Back in Denver today barely a month after his last taxpayer-funded campaign speech, President Obama came to town to raise money from the 1% and bribe college kids back into his fold for 2012. In a speech that was more focused on convincing college kids to vote for him again than describing a legitimate strategy for getting the economy going again, Obama promised the overwhelmingly young crowd he would give them free money through not making them pay back all of the cash they borrowed for college.
It was all very transparently focused on trying to relight the flame of youth support that has gone out in last three years under the Obama economy. Constantly urging students to join him and Tweet their Member of Congress, Obama's speech was almost impossible to differentiate from a campaign speech which should be paid for with his campaign's funds.
The one policy aspect of the speech, a student loan bailout, seemed more political ploy that job-creating public policy.
Since the first bailout was so successful, both economically and politically (right, John Salazar?), the President is at it again, this time proposing pushing forward a student loan bailout in time for his re-election in 2012.
Here's a helpful description of what happens under Obama's program:
Take this example: If Suzy Creamcheese gets into George Washington University and borrows from the government the requisite $212,000 to obtain an undergraduate degree, her repayment schedule will be based on what she earns. If Suzy opts to heed the president’s call for public service, and takes a job as a city social worker earning $25,000, her payments would be limited to $1,411 a year after the $10,890 of poverty-level income is subtracted from her total exposure.
Twenty years at that rate would have taxpayers recoup only $28,220 of their $212,000 loan to Suzy.
While this sounds sweet to many a college kid, it's far from smart economic policy and it's not going to create jobs — which is what college graduates need more than anything.
The AP's Kristen Wyatt gets one on the record recognizing that Obama's speech didn't lay out a solution to what is actually ailing this nation:
Others said the loan announcement would help—but they were more interested in getting a job.
Recent Metropolitan State University graduate Isatha Fofanah, 24, studied English and has $28,000 in student debt to repay. But she said she's "barely working part-time" as a youth counselor and picks up waitressing shifts at an IHOP restaurant to make ends meet. When Fofanah has to start repaying her loans later this year, she worries about making the payments.
As Obama can make this bribe of a key constituency he has lost since 2008 without Congress's authorization it won't face the problems the policy Obama stumped for last month in Denver — the American "Jobs" Act.
Despite Obama's demand that Congress pass the bill "right now" in a speech before Congress in September and again in Denver last month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) didn't bring the bill up for a vote for nearly a month. When it did come up it had a number of Senate Democrats voting against it, effectively killing the bill.
Realizing that he has no political capital left on Capitol Hill, even with members of his own party, Obama is likely to continue using the tactic of Executive Orders to pass policy that even a Democrat-controlled US Senate wouldn't approve of.
If this student bailout is any sign of his strategy, he is also likely to continue to offer taxpayer money to key constituencies he needs for re-election in speeches paid for by the American taxpayer.
Despite this trip being a campaign speech and a fundraiser that only the 1% could afford ($38,500 a piece!), the American taxpayer footed the bill, as Obama tried to claim he was just advocating for legislation.
The likely political effect of all this electioneering masquerading as governing is probably little. The most important thing that will matter come next November is the unemployment rate and as Colorado economists told The Denver Post yesterday, this student loan bailout ain't gonna create jobs. It probably won't even be enough to save Obama's.