President Obama: “In America, higher education cannot be a luxury.”

President Obama said for the first time Americans owe more debt on their student loans than they do on their credit cards.

President Obama said for the first time Americans owe more debt on their student loans than they do on their credit cards.

I thought I would share President Obama’s weekly address as it deals with college education and student debt.

This week, I got the chance to sit down with some impressive students at Lorain County Community College in Ohio. One of them was a woman named Andrea Ashley. Two years ago, Andrea lost her job as an HR analyst. Today, she’s getting certified in the fast-growing field of electronic medical records. Before enrolling at Lorain, Andrea told me she was looking everywhere trying to find a new job. But without a degree, she said that nobody would hire her.

Andrea’s story isn’t unique. I’ve met so many Americans who are out there pounding the pavement looking for work only to discover that they need new skills. And I’ve met a lot of employers who are looking for workers, but can’t find ones with the skills they’re looking for.

So we should be doing everything we can to put higher education within reach for every American – because at a time when the unemployment rate for Americans with at least a college degree is about half the national average, it’s never been more important. But here’s the thing: it’s also never been more expensive. Students who take out loans to pay for college graduate owing an average of $25,000. For the first time, Americans owe more debt on their student loans than they do on their credit cards. And for many working families, the idea of owing that much money means that higher education is simply out of reach for their children.

In America, higher education cannot be a luxury. It’s an economic imperative that every family must be able to afford. That’s why next week I’ll be visiting colleges across the country, talking to students about how we can make higher education more affordable – and what’s at stake right now if Congress doesn’t do something about it. You see, if Congress doesn’t act, on July 1st interest rates on some student loans will double. Nearly seven and half million students will end up owing more on their loan payments. That would be a tremendous blow. And it’s completely preventable.

This issue didn’t come out of nowhere. For some time now, I’ve been calling on Congress to take steps to make higher education more affordable – to prevent these interest rates from doubling, to extend the tuition tax credit that has saved middle-class families millions of dollars, and to double the number of work-study jobs over the next five years.

Instead, over the past few years, Republicans in Congress have voted against new ways to make college more affordable for middle-class families, and voted for huge new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires – tax cuts that would have to be paid for by cutting things like education and job-training programs that give students new opportunities to work and succeed.

We cannot just cut our way to prosperity. Making it harder for our young people to afford higher education and earn their degrees is nothing more than cutting our own future off at the knees. Congress needs to keep interest rates on student loans from doubling, and they need to do it now.

This is a question of values. We cannot let America become a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of people struggle to get by. We’ve got to build an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. That’s how the middle class gets stronger. That’s an economy that’s built to last. And I’m not only going to take that case to college campuses next week – I’m going to take it to every part of the country this year. Thanks, and have a great weekend.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

138 comments Add your comment


April 21st, 2012
12:23 pm

Mary Elizabeth

April 21st, 2012
12:29 pm

Rick in Grayson,

As I see it, we would be ok financially even with, as you correctly state, a reduction in the rate of increased spending, as long as our revenues – through increased taxes and the closing of tax loopholes, etc. – become greater than our spending outlays. Naturally, with increased population we will need to incur greater spending, but, hopefully, we will also accrue greater revenue through taxes, not only through increased income taxes, but increased payroll taxes, closing additional tax loopholds, and other ways of increasing revenue to balance the increased spending need.

Gone for the day.

Mary Elizabeth

April 21st, 2012
12:37 pm

P.S. With greater population comes, to our benefit, a greater influx of tax revenue because of the additional taxes that will be paid by those who are “new” to the population. That is what I meant by increased taxes in my 12:29 pm post, above.


April 21st, 2012
12:46 pm

“The President left out the fact that a liberal arts degree is becoming more and more worthless. Science oriented degrees are, in general, far more likely to produce employment. These degrees almost always demand a goodly amount of knowledge in higher mathematics. In fact, most of the good trade jobs also require mathematical aptitude. ”

I hate to break it to you, but mathematics and science are both part of the liberal arts. I suspect you mean “humanities,” which isn’t as politically convenient because it doesn’t have the word “liberal” in it. I majored in English, but took calculus, physics, and computer science classes to fulfill my core requirements (nobody ever mentions those). Since graduating, I’ve worked in consulting and investment banking, two supposedly highly quantitative industries, but have never used anything more advanced than high school algebra. Run-of-the-mill jobs in the trades, accounting, and marketing really only require arithmetic skills (and maybe some middle school geometry in the trades). That being said, I’m not sure where you’re getting your information.

