The Millennial generation tends to vote Democrat, but voting along party lines is not why college students should vote to re-elect President Barack Obama this November.
The Democratic Party platform, ratified Tuesday, consists of policies that will serve to benefit young Americans. If re-elected, Obama will help college students by reducing the cost of higher education and continuing to fix the economy to provide more jobs for recent graduates.
Democrats have already worked to reform the federal student loan program by removing private banks from the equation, saving an estimated $60 billion that would have otherwise gone to banks for acting as needless middlemen. More than half of this money went to the Federal Pell Grant Program, which provides need-based scholarships to low-income students. Coupled with other federal funding, the money available for Pell Grant scholarships will more than double and will raise the maximum aid that students can receive.
On the other hand, the Washington Post reported that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said, “We’ve always encouraged young people — take a shot, go for it. Take a risk. Get the education. Borrow money, if you have to, from your parents. Start a business.”
While some people are lucky enough to get that help from their parents, about two-thirds of college students have student loans from outside their immediate families.
Obama himself took out student loans that took years to pay off. Romney had an easier time repaying his debts, selling off some investments while he was in grad school.
Romney is simply out of touch. The Republican platform depicts a party that is more interested in using federal funds to decrease federal spending rather than to lower the cost of college.
Obama also plans to set aside $8 billion for community colleges, a vital part of the American education system and an appealing option for students who want to save money in their first two years of pursuing a four-year degree. This won’t affect students already at USC, but many future Trojans are currently enrolled in community colleges. According to the USC Office of Admissions, the university enrolled almost 1,500 transfer students last year, 59 percent of whom came from a California community college.
Additionally, the myth of Republican fiscal prosperity needs to be laid to rest. Former President George W. Bush’s last term in office was characterized by a spiraling economy sunk by a housing bubble and giant debt from expanding the military-industrial complex.
With a job stimulus pushed through in Obama’s first year in office, the economy has been slowly but steadily recovering. In the past 29 consecutive months of job growth, 4.5 million jobs have been added to the private sector.
By ending the war in Iraq and working to end the War in Afghanistan, Obama has also saved thousands of American lives and billions of dollars in military spending. Last year, Congress estimated that the Iraq War cost about $800 billion and the War in Afghanistan cost about $450 billion. Ending the War in Afghanistan, which Obama plans to do by 2014, would also significantly save the country’s funds for future generations in addition to saving the lives of American soldiers.
Obama has kept the Great Recession from becoming a second full-on depression, and a second term will allow him to focus on building a strong economy for the long-term.
Another element of the Democratic platform that could ultimately have a beneficial effect on young American’s lives is Obamacare. Obamacare allows children to stay on their parents’ health care plan until age 26, which extends coverage for about 2.5 million people. Romney’s pledge to repeal Obamacare would only hurt those just exiting college who might not yet have a job with health insurance.
As several fact-checking organizations have noted, such as PolitiFact and FactCheck, the Republican National Convention speeches were rife with blatant lies about Obama’s last four years in office. The facts are simple: Obama is the nominee who has already made concrete changes to help young people, and believable promises to improve our future.
Rachel Bracker is a junior majoring in linguistics. Point/Counterpoint runs Fridays.