The president’s nascent efforts to provide student loan relief for college graduates has been greeted with skepticism on conservative talk radio.
Barack Obama announced his plan this Wednesday at a rally held at the University of Colorado.
Rush Limbaugh reacts
“It’s going to end up saving students $8. This is one of the biggest jokes to come down the pike in a long time,” Rush Limbaugh declared at the start of his October 27th broadcast.
Citing an article from the Atlantic Monthly, the radio host noted the publication – which he referred to as a “left-wing rag with a couple of faux-pseudo-conservatives writing now and then for so called balance” – released an article on October 26th with the headline “Obama’s student loan order saves the average grad less than $10 a month.”
Limbaugh put his normal distaste for the Atlantic Monthly aside in calling the article “a pretty good overview of the whole situation.”
The conservative radio host also noted that the initiative to provide student loan relief had circumvented congress and been accomplished by executive order.
The move was made possible by the passage of Obamacare, which contained unrelated provisions vesting the Department of Education with direct control over the student loan market.
Fighting Big Ed
Though more focused on the efforts of “Big Labor” over the last few months, the topic of “Big Education” has gained ground in recent days on conservative talk radio as Occupy protests have brought student loan debt to the fore of America’s political discourse.
Philadelphia recently experienced this on the AM dial as local radio host Dom Giordano interviewed Occupy supporters like Dr. Ania Loomba of the University of Pennsylvania.
Limbaugh added his voice to the chorus protesting the rise in the cost of college education on October 27th, reporting that student loans have grown by 511% since 1999 and that an unbelievable 82% of all student debt that has been incurred was accrued over the last 10 years.
Political fallout for universities
Recent moves by the president have only further called to light the staggering challenges ahead for graduates seeking to repay their student loans. And as these problems surface, conservatives appear to be shifting their focus from fights in states like New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Ohio against Big Labor to the rising prices charged by “Big Education”.
Libertarians have also begun transitioning from “Fight the Fed” to “Fight Big Ed”, with presidential contender Ron Paul calling for dissolution of the Department of Education and abolishing the existing structure of the student loan market on Don Wade & Roma’s morning radio program on WLS 890AM this Wednesday, October 27th.
And given the prospect of the right’s mounting criticism on the radio waves joining the rising concerns from the left in the streets, “Big Ed” may be on the cusp of a political battle it never saw coming.
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Podcasts and recaps of Rush Limbaugh’s radio program are available here
A free podcast of Don Wade & Roma’s full interview with Congressman Ron Paul is available here
A free podcast of Dom Giordano’s interview with Dr. Loomba is available here. Part 1 of a series released earlier this week discussing Dom Giordano’s debate with Dr. Loomba regarding the cost of education is available here; it is continued in Part 2 and Part 3