Student Loans Increase 2013: Congress's Passive-Aggressive Middle Finger to Millennials

Congress go home, you’re drunk. As usual, our elected officials could not reach a bipartisan solution on our behalf. And as usual, citizens will pay a heavy price for political incompetence. Starting July 1, student interest rates will double from 3.4% to 6.8. Congress just cost millennials thousands of dollars.  

Remember in 2012 when Congress couldn’t decide on how to deal with the deficit, and subsequently deferred the decision to January 2013? And do you remember the fiscal cliff caveat? If Congress did not come to an agreement by January 1, 2013, the country would automatically get hit with a deadly combination of tax hikes and spending cuts. Well we went off that cliff anyway. And almost immediately after, Congress wrote another bill to postpone economic destruction a few months.

That’s exactly what happened with the student loans bill. Substitute "fiscal cliff" with "July 1 automatic interest rate increase," and voilà! Same old, same old.

To be honest, this (non)decision was predictable. Congressional self-induced deterrents are just not effective. Congressmen know once they go off that fiscal cliff or once their impotence leads to an automatic increase in student-loan rates, they can just write another bill that delays the impeding disaster. This process truly beats logic. 

Some senators are suggesting a post-Independence Day vote that would grant a "one-year extension of the current [3.4] rates." Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) gave her piece last week, saying, "We need a one-year patch to keep interest rates from doubling on student loans. That buys us the time." 

But Senator Warren is misguided. If our statesmen think they need another year to solidify student loan rates, what they really need is another job. While this may be fun and games to politicians, their policies are detrimental to millennials’ lives.

On Monday, USA Today released a report that most millennials are forced to prioritize student loans over marriage, a mortgage, and saving for retirement

So join me in despising an increasingly irreverent Congress. Maybe I missed something — but we elected them right? 

Let's not next time. 

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Uchechi Kalu

Uchechi is PolicyMic's Politics Intern and a senior@ Princeton University. Tweet her @chechkalu

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