Rick in Grayson

April 21st, 2012
12:52 pm

We have a greater population of non-producers. We have a greater population of citizens that pay no federal income tax (47%). This recession is not just a temporary thing, it is a reduction in the percent of well-paying jobs available to US workers as a result of a global economy that favors nations with low standards of living and low labor rates. None of those factors will lead to significant increases in US revenues from taxes.

The US and Europe held the reins of economic development for the last 200 years, the emerging markets of Asia will be holding those reins until global labor rates equalize.

Don H.

April 21st, 2012
1:00 pm

@MaryEliz. That you “don’t know how the budgeting process works” is apparent to readers without you admitting it. A primary duty of the Senate is to present and pass a budget for the federal government. It takes only 51 votes in the Senate, and Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Democrats have more than enough potential votes within their own party.

But for the third year running, Senate Democrats have decided not to offer a budget resolution… and they have told us not to expect one until after the election. That sound to you like Hope and Change?

Meanwhile, Pres. Obama (above) wants to add to the $5 TRILLION in national debt he’s run up during his three years in office—by paying toward student loans?

@”teacher&mom”: You’ve never voted Republican in your adult life. So spare us the irony.

Maureen Downey

April 21st, 2012
1:20 pm

@Don H. When we can no longer publish the speech of the nation’s president, we have reached a sad state. In 30 years of reporting, I have never seen the bizarre sentiment that sharing the president of the United States’ views on college education is partisan politics. I covered speeches by Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and both Bushes and never heard any comments about this being partisan.
Obama is president, the same way that George Bush was president. He holds the office now and that ought to mean something, as it did for every other president up to this point.
I don’t get how folks don’t see the bizarre nature of complaining about sharing a speech that the duly elected president made. Again, I have worked in news and opinion for many years and read thousands of letters to the editor that were sent to my various newspapers. I have never this strange attitude until now.
Makes me wonder.

Old timer

April 21st, 2012
1:26 pm

This is a campaign speech…..more promises … More debt.we will be just like Vreece and Spain. We just cannot keep giving people stuff. I would like to keep more of my money.

Don H.

April 21st, 2012
1:27 pm

@Maureen. As always, your readers will decide if you “doth protest too much.”

And I of course don’t mean the Greek chorus of liberals who will shortly clutter this space with their fawning commentary.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

April 21st, 2012
1:28 pm

@ Maureen

Sort of like how I started “wondering” when allowing students to view the presidential speech about the importance of education suddenly became an effort to “indoctrinate our children into socialism” and set them up for recuitment into some sort of “liberal army”.



April 21st, 2012
1:48 pm

@Don…Wanna make a bet? Just because I don’t tow the line with your narrow ultra conservative viewpoint doesn’t make me a liar.

Mary Elizabeth

April 21st, 2012
1:56 pm

@Don H, 1:00 pm

You write: “@MaryEliz. That you ‘don’t know how the budgeting process works’ is apparent to readers without you admitting.”

You have the tactics of the bully.That does not speak well for you or for the Republican Party, if you are a member of it. You deliberately, and maliciously, misquote me. You write that I said that I “don’t know how the budgeting process works.”

Here is what I wrote to you at 12:14 pm:

“This national ‘budget’ emphasis is simply a Republican propaganda talking point because people, including myself, do not understand fully how that element of our national finances works.”

Notice the word FULLY, Don H. That was a very important word that you conveniently left out in quoting me. So you have proven to be not only a bully, but also to be intellectually dishonest. The following excerpt from “Google” – under “Federal Budget” – demonstrates the complexity involved in the federal appropriate of money. I made my remarks to you to further discussion – courteous discussion – of how the federal appropriation of money operates, not to be ridiculed by a small person who only wants to dominate by bullying and give simplistic answers to complex functions.

From Google:
“In general, funds for Federal Government programs must be authorized by an ‘authorizing committee’ through enactment of legislation. Then, through subsequent acts by Congress, budget authority is then appropriated by the Appropriations Committee of the House. In principle, committees with jurisdiction to authorize programs make policy decisions, while the Appropriations Committees decide on funding levels, limited to a program’s authorized funding level, though the amount may be any amount less than the limit.

