what four years of Barack Obama has wrought.  (Remember the phrase “over-qualified” because that’s one you’re likely to hear again and again as you try to put your extensive - and expensive - Federally subsidized education to good use.  Of course, there’s always the public sector – I hear they’re still hiring.)·

Ruefully, huge numbers of students and young people will continue to bolster support for this president as he seeks to be elected for another four-year term in office.  Whenever the clarion call comes from the White House to surround the president with admiring young people, students will be first in line.  But, remember kids, the real cost of the first four years in office was high.  Doubling down is not the solution.·

Douglas_CarlsonDouglas Carlson is a columnist, photographer and content editor at Right Side News, providing insightful commentary for the issues that impact Americans today.  A devoted father of four and husband, he is proud to be the head of a traditional nuclear family.  More importantly, he is not ashamed to proclaim it! He can be reached: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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