Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Republicans Wrong to Cut an Investment in America’s Future

In “Despite Recent Scandals, GOP Shows Resolve,” (The Hoya, Nov. 1, 2005, A3) Kris Rodgers and Jay Ennis grossly mischaracterize the effects of the more than $14 billion in cuts to federally-funded student aid programs.

We would have welcomed their attendance at the rally hosted by the GU College Democrats, GU Legislative Advocates and GUSA on Capitol Hill Tuesday to share their views on this vital issue. Unfortunately the GU College Republicans chose to turn their backs on their fellow Hoyas in a time of need.

To begin a discussion on education funding, it is imperative to first reflect on the Bush Administration’s fiscal irresponsibility. Though Rodgers and Ennis surrender to the inevitably of a weak economy over the past five years, talk of fiscal responsibility is impossible to fathom from a president who turned a $5.7 trillion surplus into a $9 trillion deficit. This administration has failed to stimulate economic growth or to curb the increasing unemployment rates of a workforce that believes in endless possibilities.

Instead, this administration’s priorities have been to cut nearly $2 trillion of taxes, of which 50 percent went to the richest 0.2 percent of Americans. And now, we watch the House of Representatives struggle to reconcile the federal budget.

Democrats, however, are fighting to maintain adequate funding to programs that keep America competitive in an increasingly global economy. This is the time when America must invest in education to ensure that our generation will be well prepared to tackle tomorrow’s challenges. Why, then, do Republicans across the country and here on campus demonstrate such apathy for students’ struggles?

Rodgers and Ennis would also like you to believe that education funding has increased across the board over the last four years. Unfortunately, the $14 billion increase cited does not account for inflation. When the cost of education at Georgetown has jumped 11 percent last year alone, this supposed increase is irrelevant and blatantly mischaracterizes the real economic effect of such an inadequate increase in funding.

Let’s remember that when President Clinton left office in 2001, funding for higher education totaled $56 billion. Over the last five years, it has increased by a meager $6 billion according to the Department of Education, an inflation-adjusted increase (for those of us who do math) of barely 1 percent. Certainly the failure of the current administration to provide opportunity to qualified students who yearn to attend college epitomizes its ambivalence towards America’s future.

The House Committee on Workforce and Education has announced that the original $8.7 billion was limited to cuts in administrative costs, reducing subsidies paid to lenders, improving the risk-sharing structures between the lenders and federal government and stabilizing the interest rate structure. While we appreciate these improvements in efficiency, the committee refuses to reinvest these savings in the higher education system as Democrats on the committee have proposed.

Instead, the Republican leadership has earmarked these savings to begin to pay for a $70 billion tax cut to Americans making over $1 million a year. Though Republican committee members would have you believe that the bill’s purpose is to reduce the deficit, the reconciliation bill only includes $30-$50 billion in savings, which guarantees an increase in our nation’s deficit. This increase in the deficit by between $20 and $40 billion is only another representation of this government’s disregard for our future economic stability.

In addition, Republicans refuse to take responsibility for the extra $7.3 billion in cuts that will limit other students’ access to federal loan programs. The committee admits that these cuts will further burden the average student borrower with an additional $5,800 per year, on top of the average $17,500 in debt they already incur. With the majority of college students struggling to afford a quality education, how can this administration justify making it more expensive, rather than less?

How can the government justify shifting the burden of its irresponsibility onto the backs of students? It is the government’s duty to promise America a positive future. A quality education for every American student is a necessary first step towards fulfilling that responsibility.

Timothy D’Arduini is a senior in the School of Foreign Service and vice president of the College Democrats. Jenna Lowenstein is a freshman in the College and chief of staff for the vice president of the College Democrats.

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