The 2014 '30 Under 30'

Congrats to this year's 30 -- check out the full list here!

New Obama Education Attack Ad Targets Young Voters, Ignores Higher Education Costs

The notable lack of enthusiasm among college-aged voters, the same demographic that propelled President Obama past then-Sen. Clinton (D-NY) in Iowa and to the White House, has presumably been troubling the President’s campaign. And in true Obama campaign fashion, they have issued another misleading ad about Mitt Romney in an attempt to shore up the youth vote.

In an effort to mobilize college voters, it looks like Chicago is playing an age-old American political trick: going after an opponent on its own weakness. In a new ad entitled “Get Real,” the Obama campaign falsely accuses Gov. Romney of advocating policies that will make college less affordable. It’s not unusual for a negative political ad: long on innuendo and short on facts.

One of the more disturbing aspects of the Obama record for Generation Y has been that tuition has skyrocketed since he took office. The average cost of a four-year postsecondary education increased by 15 percent in his first two years, and has continued to rise. The ad lauds the president’s decision to “eliminate[e] the bank middlemen from college loans”. What the president really did was practically socialize the financing of higher education, opening the floodgates of federal money pouring into the ivory towers of American universities. This policy has directly correlated with skyrocketing tuition costs.

By cherry-picking portions of the Ryan FY 2013 budget (provisions that Gov. Romney is not running on), the president is essentially trying to falsely attribute Ryan’s policy proposals to Romney. This is hardly surprising, but remains disappointing.

It would be less disappointing if the point of the ad was to fudge some arguments in order to win a substantial policy debate. By focusing on Romney’s “borrow money from your parents” gaffe (while not nearly as damning as “you didn’t build that”), the ad unsurprisingly repeats the old class warfare argument that Mitt Romney only cares about those people whose parents have enough money to lend.

We know better. We know that President Obama has socialized the student loan industry, which has led to a $47 billion increase in federal higher education spending without curtailing costs to students. We know that fostering innovation and competition will lead to downward pressure on tuition costs and increase access to higher education.

The worst thing about the “Get Real” ad is that it doesn’t get real at all. In fact, it is emblematic of how disconnected the Democratic Party is. The Romney-Ryan ticket is trying to engage the president and the public in a serious debate about how to decrease our cumulative $1 trillion in student loan debt, lower costs, and ensure that graduates have a job so that they can actually pay off their loans. Meanwhile, the president’s team is engaging in class warfare and actually proud of the fact (or they don’t care) that their man is the reason prices continue to soar.

 

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