Crossroads GPS: “Mountain”

Crossroads GPS attacks Rep. Tammy Baldwin for opposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, which it says would “stop the mounting national debt that threatens Wisconsin’s economy.” However, by forcing the government to make additional cuts any time the economy slumps and revenues fall, the balanced budget amendment would make future recessions even more severe. Meanwhile, the rising debt during Baldwin’s tenure has been fueled by President Bush’s policies, including costly tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans that Baldwin opposed.

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Americans For Prosperity: “Nevada Taxpayers First”

Americans for Prosperity targets Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) for supporting clean energy legislation and voting against a proposed balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. However, the American Clean Energy and Security Act would have had a minimal impact on most consumers, and actually would have decreased energy costs for low-income households. In addition, the constitutional amendment that Berkley opposed would make cyclical economic downturns more severe, while AFP’s use of “family budgets” to justify the ban on deficits fails to consider that most Americans rely on things like mortgages and student loans.

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Ideological Lines Are Clear In Debate Over Student Loans

Americans now hold a trillion dollars in student loan debt, in large part because tuition has soared and state policies have shifted more and more of that increasing burden off taxpayers and onto would-be students. The remarkable threshold of aggregate debt has focused attention on a variety of legislative battles over financial aid programs. The interest rate on federally subsidized Stafford Loans was set to double this summer, for instance, until a late June compromise. Congressional Republicans had said the only impasse was over how to pay for the lower rates going forward, but the budget House Republicans passed this spring would have allowed the rates to double while also imposing steep cuts to the Pell Grant program for low-income students. The contrast between progressive and conservative aims for financial aid spending was perhaps clearest in 2010, however, when Democrats ended billions in giveaways to the banks who had acted as middle men for federally guaranteed loans; Republicans decried that efficiency move as a government “takeover” of the student loan industry.

Rising Tuition, Shrinking Public Funds, And A Trillion Dollars In Student Debt

Total Student Loan Debt Outstanding Has Reached Approximately $1 Trillion. From Inside Higher Ed: “Total student debt will pass $1 trillion soon, or surpassed that mark months ago or just last week, depending on which analysis you choose. (The Federal Reserve in March said total outstanding student loan debt stood at $870 billion. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau believes the debt surpassed $1 trillion several months ago. The Occupy movement picked April 25 to commemorate the $1 trillion mark with marches and protests.) Americans now owe more on student loans than they do on credit cards.” [Inside Higher Ed, 5/3/12]

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