Nicely done, assholes:
On Friday afternoon, within half an hour of one another, both the House and Senate voted to reauthorize the nation’s federal transportation funding programs. They then immediately fled town, which is understandable because the legislation is atrocious.
For starters, the bill spends $6 billion bailing out college students by extending the artificially low 3.4 percent interest rate on some subsidized college student loans. The change will save the average student only $7 per month, and the rates will do nothing to drive down the cost of college.
The bill also reauthorizes the Highway Trust Fund, but at higher levels of spending than the related gas tax that is supposed to fund it. To pay the difference, members of Congress did not raise the gas tax — instead, they chose to raid private pensions and flood insurance policies.
What they did was cut employer contribuions to pensions so the money could be taxed and the increased insurance fees for both pensions and flood insurance. This is their version of paygo, raising both spending and taxes. I suppose it’s better than simply piling on more debt. But this isn’t exactly what we had in mind. Letting student loan rate rise, cutting highway spending and cutting flood insurance would have accomplished the same thing, only with much smaller government.