by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Bipartisanship, the supposed scarcity of which so distresses the high-minded, actually is disastrously prevalent. Since 2001, it has produced No Child Left Behind, a counterproductive federal intrusion in primary and secondary education; the McCain-Feingold speech rationing law (the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act); an unfunded prescription drug entitlement; troublemaking by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; government-directed capitalism from the Export-Import Bank; crony capitalism from energy subsidies; unseemly agriculture and transportation bills; continuous bailouts of an unreformed Postal Service; housing subsidies; subsidies for state and local governments; and many other bipartisan deeds, including most appropriations bills.
Now, with Europe’s turmoil dramatizing the decadence of entitlement cultures, and with American governments — federal, state and local — buckling beneath unsustainable entitlements, Congress is absent-mindedly creating a new entitlement for the already privileged. Concerning the “problem” of certain federal student loans, the two parties pretend to be at daggers drawn, skirmishing about how to “pay for” the “solution.” But a bipartisan consensus is congealing: Certain student borrowers — and eventually all student borrowers, because, well, why not? — should be entitled to loans at a subsidized 3.4 percent interest rate forever.