At a campaign event in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton shredded Walker and the Republican cabal for gleefully cutting funding to higher education.
Now, I have to draw a contrast with the candidates on the other side of the aisle. If you—I bet some of you might have—sat through four hours and seventeen candidates of debate the other night. Really, I admire you greatly for that. It’s a part of being in New Hampshire, though, the first in the primary—the first in the nation primary. So I know you’ve got an obligation. But if you go and look at those tapes, if you haven’t seen it, there was not one word from one of those candidates about making college affordable or dealing with debt.
Now, I don’t know who they’re talking to out on the campaign trail—well, I kind of have an idea—but I’ll tell you who I’m talking to and listening to. I’m talking to a lot of young people and their families who raise their hands at events like this, or come over and talk to me after it’s over and say, “I’ve got this horrible debt” or “I had to drop out of college. My mom got sick. I couldn’t continue. What am I going to do?” I think this is a major challenge, and I want us to address it.
Not one word from the other side. And you take somebody like Governor Walker of Wisconsin, who seems to be delighting in slashing the investment in higher education in his state; in making it more difficult for students to get scholarships or to pay off their debt; eliminating the opportunities for young people who are doctors or dentists to actually work in underserved areas in return for having their debt relieved; ending scholarships for poor kids; and most surprisingly to me, rejecting legislation that would have made it tax-deductible for you on your income tax to deduct the amount of your loan payment.
I don’t know why he wants to raise taxes on students, but that’s the result. When you don’t look for ways to help people who are not sitting around asking for something, who are actually working hard to get ahead. That is the basic bargain.
Mrs. Clinton has hit on one of the main reasons that the 2016 Democratic nominee is going to do well with younger voters. The Republican position on higher education continues to be that the current system should not be changed. In fact, Republicans like Walker have been defunding their state’s public university systems to make college less affordable.
Walker has had a bad week. He was nonexistent in the first Republican pretender debate, and polling shows his support slipping as he is falling back into the middle of the pack. Walker has gleefully cut his state’s funding for higher education, and he represents the wrong path for the nation’s educational future.
Hillary Clinton’s plan to kill student loan debt would boost the economy and take a big step towards returning the United States to being a true land of opportunity. Republicans believe that the doors of opportunity should be nailed shut on the vast majority of Americans. This belief is good for getting billionaires to open their checkbooks, but it a big reason younger voters continue to support the Democratic Party.