Monday, February 14, 2011

President Obama's Budget Proposal

In a time when state budgets are hurting and college tuitions are rising, we cannot afford further cuts to education funding.

The president released his budget proposals for the 2012 fiscal year.
Obama's new budget puts forward a plan to achieve $1.1 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade, according to an administration official who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity in advance of the formal release of the budget.

Those reductions -- averaging just over $100 billion each year -- are achieved mainly by squeezing social programs. A deal struck to extend the Bush tax cuts for just two years, meanwhile, increased the deficit by $858 billion dollars. More than $500 billion of that bargain constituted tax cuts, with billions more funding business tax breaks and a reduction in the estate tax. Roughly $56 billion went to reauthorize emergency unemployment benefits.
Here's this bit from CNN the other day:
CROWLEY: Here's the problem, I guess. If you are a graduate -- let's take one of your examples. You're a graduate student; you are, right now, getting loans. You don't have to pay those loans or any interest on them until you graduate. But now you have to pay -- or it accumulates, I'm assuming -- you have to pay interest beginning on day one of grad school, and that makes it so that you can't go to grad school.

LEW: Well, let's just be clear. Interest will build up, but students won't have to pay until they graduate. So it will increase the burden for paying back the loans, but it will not reduce access to education. That's, I think, part of how you can responsibly have a plan that deals with the challenge of solving our fiscal crisis, getting out of the situation where the deficit is growing and growing, but also investing in the future.
From that interview, HuffPost notes this:
Lew's assurance that students still won't have to start paying back their debt until after they graduate might not offer much comfort to people who emerge from graduate school and face, on average, more than $40,000 in debt, according to Students pursuing a medical degree can face more than $100,000 in debt, notes HuffPost's Amanda Terkel.

Obama himself has acknowledged the burden of heavy student debt, saying in his 2010 State of the Union speech, "In the 21st century, the best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education. No one should go broke because they chose to go to college."

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