Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ben Nelson, more of a Republican than ever

Sen. Ben Nelson ("D"-Neb.) will not vote for the health-care reconciliation package in the Senate because it will include reform to student lending that, according to The Hill, "would make the federal government the originator of student loans, replacing private lending institutions."

As Chris Bowers notes, perhaps stating the obvious, Nelson "always votes with Republicans, now, apparently. He even voted against the micro-jobs bill, and the extension of unemployment benefits." 

As for the student loan issue, which, to me, is pretty clear-cut, see Jon Chait:

Federal student loans are one of the most clear-cut good versus evil issues you can find. Basically, the program has two ways of handling loans. One is for the government to make loans to college students. The other is for the government to pay private lenders to lend to students. The second method is more expensive and highly prone to corruption.

The Obama administration proposes to cut out the private loans and save over $80 billion over the next decade. Naturally, the lenders have mounted a huge counterassault on Capitol Hill.

Save money. End corruption. Make life easier for students. What's wrong with that? Well, to Republicans, as well as to likes of Nelson, what matters is the ability of lenders to screw people and make as much money as possible (and to feed off government while doing it).

It's a stupid system. Thankfully, Nelson's vote won't be needed to change it.

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