Pandermonium: Obama woos youth vote, calls for slightly lighter crushing burden of student loans

The bad news? