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Rep. Joaquin Castro Proves GOP Budget Is Disastrous For Young Americans

by: Joe Deshotel

Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 02:00 PM CDT

Congressman Joaquin Castro held a press conference call with his colleague Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen on the effects of the Paul Ryan budget on young Americans.

Among the many offenses Ryan's budget proposes cutting funds from job training programs that benefit students, cutting $145 billion from Pell Grants, and would remove 3.1 million young people from their parents health insurance.

Rep. Castro said that, "The Republican Budget would undercut the progress that as Americans we have made in democratizing education," and pointed to 3 ways most non-wealthy Americans have attained their education that is being made more difficult by Gop efforts -- grants, loans, and work.

See more from Congressman Castro below the jump...

We have seen the gap between the "haves" and "have-nots" increase in the country at an alarming rate, and cutting educational opportunities for young people will only exacerbate that trend.  We also know very generally that there is a correlation between higher education and higher income. So why would the GOP propose cuts to the feedstock of our economy? One reason is that the GOP's base has an insatiable appetite for tax cuts and their leadership would rather pander than educate them on the fundamentals of our economy. It may play to their base, and it may be a shrewd political move during a midterm election year, but it is not worth putting an entire generation behind their international peers, or breaking the long held American tradition of increasing the standard of living from one generation to the next.

When students have to work full time jobs to pay for full time classes, which Castro referred to as the "work-school tug of war," it leads many to drop out and never attain their dream of a college degree.

Castro pointed out that Texas students are getting doubly hit by these cuts since tuition deregulation has seen the cost of public universities increase between 90 and 110%. The problem it seems is that the GOP sees access to higher education as a luxury and not an economic essentiality. It also seems the GOP has no issue with continuing the formula that has increased the wealth of the 1% while leaving those members of lower socioeconomic classes behind.

Castro pointed out the importance of access to higher education on the call:

"Just a few other things I want to point out with respect to that budget and how it affects higher education in general and college access. One of the things that it does, interestingly, it says that if you are going to school less than half-time, carrying less than a half-load then you'd no longer qualify for Pell Grants. Well if you think about what that means to working Americans, a lot of parents who are trying to go back and get their degree, but they have kids to support and so they are trying to work. They are working, obviously, to support their family, but also hoping to finish their degree so that maybe they can move on to another career ---that would devastate their chances of accomplishing  their goals and living out their American dreams. So it is these provisions that just would be very harmful for young Americans, but also harmful to a lot of people and parents who are thinking about going back to school and making a career change and making the best lives for themselves possible."

The question then becomes will those who are struggling to fulfill their American Dream be daunted by the increasing burden the GOP has laid on their shoulders and give up, or will they rise up and secure their bootstraps at the voting booth? Castro acknowledged that there is a "measure of awareness" that needs to be attained -- so here goes. If you want the American promise kept, if you want to realize your American Dream, then follow me to the polls in November and make sure the next big cut in Congress is to the GOP's House majority.

You can follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

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