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Post details: Change I Could Believe In

Change I Could Believe In

Every once in a blue moon, that ginormously greasy pork factory that we fondly call Washington, DC produces a hearty meal that even your grandma would approve of. All it takes is for one of our beloved sausage makers to skillfully canoe across the alphabet soup of special interests and come up with an idea whose power and simplicity will shine through the rain of bacon like a beacon.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has recently suggested that Federal student loans be tied to the same rate which big banks receive from the Federal Reserve. Amid multi-thousand page legislative monsters, this is a truly inspired idea. The intuitive social justice inherent in her simple proposal as well as its many practical implications form the kind of cocktail that isn't served very often in this town. Why should our monetary policy favor only one segment of our society - bankers? There is more to the organically grown economy than its bankrolling logistics. Students are its future skeleton, flesh and blood - all in one body. Yes, supporting them will be a form of subsidy, but one that is well placed and well thought out. Plus it's not like we are throwing the money away. They will still have to pay it back. We'll just give them more favorable conditions.

Even as an investment it makes perfect sense. A nation's youth is its most precious asset. Why would we coddle the sinful financial sector with artificially low rates while the aspiring doctors, scientists and engineers are stuck with nearly usurious rates? Why would we punish the next generation for wanting to become intelligent and productive? Educated nation should be our long term goal anyway. One could argue that a degree in French history won't add up as much to the GDP as a degree in electrical engineering and to some extent it is true. But even a person with a degree in humanities brings many values to the table, not the least of which is overall elevation of the political culture. Simply put: educations enlightens and softens the rough edges, regardless of the major.

One might also argue that the easy loans would exacerbate the already inflated college costs. True as well. But we already have bubbles in virtually all markets and nobody seems to care. Not to mention that those costs can easily be reduced. And last but not least, Warren's proposal does not say the college loan rates should be artificially low. She just says that they should be on par with the loans we are giving to banks. It's only fair. If I had a say in this business, I would much rather support teachers and professors, because their work represents a definite social contribution. Speculating in the commodity markets less so.

Quality schooling is an important factor in launching a successful professional career. Consequently, easier access to education for all will strengthen the middle class and ameliorate the increasingly lopsided wealth distribution. By extension, one can even hope that such reform and the associated boost in common societal wealth will decrease racial and religious tensions; that the proverbial tide will truly lift all the boats. That would be the change I could believe in.

Now if only we had politicians visionary enough to implement it.


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