Is ObamaCare really the most important?

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While this story about the Obamacare package has been unfolding, people have neglected to see other important bills going through the house.  The article entitled The End of the American Graduation Initiative was written about exactly this.  Being that it was about something that college students could relate to, I found it very interesting.  The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) has been dropped from the house due to the health care bill.  What the SAFRA, which included the American Graduation Initiative (AGI) program, intended to do was make college more affordable for potential students.

What the AGI was created to do was invest $12 billion into community colleges over the next ten years.  Over these ten years and with this extra money, five million more people could go through community college and get a degree.  Because of the current state of the economy, people are being forced to go to community college instead of universities because they can not afford it and neither can the financial aid providers.  Money is running slim in the economy today and this AGI bill would have successfully sent more people through college.  Instead of this $12 billion over the next ten years, these community colleges only received $2 billion over the next several years.  Compared to what they could have had, this is like adding insult to injury.

Do you think that the house should have chosen the AGI over ObamaCare?  If anything, could they have abbreviated ObamaCare slightly and still left room for the AGI bill?

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16 Responses

  1. This is an issue that is extremely important to many people in this area right now. The members of the Susquehanna Valley Community College Initiative are trying to start a new community college in the local area. Currently, there are no community colleges nearby, with Pennsylvania’s community colleges being in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas. So, without a community college nearby, many students fail to receive a college education. Reading your post made me think about the negative impact the elimination of the AGI Bill could have on the local community. Without the funding from this bill, this new community college may not have the means necessary to get started and sustain itself. By looking at the local impact and putting it into a perspective that I can relate to, it is hard to understand the elimination of the AGI Bill, but I look forward to your future posts on the issue so that I can learn more about it.

    • Somebody’s got to give Tinker a run for his money.Last day for early bird reg is today. I’m officially in. Gonna leave the 33lb mtosner cross at home this time but I will be tying one hand behind my back to compensate. Wouldn’t want to finish too fast.

  2. I completetly see Brooke’s point and AIG should have more funding. Education, in my opinion, is extremely important for the future of the country. Having this type of organization can help people afford colleges. However, I also think that everyone should have free health care. Government needs to find a way to continue funding AIG but at the same time provide healthcare.

  3. I completely agree with both of you. Not all high school student who want to go to college have the chance, especially at a university like ours. Community colleges are a great stepping stone into the real world for those students who don’t have the opportunity to go to a university or state school. Not passing the AGi bill was a mistake in my mind and I’m sure in the minds of the members of the SVCCI.

  4. I also agree that neglecting to pass the AGI bill was a great disservice; and I think that it displays a problem with the political process that is having a significant impact on the future of our nation. It seems to becoming a constant in our political system that truly important issues are pushed aside in favor of issues that are linked more significantly to the game of politics. Consider issues like abortion or gay marriage, two social issues that have become huge political issues which are strongly focused on by politicians from both parties. Instead of focusing on issues that have significant importance to the future of our nation (like the state of our economy, education system, criminal justice system, or the two wars we are embroiled in) the American public is pushed to vote on social issues that bear very little actual importance to the well being of the nation’s future. In the case of the Healthcare Reform Bill, while I am against large entitlement programs, I can not disagree that it is an important issue, but not to the degree that it has become. The focus on the health care reform bill has become so intense the its larger impacts have been relatively ignored, and other important issues have been ignored as a result. While healthcare is important, such a huge importance has been placed on passing the bill that the current state of our economy has been ignored in the political posturing. Can we really afford to enact such a huge entitlement program that will cost billions of dollars when we are the grips of the worst economic down turn since the great depression? Is a new healthcare bill really worth the neglect it has created for our education programs? Questions such as these have been pushed aside in favor of political rhetoric that masks the real issues, and pushes voters ignore important issues.

  5. What source did you get to use this? How is this related to final paper and how org theory can help us understand the Great Recession?

