WHEN PRESIDENT Obama released his budget recommendations last month, they landed in Congress with a dull thud. After cutting a deal last fall, the House and Senate don’t need anything from the president to move ahead with their spending bills, and election-year politics makes serious spending reform a long shot — a really long shot.
But buried within Obama’s budget was a desperate cry for help. America’s student loan programs are in crisis: default rates are at record levels, red ink is flowing, and the White House is trying frantically to stem the tide. The request to scale back certain loan-forgiveness programs may sound cold-hearted, but it’s a problem of the White House’s own making. More pointedly, it indicates how desperate the situation must be for Obama to recommend “cuts” to education funding.