In practice, the separation between policy making and funding, and the division between appropriations and authorization activities are imperfect. Authorizations for many programs have long lapsed, yet still receive appropriated amounts. Other programs that are authorized receive no funds at all. In addition, policy language—that is legislative text changing permanent law—is included in appropriation measures.”

Don H.

April 21st, 2012
2:12 pm

@MaryEliz: Bullying?

Here’s YOU above: “This state has always been conservative. First, it was a conservative Democratic state and then it shifted to become a conservative Republican state, essentially because of the Civil Rights laws of 50 years ago. It it past time for Georgians to release themselves from age-old biases such as that.”

So those who disagree with you on taxes and spending … are racists? They’re reacting to the Civil Rights Act—rather than their own differing view on federal spending and debt?


April 21st, 2012
2:34 pm

With respect to publishing President Obama’s remarks on education, you apparently greatly underestimate the intensity of disdain that this mealy-mouthed hustler evokes in a large section of the population.

“In America, higher education cannot be a luxury. It’s an economic imperative that every family must be able to afford.” Every reader of this blog – conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, recognizes
that complete and correct translation of this is ‘Re-elect me and I’ll make sure the government pays for your college education.’

Which to be completely honest should also include ‘or pay off your student loans, or buy you a pony’. 7 months until he’s a lame duck, 11 until he’s gone. Onc day at a time…

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

April 21st, 2012
2:38 pm

@AlreadySheared “Every reader of this blog – conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, recognizes that complete and correct translation of this is ‘Re-elect me and I’ll make sure the government pays for your college education.’”

Really? That’s not what I got out of it at all, and since I am a “reader of this blog” then I just disproved your point.

bootney farnsworth

April 21st, 2012
2:39 pm

it’s a hard truth, but it is a truth.
college is a luxury. always has been. always will be.

I’m a huge proponant of college, but be realistic…
like any important goal, it requires work and sacrifice.

because I was working and not a great student, it took me 7+
years to earn my batchelors. and a lot of not going on vacations,
renting better apartments, ect.

and, brutally put, college should be a luxury. look at what
happened here when we tried to make it available to anyone with
a pulse (HOPE).

bootney farnsworth

April 21st, 2012
2:44 pm

@ maureen,

not speaking for anyone but me, the thing which made me scratch my head is your posting the entire thing when you usually post highlights and link to the rest.


April 21st, 2012
2:49 pm

@I love teaching,
I apologize – I made an assertion without qualification. Should have written ‘every thoughtful and honest reader…’.

bootney farnsworth

April 21st, 2012
2:50 pm

more I think about it, the more I think its important higher ed remain a luxury to be strived for, and not wide open to all comers.

goals are vital to a society’s intelligence. back when basic education was widely unavailable, parents when to great lengths to provide for it.
not that primary education is virtually universal, both it and the society who uses it have dropped in quality.

we have “free” education in Georgia, but it comes with a very heavy cost. APS, DCSS, Clayton, ect are all in free fall. Cobb and Gwinett not much father behind

we pay a very heavy price for cheap education

Mary Elizabeth

April 21st, 2012
3:14 pm

Don H’s words at 2:12 pm: “Here’s YOU above: “This state has always been conservative. First, it was a conservative Democratic state and then it shifted to become a conservative Republican state, essentially because of the Civil Rights laws of 50 years ago. It it past time for Georgians to release themselves from age-old biases such as that.”

Don H,

I do not care to have futher discussion with you. Now, you are making wild leaps of associations that I never made. What you have quoted, above, is simply true history. Even President Lyndon Johnson said that when he signed the Civil Rights’ legislation into law that the South would move from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party for generations. U.S. Senator Strom Thurman was the first Southern politician to switch political parties after LBJ’s words were uttered, and that trend of the South’s moving to the Republican Party, from the Democratic Party, has continued to the present day, although the reasons for the change made by people, today, will vary more than earlier years.

However, for you, Don H, to write: “So those who disagree with you on taxes and spending . . .are racists?” is absurd, as well as for you to write: “They’re reacting to the Civil Rights Act – rather than their own differing view on federal spending and debt?”

