Policy Documents

How about ‘Don’t Give Them Loans at All’?

Neal Mccluskey –
May 31, 2013

In this posting at CATO at Liberty, McCluskey blogs that 

The big catch phrase for those fighting to keep subsidized student loan interest rates at 3.4 percent is “don’t double my rate.” That’s because the rate is set to increase from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1. But if President Obama’s Rose Garden pep rally today is any indication, the phrase should be more like “don’t raise my rate at all.”

The POTUS attacked recently passed legislation in the House–which tracks pretty closelywith his own proposal–because, he said, it doesn’t do enough to keep loan rates low. Really? The Smarter Solution for Students Act–which, by the way, is hardly all that smart–would set interest rates for subsidized loans at the 10-year Treasury note plus 2.5 percent. Today, that rate is 2.3 percent. Adding 2.5 to it is 4.8 percent, absolutely not a doubling of 3.4.

Of course, T-bill rates could, and likely will, rise, but the main point is supposed to be to make student loan rates track with normal interest rates rather than have politicians set them arbitrarily.