Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., told CNBC's Carl Quintanilla that it was "totally absurd" to allow student loan interest rates to double. Speaking about the amount of debt students leave college with on average ($27,000, according to Sanders) and the impact that debt has on their lives, Sanders said that Congress is telling an entire generation that they'll "double your interest rates."
"I think that is totally absurd for the middle class of this country and for our entire economy," Sanders said.
What the senator failed to mention, however, is that this entire interest-rate scheme was set in motion by Democrats (the party he caucuses with) in 2007. Sanders voted for a bill that arbitrarily cut student loan rates in half, from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent. Not only did the bill cut rates purely for political reasons (Democrats ran on slashing student loan interest rates), but it also was temporary, meaning that Democrats created a new battle to fight with each nearing expiration.
Rather than giving up the political talking point, Sanders suggested continuing to vote on rate levels every few years rather than finding any sort of permanent solution. "Nobody knows what interest rates are going to be tomorrow, let alone 10 years from now," Sanders said. "But as I understand it, if you kept interest rates at 3.4 percent for the next 10 years, you know what, government would make over a hundred billion dollars in profit. That's not bad."
So, Congress can kick the can down the road and fight again in 10 years.