Romney, whose side are you on?

Graphic by Brandy Pickering

College kids, remember that day you found out about student loans? You know, right when your dream of getting a degree and that great job was tainted by the shattering revelation: The jobs won’t cover the college bill. Lucky for us the presidential candidates might just have a solution for us.

According to the Huffington Post, the average student in America leaves college with more than $25,250 in debt. So when you graduate, not only do you have to pay your loans back with the money you haven’t made yet, you also have to pay interest.

Say you’re a student taking out a student loan today. Right now interest rates on Stafford loans for low- and middle-income students are at 3.4 percent. But starting July 1, those rates will double to 6.8 percent.

Now say a presidential candidate comes along and claims he wants to pass a bill freezing the interest rate at 3.4 percent. Sounds great, right? With time, more students take out loans, go to college, become educated and become more eligible for well-paying work. This would lead to more productivity, and in the long run, will promote economic growth. Wouldn’t you vote for this guy? And can you guess who he is?

The answer is Barack Obama… and Mitt Romney. Yes.

After long months of political attacks and snide comments, the president and his most likely (because, seriously, Ron Paul?) Republican opponent have finally agreed on something. If they want to win this election, they have to get the youth’s vote. They just may have different ideas of how to do it.

Obama seems to be well within his party’s principles. You can’t just cut interest rates without making up for the banks’ losses somehow. So, the Democrats are proposing to raise the needed $5.9 billion budget by raising payroll taxes for rich, private firms.

Romney, on the other hand, has a more confusing stance on the matter.

Raise taxes? You know he’d never vouch for that (not publicly at least). Lower interest rates? That’s against any conservative capitalist’s principle beliefs that shifting the interest rate to cover costs violates the free market. How on earth is Romney pulling this opinion off? Basically he, and the congressional Republicans at that, agrees that college education shouldn’t be a burden on students after they graduate and that interest rates should be frozen. But he, and the rest of the Republicans, also agrees that raising taxes is NOT an option.

Sound contradicting? Well, yeah! While Romney may “support extending the temporary relief on interest rates for students as a result of student loans,” he’s not making any suggestion on how to pay for such a decision (Of course, Republican congressmen are suggesting that we cut a “slush” fund that pays for things like women’s mammograms, but let’s not go there)! So basically it looks like Romney’s promoting a Democratic, “socialist” (and therefore evil, devilish, fiery!) decision that might eventually and indirectly call for, God forbid, raising taxes!

Seriously though, Romney’s being accused right and left of flip-flopping … well, right and left. This guy’s trying to appeal to the masses. Not as subtly as he should be. But hey it might just work! If he keeps this up he’ll raise his odds in this race (though I still think it’s a long shot), and this election might just become less predictable after all.