I’ll be honest, part of my silence on my blog has been because what I want to talk about is politics and at the same time I don’t want to talk about politics… And I have a toddler and a full-time job.
But this one, is driving me a little crazy.
And it isn’t about the student loans themselves. The “Fact sheet” the White house put on the website reads like a liberal article on what needs to be done. I don’t know 100% this is all true, but I also can’t say they are lying. In the interest that smarter people than me say it’s true, I’ll trust the data listed (like “Since 1980, the total cost of both four-year public and four-year private college has nearly tripled, even after accounting for inflation.”).
And yes – this shit needs to be addressed. Colleges are expensive. Loan rates are too high for entry level income. Blah Blah Blah. Go read someone else if you want all the reasons this needs to be addressed.
This. Is. Bad. Presidenting.
This should not be an executive order. Ever. This should be the preamble or the press address when the president is signing a bill that went through Congress. This is an expansion of presidential powers that terrifies me. I don’t care if it’s “for a good cause” – that may be true, but it is still a gross overreach of power. And all we need is another autocratic-minded president to continue stretching this power into BAD places. Yes, this means we need to call out “good intentions pave the road to hell.”
And this isn’t a recent phenomenon. I’ve been complaining basically since I became aware of politics of presidents “abusing” executive orders.
George Washington average 1 executive order per year in office. Lincoln averaged 12. McKinley to Teddy Roosevelt jumps from 41/yr to 145/yr. After FDR (who pushed it to over 300/yr), there is a drastic drop. And historically, there is a rise in congressional power after FDR (something, something a lot of people didn’t like how much power he had after a decade in office).
We haven’t hit the FDR levels. Hell, we haven’t actually hit Teddy levels – we also don’t want to live through the HELL the world went through between 1911-1940, do we? Do we?!?! I’m not saying executive orders will lead to world war. Let’s be clear. I also think global political unrest is at least a corollary to citizens seeking strong single-leaders. To voters seeking for autocratic “quick solutions” instead of the slower, steadier compromise which Congress requires.
There is something to be said for the early 1900s having a lot of class fighting. Issues with monopolies. And a rise in presidential power. Without going for my doctorate here, I seriously encourage you to go read some articles from 1905-1915 and tell me it doesn’t ring familiar. The issues, the language, the partisanship. This isn’t my strongest area of history, but what I have read sounds a lot like some of the things we are seeing and saying today. It worries me. It frightens me.