Few groups today are struggling more under the Obama economy than recent college graduates. More than half either can’t find work or can’t find work to match their skills, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Close to half, or 42 percent, of recent college graduates, a Pew Research Center study found, are back living with their parents.
The real solution, of course, is a pro-growth policy that makes it likelier businesses will hire.
But in the short-term, Republicans are ready to offer temporary relief — just as we did for millions of working Americans earlier this year through an extension of the payroll tax holiday. We don’t think Americans young or old should suffer any more than they already are as a result of President Barack Obama’s failure to turn the economy around.
Unfortunately, Democrats are more interested in helping the president win reelection than in solving the problem.
The president has been trying for weeks to convince college students that their struggles have less to do with him than with “some in Congress” who stand in his way. And for weeks, Senate Democrats have echoed his taxpayer-funded distraction and misinformation tour.
They’ll likely keep it up Tuesday by creating yet another conflict where there is none.
Fearful that young people might start to realize the reason they need relief right now is because of the Obama economy, Democrats have turned the college loan issue into yet another fake election-year fight. The goal is to distract young people from the fact that they’re suffering disproportionately under this president’s policies.
After all, the reason young people need relief right now from an interest rate spike that Democrat leaders approved five years ago is because most of them can’t find good jobs in the first place.
Simply put, the Democratic-controlled Senate is working with the White House to portray the president as a champion of those who his economic policies have hurt the most.
The record on this point is clear.
Unemployment among 20-to-24-year-olds is 13.2 percent. A fact that’s even more depressing given the debt burden so many of these students already bear.
Republicans stand ready to help alleviate that burden and Democrats know it. Which is why they’ve proposed a fix that’s designed not to solve the problem but to draw our opposition.
Here’s how. To cover the cost of a temporary rate freeze both parties want, Democrats propose to divert $6 billion from Medicare and raise taxes on small business — damaging the very companies we’re counting on to hire young workers. Republicans have been crystal clear that this fix is no fix at all if it weakens entitlements or harms small business in the process.
Yet that’s not the point for Democrats. What they’re really after on the Senate floor Tuesday is a Republican vote “against” young people — a classic election-year gimmick that Democrats appear to have every intention of using again and again until Election Day.
A fix to this problem is easy. Getting Democrats to go along with it in an election year isn’t.
For our part, Republicans propose to cover the cost of the interest rate freeze by ending an “Obamacare” slush fund that Democrats and the president himself have already drawn from to cover expenses unrelated to health care.
This is a reasonable solution to a problem both parties want to address. It passed the House with bipartisan support.
If Democrats want to solve this problem, they’ll embrace it, too.
The real enemy of recent college graduates is this president’s economic policy. That’s why Tuesday’s vote should be about easing the painful consequences of the Obama economy for young people. Not promoting the easily refutable political myth that Republicans would rather protect “the rich” than help college students.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is the Senate Republican leader.