Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Blunt's Short-Sighted, Incompetent Loan Scheme

Matt Blunt has turned his attention to student loans, and is threatening to sell the nonprofit Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority to the highest bidder. This sale would generate a one-time influx of cash he can then distribute to favored projects. In a nutshell, he's seeking to sell the milk cow that has been helping thousands of Missourians pursue their dreams. He'll have some cash to toss around, and the potential recipients are eager to see him follow through, but the future generations of students who will be harmed by this fiscal fire sale have no voice.

Fortunately for Missourians, the agency has come up with a plan to stay alive. By selling some of its assets, the agency can give Blunt his opportunity to play sugar daddy, while still providing the discounts and opportunities that have made a difference for thousands of Missourians who weren't blessed with corrupt fathers and their tobacco-lobbyist funds. In other words, Blunt's plan was not only wrong-headed, but he wasn't even very good at figuring out how to do it. He was ready to sell the milk cow, but he wasn't even getting a good price for it.

I know this is not a sexy story, but it's an important one, with themes that should resonate a whole lot further than the sex scandals or "gotcha" slips of the tongue that tend to make for fun blog posts. The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority is a nonprofit agency doing a great job, with little fanfare or attention. Those who tend to view private industry is inherently more effective than nonprofit agencies or government are simply wrong when the goal of an organization is not necessarily to generate as much profit as possible. Oftentimes, bureaucracies are the most effective tool to accomplish important goals.

Also, the Blunt administration is willing to sacrifice the long-term best interests of Missouri for a few photo-ops when he gets to hand big checks to grateful deans. It's cynical, ugly politics, but when you're the fifth most hated governor in the entire country, it's time to make some desperate moves. And who's going to be the voice of future needy college students?


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Slight topic change, but how do you feel about the other Blunt getting passed over as Majority Leader? Are you glad that DeLay's disciple won't have as much power or disappointed that the Republicans have given themselves a little more distance from DeLay and Abramoff?


2/02/2006 5:47 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Great question, RM (and welcome back!). I'll admit that there was a little partisan joy at the prospect of the republicans choosing someone as utterly corrupt as Blunt. But, as an American who wants the best government we can have, I'm glad they chose Boehner. He is slightly less corrupt, and that is good for the country.

2/02/2006 10:51 PM  

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