I presented you with historical truth. Furthermore, surely, you realize that Democrats, as well as Republicans, care about fiscal responsibilty. For you to make an “intellectual leap” from my presentation of historical facts that I think that ALL who have switched political parties have done so for racial reasons is a wild assumption that is simply wrong. I am sorry, but I do not care to indulge in further discussion with you because the quality of the discussion has been so lowered.

However, for readers, I want to close by saying that I realize that often people – in any setting – are often swayed by their immediate associates, such as family members and friends, in choosing the people for whom they will vote. Georgia has been a conservative state almost from its beginnings, whether is was labelled Democratic or Republican. Again, I urge readers to consider becoming more progressive in their thinking, and I recognize that that would mean breaking from some of the traditional voting patterns of friends and family members. Nevertheless, please consider voting more progressive in this next national election. I believe that the masses of average Georgians would be well served by your doing this, per the President’s speech, above. In this place and time, that would mean voting to switch this state to a renewed and more progressive Democratic Party, which would include Georgians of all races, religions, creeds, classes, and economic standing.

Atlanta Media Guy

April 21st, 2012
3:28 pm

This was all a set-up by O and the Pelosi led house in 2009. They passed this legislation back in 2009 and wrote it so it would expire this summer. Placing republicans on the hot seat to decide to continue the program or cut it. There is no more money. How bout we pass a budget and see where we can shift some funds, like GSA, to Education. We do not need to ADD anymore debt. We need to be responsible and start spending only what we have for things we NEED!. O hopes for the students to riot, like the students in Britain did last year. Let’s see Vegas vacations or Higher Education, Obama your move!

Don H.

April 21st, 2012
3:41 pm

@MaryEliz: But “racists” who disagree with you and the president you esteem—are invited to stay home election day?

William Casey

April 21st, 2012
3:52 pm

@MAUREEN: There is a simple explanation for the attitude that reporting the President’s speech is playing “partisan politics” on your part. The explanation is that there is a segment of the population that has never considered President Obama to be a legitimate President. They are convinced that he is giving away their hard-earned money to the lazy, incompetent and illegal. Now, the more intelligent among them realize that President Obama will be reelected in 2012. Their cup of bitter brew runneth over.

William Casey

April 21st, 2012
3:57 pm

BTW: Elizabeth is right about the “Solid South”s” shift from conservative Democratic to conservative Republican. It WAS a result of LBJ’s Civil Rights and Great Society programs. Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” got the ball rolling in 1968.

William Casey

April 21st, 2012
4:00 pm

No, Don H, by all means vote on election day. Simply face the fact that you will lose. And, if they don’t come up with better candidates, things will not change for the Republicans in 2016.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

April 21st, 2012
4:11 pm

The POTUS is correct.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

April 21st, 2012
4:23 pm

@Already sheared “Should have written ‘every thoughtful and honest reader…’”

I am plenty thoughtful and honest, thank you. And apparently much more polite than some as well.

@bootney “…more I think about it, the more I think its important higher ed remain a luxury to be strived for, and not wide open to all comers.”

Do you not think there might be some middle ground? I agree that making “education” something that is freely given without requiring any “skin in the game,” as it were, has lead to a devaluation of said educational process. However, I also do not wish to create a system in which education is out of reach for all but the wealthy.

How do we, as a society, function if we have a system in which a large majority of our citizens do not receive an education? If we make education only available to those who can “afford “it then what happens to all those who are undereducated and cannot obtain employment? History teaches that when you have an unbalanced society, in which a small, well-educated but insulated, population controls most of the wealth and power while lording over a much larger population of uneducated, desperate poor, things generally do not turn out very well for anyone involved.

Don H.

April 21st, 2012
4:26 pm

@WilliamCasey: You’re obviously an optimist. But either way, your side has no illusions of winning in Georgia, right?


Maureen Downey

April 21st, 2012
4:42 pm

@Bootney, I received an early copy last night and posted prior to the link going live this morning.

Maureen Downey

April 21st, 2012
4:44 pm

@Don H. That’s your counterpoint?

Don H.

April 21st, 2012
5:06 pm

@Maureen. Do you, along with William, truly see victory for Pres. Obama assured in that latest Gallup poll? Sorry to drop a discouraging note among the AJC staff on a weekend … but things look far from rosy for Democrats in November.

