While Governor of Louisiana (1988-1992), I asked the Legislature to pass The Taylor Plan, named after businessman Pat Taylor who had recommended it years earlier. This plan waived tuition at in-state colleges and universities for in-state students who graduated from high school with a C+ average, and who demonstrated a financial need. These were NOT loans. This was during a time of tremendous economic burden for Louisiana citizens and taxpayers, but we decided to invest in our future. This is one of many reasons that Louisiana has advanced economically over the last two decades. We invested in the future of Louisiana.
Congress is a bad joke and no one is laughing. Today's Congress faces gridlock and partisanship greater than we as a country have ever experienced. They are foolish for not restructuring this debt for our students. 10-year money costs our government less than 2% and we cannot find a way to refinance the debt which is costing many students nearly 7%?
Evidence shows that a person who continues their education post high school graduation will be more likely to earn a greater salary and pay more taxes in their lifetime than those who do not. The percentage of the general population who have at least graduated from high school in the United States now ranks 16th in the world, 30-years ago, the United States ranked 1st, but South Korea now holds the top spot. Evidence further mounts that Washington, D.C. is a source of institutional corruption and gridlock, not one of educational excellence or diversity. We are not getting better on Capitol Hill and our students are suffering for it.
Both parties are all politics and no action.
President Obama is trying to divert attention from the truth. Period. The reason the student loan program is a mess is because there are no jobs. Graduates are struggling to pay their student loans at a staggering rate because they are unemployed. Obama's administration has engineered the worst recovery in nearly a century by strangling small business with regulatory hell, refusing to vote on a budget that controls spending over the next five years, failing to recommend the elimination of all loopholes and exceptions for corporations in the tax code while lowering the corporate rate, and absolutely refusing to insist on fair and smart trade with China. Additionally, we are addicted to Middle Eastern Oil and Chinese credit with apparently no intention by the Obama administration of breaking either habit.
President Obama and his administration are not the only ones to blame. Though the Republicans correctly wish to reduce spending in order to cover the cost of this investment, why do they not attack cash foreign aid, or unnecessary overseas military bases, or subsidies in general? Both parties have the same goal: Beat the other party. I'll give them a new goal: rebuild America's greatness!
Frankly, I hate the thought of going back to Washington and cleaning this mess up. But I love the thought of a country that is strong economically again and that provides an environment where its citizens are sure of good choices concerning their future. A college graduate should have a dozen job offers, a low rate of interest on a student loan, and be able to repay the debt twice as fast as stipulated. This is the America I see over the next four years. I am no longer interested in a political system corrupted by big money that puts its re-election "profits" ahead of its children.
The love outweighs the hate. I'm ready. Free to Lead.
Governor Buddy Roemer is a four-term Congressman and former Governor of Louisiana. He is now participating in the first national online primary for President of the United States as an AmericansElect.org candidate. He is known for refusing PAC and special interest money, implementing campaign finance reform, turning around Louisiana’s failing economy and cutting the state’s unemployment rate in half in just four years. You can cast your vote at Americanselect.org. His website is www.BuddyRoemer.com