Two weeks ago, Barack Obama expressed frustration with the pace of negotiations on extending the interest-rate cap on student loans, which would have doubled starting on July 1st. In prepared remarks, Obama tried to explain the stakes involved, but ended up proving that he and his staff might need student loans themselves … for remedial math class:
We’ve been talking about it for a long time. If Congress does not get this done in a week, the average student with federal student loans will rack up an additional $1,000 in debt over the coming year. If Congress fails to act, more than 7 million students will suddenly be hit with the equivalent of a $1,000 tax hike. And that’s not something that you can afford right now.
Wow — just how much debt is the average student carrying? If a move from 3.4% to 6.8% could add $1000 in interest each year, that must be one heck of a loan.
Politico actually did the math, and suggests that Obama might have engaged in a little, er, “hyperbole”:
That was a bit of hyperbole. According to the Department of Education, if rates double, the borrower paying back the average Stafford loan would owe an additional $1,041 over the 12-year life of the loan. That would break down to $87 more annually, or about $7 more a month.
Jeryl Bier is aghast at the reporting:
“A bit of hyperbole”? A $7 per month interest increase morphs into a annual “$1,000 tax hike”, and that’s “a bit of hyperbole”? For crying out loud, it’s 25¢ per day! What’s next? Operation Fast and Furious is a “big fuss over a few guns”? Four years of one-trillion-dollar-plus deficits is “austerity”? With its recent fund raising appeals, this administration has already set its sights onrendering parody moot. Now it’s gunning for hyperbole, as well.
It adds up to fiscal incompetence by Obama and his staff, as well as media bias by Politico. Had George Bush made this kind of math error in prepared remarks on the very topic of the speech, we never would have heard “a bit of hyperbole” as the explanation.
Also, note that the White House has not corrected the error with an update on its website. That’s pretty amateurish as well — or maybe they still haven’t done the math correctly yet.
Update: John Nolte at Breitbart unloads on Politico for burying this:
And rather than make Obama pay a price for his never-ending series of outrageous lies, Politico buries this particular lie in a story about something else and though the magic of journOlist alchemy declares turning $87 into $1,000 “a bit of hyperbole.”
But this is the same corrupt Politico that not only gave Obama permission to continue lying about Romney’s outsourcing, they are also repeating the lie.
Update II: Breitbart changed the link, but I’ve updated it now. Also, while John generously credits me with making the bust, the credit really belongs to Jeryl.
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!