Can't even afford GPC

April 21st, 2012
5:21 pm

Exactly right about the excess in fees, Maureen! My kid just goes to Georgia Perimeter College and the fees are ridiculous! And for what???? We have NO IDEA! Here’s a recent bill:

In-state Tuition $823.40

Technology Fee $50.00

Student Activity Fee $45.00

Athletic Fee $40.00

JCard Program Fee $10.00

Student Support Fee $100.00

Health Services Fee $10.00

Institutional Fee $200.00

So, On a basic tuition or $823.40 for three classes, we paid an additional $455.00 in FEES! Robbery! Especially the “Student Support” and “Institutional” Fees… ??? It’s the “Fees” that the state is using to build these beautiful, overdone facilities.


April 21st, 2012
5:52 pm

Even if a college education were free, I’d wager that 3/4 of the students at our school wouldn’t be able to take advantage of it because of their low skill levels.

Of course, most of them arrived in high school well below grade level (even if they did pass the CRCT), and many have probably been behind since kindergarten or 1st grade.


April 21st, 2012
6:02 pm

@ SciTeach671 AMEN!!! I am currently teaching high school Physical Science (which should really be just a review of what they learned in 8th grade) and these kids can’t handle the simple math my class requires.

Maureen Downey

April 21st, 2012
6:09 pm

@Don, No idea what November will bring. I have little faith in polls this early out.

The Washington Post just posted an analysis of recent polls:

The most obvious is that the contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney is likely to be close and competitive from now until Election Day. Obama leads in most, but not all, of the polls released since Romney effectively won the Republican nomination a few weeks ago, but his position is anything but solid. In some polls, Obama’s lead is outside the margin of error, while in others it is not. In only a few is the president above 50 percent when pitted against Romney. The same holds for his overall approval rating: not consistently above 50 percent. Despite the water Romney took on during the primaries, he appears quite capable of making a real race of the general election. That is because economic issues continue to dominate the concerns of most voters.

To the extent that Obama has an advantage at this point when voters are asked to judge the two candidates, it is based largely on assessments of personal qualities. Both the Washington Post-ABC News poll of two weeks ago and the NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll released late last week underscore the degree to which majorities of Americans see Obama as more likable, more in touch with average people and more focused on the needs of middle-class voters.

Where Romney is competitive is on the core issues of the election, though where he is judged superior to the president, his lead is smaller than Obama’s is on personal qualities. Both polls found that a plurality of Americans believe Romney has better ideas for fixing the economy. The Post-ABC survey showed Obama is judged to be slightly better than Romney on creating jobs and Romney is seen as better on the deficit. Consider it a jump ball as the debate begins.

Higher Education Speech -Maureen Correctly Published the Speech

April 21st, 2012
6:13 pm

The speech was correctly published,because it generated
ideas that people could justifiably challenge from multiple
political and philosophical points of view. Whether one
supports the current president (as I do) of the United States,
,or opposes the president, Maureen was showing a basic
respect for the office of the presidency, and our political
system. I did not vote for President George W. Bush, but
I respected the fact that he was the elected leader of our
political system. When President Obama was elected
in November of 2008,some students approached me
concerning the picture of President George W. Bush
that was still hanging on the classroom wall. I explained
to the students that his picture would remain up on the
wall until the inauguration ceremony of President Obama.
A simple gesture,but I wanted to teach the students the
concept of not only respecting the individuals that serve
in government, but also to respect the important institutions
of our great country.
It appears some people posting comments have placed
Maureen in a Catch-22 on publishing the speech. If Maureen
decided not to publish the speech, and something controversial
was said Already Sheared would argue that Maureen is showing
a bias toward covering for the president. If Maureen publishes
part of the speech , Don H might argue that she was trying to
edit ,or distort what the president was advocating to show
political favoritism. Maureen decides to publish the entire
speech to generate conversation and allow the readers to
evaluate the ideas expressed and is still criticized. I
disagree with many elements of Paul Ryan’s plan,but I
would hope every respectable newspaper would cover
the plan the way Maureen has dealt with President
Obama’s speech on higher education.

Old timer

April 21st, 2012
6:22 pm

The poll results I read yesterday see Romney more competent to fix the economy….which needs some fixing, but I do not believe anyone at this point will fix that. I do think the high costs of college administration has been a major contributor to rising costs. I do not think we should encourage kids to count on someone paying their debt.
I believe the HOPE lowered college preparedness. Students learned to expect much for little effort. That is why so many loose HOPE…..

