Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) spoke candidly about how federal involvement in the student loan game has hurt students during a event in his home state, calling loans too easy to get and college “too fun” to only go to for four years.
Johnson told constituents in Verona last Saturday that federal student aid has created a system where students are incentivized to take on huge amounts of debt.
When he was in school, Johnson noted, he’d worked and paid his way so he felt a need to get out as quickly as possible with as little debt as possible. Student loans and their easy access through the federal government takes away this extra driving force, he said.
“Today, there are different studies on this but somewhere between five and a half to six years is the average length of time it takes somebody to get a four-year degree. Why is that? I’d argue, well, loans are actually pretty easy to get and college is a lot of fun. All three of my kids went to Madison and I guarantee you, they had a really good time, particularly that first year of college,” Johnson said.
“…A lot of government’s well-intentioned programs actually have a very negative unintended consequence… The federal government got involved the way it always gets involved, it threw money at the problem. We’ve thrown, given hundreds of millions of dollars in grant money to people we want to have a college education, but we’ve also enticed our children by subsidizing loans, we’ve enticed them to incur about $1.3 trillion in debt.”
The event was recorded and posted by Democratic firm American Bridge. It was intended as an attack against Johnson, who is seen as a vulnerable senator in the upcoming election.
But what kind of an attack is it really when Johnson is simply pointing out the truth?