“With malice toward none, with charity for all…let us strive to…achieve…a just and lasting peace among ourselves….” So said Abraham Lincoln in his magnificent second inaugural address just weeks before his assassination nearly 155 years ago. Today’s harsh divisions between the Republicans and Democrats make Lincoln’s plea relevant today, and the Trump Administration budget for fiscal year 2021 demonstrates the extent of the ideological warfare between the major political parties with respect to higher education.
The Trump budget is viewed by the denizens of the D.C. swamp as austere, but it maintains trillion dollar deficits amidst under four percent unemployment that characterizes the current era, and despite exceedingly rosy economic assumptions, does not foresee balanced budgets anytime soon. But it has a distinct austerity vibe to it when applied to education. For example, the recommended budget for the U.S. Department of Education is down $5.6 billion (7.8%) over current spending levels.
The Administration must be reading this blog. To deal with dysfunctional federal student financial assistance programs, it proposes putting more stringent limits on PLUS loans to parents, ending student loan forgiveness for those with public sector jobs, restricting somewhat the amount graduate students can borrow, ending the Stafford subsidized loan program, reducing the federal Work Study program, etc. Needed reforms in my opinion.