Jack in Cumming

April 21st, 2012
6:54 pm

I don’t think the question of Obama being competent needs to be axed anymore we know that answer. Also any media saying Obama is more likeable is like an Fayetteville Arkansas paper saying Petrine is more likeable then tony dungy


April 21st, 2012
7:44 pm

“Education alone will not provide jobs for all US citizens. We must reduce our population…”

Sounds good, but reducing your population generally means less young people unless you advocate euthanizing those over 60 (that would include me).

Just how do you propose to provide food, shelter and medical care for the elderly who according to the laws of nature are not able to work like young people? Less young people to support the graying population is not tenable. If the government doesn’t support them, their children will – so young people will transfer their wealth via Social Security and Medicare OR via working longer hours to make sure Mom and Dad are cared for. It’s just a question of which way do they want to transfer it. The effect on the family budget is the same. Most children want their parents to have food, shelter and medical care. Getting rid of entitlements will just shift extra financial and time burdens on the younger generation.

On the other hand the U.S. has been able to keep our head above water on the entitlement end by an increasing population – much of the growth coming from immigrants – legal and illegal. More young workers mean more younger people supporting all those old people. This is world wide problem – particularly in the developed world.

This Is not as simple as you make it sound.

Dekalbite@Rick in Grayson

April 21st, 2012
7:45 pm

Sorry. I meant my comment for “Rick” not “Rock”.


April 21st, 2012
8:10 pm

Mary Elizabeth,
Your reading of history is interesting.

TARP was approved by a democrat congress under Bush and has largely been repaid. TARP one showed a profit.TARP two, authorized under Obama showed a loss although a good bit of the money was repaid. Obama’s stimulus went to democrat pet priorities, “shovel ready” projects that were largely waste of money. Revisionist history might try to give Obama credit for salvaging the economy but the Stimulus was largely ineffectvie, too slow, too late and too government centered to be effective in doing anything but running up the deficit by a trillion dollars. Obama’s debt in three years now exceeds Bush’s in eight. Bush is hardly a standard of wise spending but Obama’s spending has been a catastrophe!

We have yet to begin paying for the massive costs of Obamacare which will add an additional trillion or two to the deficit over ten years.

What is worse is that Obama “leadership” has left the US facing endless deficits as the size of government is utterly out of balance with our capacity to pay for it.

As for tax cuts, Obama and the democrats have embraced most of the formerly hated Bush tax cuts and have no plans to roll back the majority of the cuts. The recent Buffet rule grandstanding is just election year class warfare trying to fire up the democrat base over a small revneue gain.

a conservative voice

April 21st, 2012
8:42 pm


April 21st, 2012
10:26 am
Obama is in full campaign mode promising everything to the folks who will vote for him with no pain to actually pay for anything.

Jayne, will you marry me? :)

Mary Elizabeth

April 21st, 2012
9:52 pm

@Jayne, 8:10 pm

I think that you, and perhaps others, have been misinformed as to what has contributed to our 14 trillion dollar debt. On the “Chris Matthews Show,” July 27, 2011, Bruce Bartlett, former U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary, under President George H. W. Bush, gave the specific breakdown – in chart form – for that 14 trillion dollar debt. Here it is:
Recession Expenses = 2.0 Trillion
Obama’s Policies = 1.4 Trillion
Bush’s policies = 4.0 Trillion (wars, drugs’ entitlement)
Bush’s tax cuts = 3.0 Trillion
Social Security, etc. = 3.6 Trillion
Total Debt = 14.0 Trillion
Notice that 1/2 of the 14 trillion debt has come from Bush’s tax cuts and policies; only 1.4 trillion has come from Obama’s policies.
Bartlett also said that under Reagan capital gains’ tax was at 28%, and that today it is only at 15%.
Bartlett recommended returning to Clinton tax rates, as had Alan Greenspan, earlier.

Also, readers need to understand the basic reason behind the Republican impetus, under President Bush, to create their tax cut. Republicans had wanted, since the New Deal, to cut into social programs such as Social Security but they knew Americans would not approve, so they implemented a plan to increase the deficit, through tax cuts so that, then, they would have an excuse to tell Americans that there was a need to cut entitlements. Please read the entire article in the link below, entitled, “The Bankruptcy Boys” by Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, to understand this more fully:,%20The%20Bankruptcy%20Boys,%202/22/10&st=Search

Here are the last two paragraphs of that Krugman column, published February 21, 2010 in the New York Times. Notice especially Krugman’s last line.

