Praise for Student Loan Bill
Praise for Student Loan Bill

Published: April 4, 2010
To the Editor:

Re “Obama Signs Overhaul of Student Loan Program” (news article, March 31): America is the land of capitalism, and even in the education sector these days there is talk about the benefits of competition and privatization.

But we’ve learned from the financial debacle that free-market forces are not a panacea, nor do they always benefit the consumer. All they really do is create pressure to maximize profits — which is precisely what we’ve seen with private lenders of student loans and for-profit colleges (not to mention private health insurers). Sometimes the government can just do things better and more efficiently.

Incentives for greater competition in education have their place (the charter school movement), but when the “consumers” are students, we must tread carefully. The historic student loan legislation is a quantum leap forward in protecting our society’s most vulnerable — and increasingly debt-ridden — consumers.

If only the rest of us had the same protections from predatory lenders and credit card companies. Let’s not stop with student loans. We need to move ahead with the consumer protection agency that President Obama is advocating. Omar Garriott

San Francisco, March 31, 2010
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