Duke students have always struck me as apolitical. And yet if memory serves correctly, Duke students voted en masse—at about 74 percent, if I recall correctly—for Democratic candidate Barack Obama during my sophomore year. Perhaps it may be time for current Duke students to pause to assess the sagacity of their forebears’ mass votes for messianic “hope and change.”
What have youngsters gotten these past four years in exchange for their intractable Obama fealty? Let’s see. By most accounts, around half of those recently graduating from college are either unemployed or underemployed. Social science research into the topic suggests that starting at such a comparative disadvantage has a substantial deleterious effect on long-term earning potential.
The president extended federal Stafford loans’ low 3.4 percent rate, but at a great cost. Such a low rate places American taxpayers at great interest rate risk when the Federal Reserve decides to sell off the trillions in Treasury debt it has accumulated since the 2008 crisis. Perhaps most egregiously, the Obama administration has overseen the seizure of 90-plus percent of the student loans market. The government now has an effective monopoly on student loans, which is of great danger given the public sector’s blithe indifference to profit maximization. Institutions of higher education surely realize this, which is why tuition costs have exploded under this administration even more so than they previously had.
Infamously, the Obama administration has also accumulated $5-plus trillion in national debt. Pandering to the sacrosanct AARP-guarded elderly, the Obama administration has steadfastly refused to acknowledge the ticking time bombs of Medicare and Social Security. The result will be our generation picking up the tab later in the form of higher taxes and, eventually, higher interest rates to accompany unreformed entitlements and escalating debt. Our generation suffers the most from an expanded entitlement society.
Duke students are among the brightest in the country. You have an obligation to think critically about your vote before settling for more “hope and change.”