Archive for July, 2013

Student Loan Deal is a Slap in Millennials’ Faces

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Originally posted at Policy Mic

As deal-making over the interest rates of federally subsidized student loans finally begins to subside, politicians are making a lot of noise, but avoiding discussion of the fundamental problem. Arguing over what amounts to less than $10 per month while promoting policies that incentivize overall higher debt burdens for college students seems ridiculous — which is precisely why you don’t hear politicians admit that’s what they’re actually doing.

This political theater in Washington represents the latest manufactured crisis that yields finger-pointing rather than good policy. In an increasingly dysfunctional fashion, politicians wait until the last minute to address crucial issues, despite full knowledge of impending deadlines. Then, when said deadlines pass and allegedly Armageddon-style consequences occur, the rush to “fix” the problem creates — you guessed it — more problems.

In the student loan debate, both Republicans and Democrats are equally culpable. Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, employing strikingly pro-government-takeover rhetoric, launched a #DontDoubleMyRate campaign, aimed at blaming Democrats in the Senate for failing to pass legislation to address the automatic rate increase from 3.4% to 6.8%. While Boehner is correct to point out that the Senate did not take action when it should have, his posturing puts Republicans on the side of defending more intervention in the already government-monopolized student loan market.

Amidst theatrics in which both sides claim to be advocates for students, the reality is, neither Republicans nor Democrats are doing young people any favors. The deal that the Senate has reached retroactively sets rates through the 2015 academic year at 3.86%, and puts a future cap on undergraduate rates at 8.25%.

But none of this addresses the fact that the cost of college tuition has skyrocketed, even though the explanation as to why isn’t complicated. When politicians decided that promoting access to a college education was a worthy goal — which it is — they worked to institute the federal loan programs that would provide artificially low interest rates.

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Cronyism Rampant in ObamaCare Mandate Delays

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Originally posted at Generation Opportunity

When the not-so-aptly-named “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (commonly known as Obamacare) was signed into law in March of 2010, the backbone of the legislation rested on both the individual and employer insurance mandates. As many predicted, however, economic reality is taking a toll on the federal government’s attempt at centrally planning a sector that comprises about 18% of the nation’s economy. In response to increased instances of part-time hires and continued public squeamishness about the bill, the White House has taken it upon themselves to delay the onset of the mandate that employers must provide government-approved amounts of coverage or face penalties. Even if we ignore the fact that the Executive branch shouldn’t be meddling in the application of a law the Legislative branch crafted, the delay is simply bad for Obamacare’s already not-so-stellar reputation.

In response to this development, some members of Congress are noting the fundamental unfairness of companies being allowed to delay complying with the employer mandate, while Americans are still stuck footing the bills associated with the individual mandate. Considering that from the start, Obamacare has been a boon to well-connected insurance companies at the expense of mostly young, healthy individuals, it’s not shocking to see cronyism at play in this delay. Given these circumstances, a bill that seeks to delay the individual mandate on the same timetable could come to the House floor as early as July 17th. But this would be inconvenient for the politicians whose careers are built on using Millennials as cash cows while looking out for their corporate buddies. After all, as recent college graduate Michael Mulraney pointed out at Policy Mic, Millennials – 2.7 million to be exact – who in no way benefit from Obamacare’s regulations are needed to fund it.

The potential silver lining in all of this is that because Obamacare is so poorly structured, it may lead to its own demise. As a result of ObamaCare, young people are being forced to purchase health insurance, which at this point amounts to an average yearly cost of $1,700 (with reason to believe premiums will continue to skyrocket). This amount of money is larger than the fine imposed on non-compliant Americans. Ultimately, it seems fairly obvious what these economic incentives will yield – and it doesn’t look too good for the crony-disaster that is Obamacare. Why would a healthy young person who really doesn’t need health insurance, or wants to pay for a very high deductible, soon-to-be-non-compliant plan, shell out more money? It’s not in our generation’s interest – not that the federal government particularly cares.

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Free the People

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

I was invited by FreedomWorks to speak at their “Free the People” event in Salt Lake City.

Thanks goes to them for the footage!