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Post Partisan
Posted at 03:53 PM ET, 05/17/2012

PostScript: Will, college loans and bipartisanship

This post has been updated.

On a day when much of Washington was fretting over the ominous tremors of John Boehner’s vow of increased bipartisanship — the specter of a renewed debt-ceiling standoff fiasco — columnist George F. Will ventured that bipartisanship is overrated anyhow.

Republicans and Democrats get together too often, he said — to do things we’d be better off without. His chosen example was the current effort to keep subsidizing college student loans at the low, low rate of 3.8 per cent.

That got some readers arguing about the value of student loans. Jheath53 notes that most people find higher education pays off in the long run:

One of the single most cost effective programs in American history was the GI Bill, which significantly subsidized the college educations of millions of veterans. It was cost effective because it paid for itself many times over in the higher taxes from the higher incomes of those who received the benefits.

But, as Benson argues, under the current system, student loans don’t seem to be making education more affordable.

When government loans have the simple effect of causing tuitions to rise, they might not be helping as much as our good intentions lead us to believe.

Toldyouso123 agrees:

Perhaps if these major universities would adjust their extreme spending, they could lower education costs enough so that student loans wouldn’t be needed as much or at the same levels.

And njglea gets personal: How did Will pay for his college education, which has paid off for himself and for America at large?

You graduated from University Laboratory High School of Urbana, Illinois, a publicly paid for elite high school on the college campus where your father was a professor. One can surmise that you had scholarships to the best Universities and earned a Ph.D. at Princeton University. Now, my question is this: Just exactly why do a few of you at the pinnacle of society think you are the only "entitled" ones?

Jonathan 19 hits upon what seems like a happy medium: Educating people is in the public interest if students go on to get useful jobs.

It makes sense to subsidize certain college majors — health, engineering, and science degrees, for example — that will be marketable and benefit the nation. On the other hand, we ought to double the interest rate on law school loans, political science degrees and politically correct “majors” that have no discernible utility to society.

All right, then! Settled. (We won’t ask into which category political pundits might fall.)

By Rachel Manteuffel  |  03:53 PM ET, 05/17/2012

 
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