“At this point, then, Republicans insist that the deficit must be eliminated, but they’re not willing either to raise taxes or to support cuts in any major government programs. And they’re not willing to participate in serious bipartisan discussions, either, because that might force them to explain their plan — and there isn’t any plan, except to regain power.

But there is a kind of logic to the current Republican position: in effect, the party is doubling down on starve-the-beast. Depriving the government of revenue, it turns out, wasn’t enough to push politicians into dismantling the welfare state. So now the de facto strategy is to oppose any responsible action until we are in the midst of a fiscal catastrophe. You read it here first.”

And from the Congressional Budget Office dated March, 2012, regarding the cost of Obamacare, the following words are excerpted directly from that report. I will give the link in my next post, immediately following:

“CBO and JCT now estimate that the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of just under $1.1 trillion over the 2012–2021 period—about $50 billion less than the agencies’ March 2011 estimate for that 10-year period (see Table 1, following the text).3″

Mary Elizabeth

April 21st, 2012
9:55 pm

Updated Estimates for the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act from the Congressional Budget Office, March, 2012:

Ron F.

April 21st, 2012
10:08 pm

Mary Elizabeth: you’re good!! But, as we have often witnessed here, facts can be easily ignored by the ultra-conservtive if they aren’t what one wants to see. Keep it up, as fruitless as it may be!


April 21st, 2012
10:21 pm

@Maureen: Love your comeback to Don H. On reading his words, I’m reminded of the person who said, “Don’t confuse me with the facts. I’ve already made up my mind.”

Mary Elizabeth

April 21st, 2012
10:25 pm

See also the following information from The White House Blog:

Official Sources Agree: The Affordable Care Act Reduces the Deficit
Jeanne Lambrew (Deputy Assistant to the President for Health Policy)
April 09, 2012
10:49 PM EDT

“Today, we are reading about another brand of ‘new math’ in describing how the Affordable Care Act will affect our nation’s Federal budget deficit. In another attempt to refight the battles of the past, one former Bush Administration official is wrongly claiming that some of the savings in the Affordable Care Act are “double-counted” and that the law actually increases the deficit. This claim is false.

According to the official Administration and Congressional scorekeepers, the Affordable Care Act will reduce the deficit: its costs are more than fully paid for. The Office of Management and Budget and Congressional Budget Office project lower Federal budget deficits as a result of the law.”


Mary Elizabeth

April 21st, 2012
10:26 pm

Thank you, Ron F. I appreciate your comments, as always.


April 21st, 2012
11:08 pm

@I Love,
Ok, you’re thoughtful & honest. I did not anticipate your challenges in reading for understanding. An excerpt from the above:

“For some time now, I’ve been calling on Congress to take steps to make higher education more affordable – to prevent these interest rates from doubling, to extend the tuition tax credit that has saved middle-class families millions of dollars, and to double the number of work-study jobs over the next five years.”
Translation with small words:
“Me good. Them bad. Me try REAL hard to make them give you money for college.”

Rick in Grayson

April 22nd, 2012
3:04 am


“Just how do you propose to provide food, shelter and medical care for the elderly who according to the laws of nature are not able to work like young people? Less young people to support the graying population is not tenable.”

That’s the pickle the US (and Japan, and several European nations) is in! All these nations have high standard of living/high labor rates.

Why would any corporate enterprise keep production (jobs!) in high labor rate nations when that production can be done in Asia? This is already happening? Why is that so hard to see? Yes, it is as simple as that. At best, the US might be competitive in high-tech industrie for another decade, but India and China will be right there behind us. US schools are no longer producing native engineers in any real numbers. Most US engineering schools are awarding those kinds of degrees to foreign students.

Look around any corporate environment and see all the foreign workers already taking a lion’s share of hi-tech/STEM jobs. I don’t have to do any research on this issue, I live in it every day.

Don’t expect a flood of young people to support the Boomer generation on fast food jobs, it’s not going to happen.

Your scenario of ever increasing population (to support and care for the elderly) just won’t cut the mustard in a world with production performed by every increasing numbers of machines and cheap foreign labor. We are not an agrarian society anymore.