Thursday, December 22, 2005

Republicans: Cuts and Campaign Contributors

Ohio Republican Rep. John Boehner should be ashamed of himself. His strategy in the House of Representatives helped cut loans for college students and will increase the interest rate to 6.8% for the loans. From the Arizona Daily Sun, we get the details: As Congress moves to slash $40 billion in spending, no program will take a bigger hit than college loans, where almost $13 billion would be cut over five years.

For students, the upshot is mixed. Excessive government payments to banks would be halted, freeing up some dollars for new grants, larger loan limits and reduced loan fees.

But overall, the student loan program would endure the largest cut in its history, and most of the money would not be pumped back into education. Instead, under a plan the House approved Monday, the money would be counted only toward reducing the federal deficit.

"At a time when the entire country believes we need to make higher education more affordable, Congress is trying to balance the budget on the backs of students," said Jasmine Harris, legislative director for the United States Student Association.

Parents who take out loans on behalf of their students would pay higher interest rates. And other parts of the college package could indirectly drive up costs for students, if banks pass on new expenses or offer less attractive loans as their profit margin shrinks....

The $12.7 billion in college cuts are part of an effort, led by conservative Republican lawmakers, to show discipline with the public's money. But Democrats say GOP leaders only want to pay for tax cuts, all the while eroding the ability of parents to pay for college....

Ohio's Attorney General Jim Petro, a Republican candidate for governor, is getting contributions from the lawyers who get his business. And who says "pay-to-play" doesn't exist in Ohio? The Dispatch has the story:

...Since he took office in 2003, Petro says, he has helped agencies recover $270 million a year in debts, up from $125 million under predecessor Betty D. Montgomery, now the state auditor.

But his reliance on outside lawyers to go after bad debts also has benefited someone else: Petro himself.

A Dispatch computer analysis of the 88 debt-collection attorneys paid by Petro’s office this year shows that 73 have donated to Petro’s campaigns. Collectively, the lawyers have given Petro’s campaigns $101,099 since 2000, with thousands more contributed by their spouses and law partners. Many of the lawyers also contribute to political action committees and outside groups that attempt to influence elections for attorney general and governor...

Jim Petro talks about family values in his campaign commercials but I don't believe that greed is a family value.