Missouri Middle Class Families Face Rate Hike, but Akin, Steelman, Brunner Refuse to Commit to Any Action
Jefferson City, Mo. - At today's Missouri Senate debate hosted by the College Republicans, Todd Akin, Sarah Steelman and John Brunner refused to stand up for Missouri's college students and support federal efforts to keep student loan rates affordable, an increasingly outrageous position after spending recent weeks and month voicing their support for continued taxpayer giveaways to oil companies and multi-millionaires. Currently, more than 7.4 million students currently hold affordable student loans at a 3.4 percent interest rate. If Congress does not act before July 1, that interest rate will double.
"Todd Akin, Sarah Steelman, and John Brunner continue to be crystal clear about where their loyalties lie - they want to preserve government handouts for big corporations and the super-rich, but would completely abandon efforts to provide affordable student loans to Missouri families," said Caitlin Legacki, Missouri Democratic Party spokeswoman. "As John Brunner and Sarah Steelman desperately continue trying to win the conservative mantle in this race from Todd Akin, Missouri families shouldn't look to them for leadership. If these candidates have it their way, thousands of Missouri families will have an even tougher time affording a college education."
When asked directly if they would support efforts to prevent a doubling in federal student loan rates, all three refused to commit to such action, opting instead to highlight their support for reinstalling banks as for-profit middlemen in the federal student loan system - a move that would sap resources currently available to families while providing bigger profits for big banks.
Akin compared student loans to Stage III cancer: "America has got the equivalent of the Stage III cancer of socialism because the federal government is tampering in all kinds of stuff it has no business tampering in. So, first to answer your question precisely. What the democrats did to get rid of the private student loans and take it all over by the government was wrong. It was a lousy bill. That's why I voted no. The government needs to get its nose out of the education business."
Steelman said she'd "have to look at the proposal," then advocated for privatizing student loans: "I think we need more competition in the student loan area. Yeah. Before that it went through banks but those loans were guaranteed by the federal government. Again, just like as an economist you need competition and competition produces different pressure on those loan rates to be lower."
Brunner failed to say how he would vote on efforts in Congress to keep student loan rates affordable, but like Akin and Steelman, advocated for the privatization of student loans: "In the same way, when you get the banks involved and free enterprise involved and other opportunities involved and other businesses involved, the number one issue we're facing here in Missouri is finding enough educated people to be able to handle some of these new high tech jobs that are coming in to Missouri. So, the problem we have on these school loans is very difficult. We need to take a fresh look on this whole approach in order that the kids getting out of college don't end up with such a debt load that they're working another 10, 15, or 20 years dealing with the debt."