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Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) questions U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen (not pictured) during a Senate Banking Committee confirmation hearing on Yellen's nomination to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, on Capitol Hill in Washingt
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is proposing a plan that would allow people to refinance their student loans—using the Buffett Rule to pay for it. Currently, few student loans can be refinanced, leaving borrowers stuck with high interest rates that they could lower if the loans had been for a car or house, rather than an education. It's one of a number of bizarre penalties people face for investing in their futures, and the federal government profits off of the high interest rates:
"There are more than 40 million people currently dealing with student loan debt. When their interest rates are cut, many will save hundreds of dollars a month and many more will save thousands of dollars a month," Warren said. "That's money they can use to build an economic future and to strengthen the economy."

Warren pointed to a report released by the Government Accountability Office in January which determined that based on the loans issued between 2007 and 2012, the federal government stood to profit to the tune of $66 billion from the interest. In her eyes, the government profiting to that degree off the backs of people trying to better themselves is "just plain wrong."

"This is $66 billion on just the loans issued during that period. That is insane," Warren said. "This (bill) brings that down. Instead of taxing students who can't afford to pay for college up front, it says we are investing in those students."

In the messed-up logic of our political system, though, this effective tax on students is acceptable, while raising taxes on people earning more than $1 million a year, as Warren is suggesting, is a controversial move. (That's controversial in Congress and in the traditional media; it would probably poll very well among voters.) But as Warren says, "If the Republicans feel like it's more important to keep the tax loopholes open, then they are making their values very clear, and that will be a sharp difference between the two parties."

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue May 06, 2014 at 08:14 AM PDT.

Also republished by Massachusetts Kosmopolitans and Daily Kos.

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