    • I got it from
      http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2010/0323_agi_berube.aspx

      I wanted to talk about this because I thought it was interesting how the government is spending so much money during the Great Recession. On top of that, they spending it all on health care, which the population seems to be split on. In the state that the economy is in today, many under class people either can’t afford health care or their jobs don’t provide health care for them.

  6. Why do you think social issues such as abortion and gay marriage are so dominant in our political system right now? What will be the effects of focusing on these issues? Can’t it be argued that these issues are also very integral to the future of our nation? They both have the potential to have enormous effects on women and minority rights. I am not disagreeing with Derek, I agree that we need to diversify the issues we are focused on, but I do believe that we should not neglect the importance and the significance of the social issues that are facing our country.

    • I’m not saying that they are dominating our political system. My point is that these are social issues with little actual impact on the economic or political functioning of our nation. That is not to say that as social issues they are not extremely important, they are. However, my point is that as topics for political debate they have become so entrenched in religious and party rhetoric that they do little more than distract voters from issues that have a significant, and immediate, impact on the economy and political systems. Their affects on the rights of women and minorities is unquestionable, but the simple fact that we are debating them illustrates the problem.
      There should be no debate, while some religions and activist groups might disagree, issues like abortion and gay marriage are about an individuals right to determine the course of their life as they see fit. Whether or not a person agrees with their choice is irrelevant, the point is it is their choice and must be respected as such. Just because some groups disagree with choices some individuals make does not mean that they have the right to restrict their ability to make that choice. Consequently, there should be no governmental debate about these social issues; just they deal with choices some individuals make that other people disagree with does not make them legal issues. Yet, they have become the focus of large and heated political debates overshadowing issues that are not about individual choice, but are instead about the future of our economy and political systems. So my point is not that these issue are not important, because I believe they are, but that as social issues they have become tools of distraction used in political power jockeying to draw attention away from other important issues.

  7. Especially during the time of the recession I think it is important that the administration does consider the fact that many students are choosing these colleges over universities that are more expensive. The fact that this financial help has been completely eliminated for an expensive health care program at this time seems confusing to me and makes me think education is being undervalued. While both programs are certainly important in our recent economic state, like Tania said, a balance needs to be developed so that education and healthcare can be addressed

  8. I think it comes down to pure utilitarianism. Ask yourself: Is it more important to make sure 40 million Americans have health care to make sure they have the resources needed to live a healthy life, or make sure that 5 million people have the money to go to college?

    While I think college is VERY important and I am not discounting education by any means, I believe that the government is placing emphasis on the issue that will have the greatest impact on the most people. Also, Obama’s campaign rested on this issue.

  9. […] Is ObamaCare really the most important? […]

  10. While you bring up a good point Kurt, the health care bill is costing a little less than $1 trillion over the next 10 years, while the AGI is investing $12 billion over the next ten years. If the government is willing to dish out $1 trillion for the health care bill, why can’t it also send out another $12 billion, 0.012 percent of how much the health care bill is costing? I’m not choosing either side, but not passing the AGI bill is not making those kids’ futures any brighter.

  11. While you bring up a good point Kurt, the health care bill is costing a little less than $1 trillion over the next 10 years, while the AGI is investing $12 billion over the next ten years. If the government is willing to dish out $1 trillion for the health care bill, why can’t it also send out another $12 billion for 5 million kids to get a college education? This is only 0.012 percent of how much the health care bill is costing. I’m not choosing either side, but not passing the AGI bill is not making those kids’ futures any brighter.

  12. I don’t understand why the house would drop AGI. This country constantly puts a huge focus on improving education for children from the beginning through high school but then abandons potential college students as they look to further their knowledge. Health care is a major issue but education is a greater investment to the future of this country.

  13. I think that the government really needs to focus on providing affordable education in the near future. Many of us are lucky to come from families that can afford to pay for our college tuition but there are plenty of people who have to put themselves through school. I think it is really unfair that these individuals have to take on such a financial burden and enter the workforce with large outstanding student loans. The government needs to put programs in place to allow students to attend both the community colleges and the universities like Bucknell.

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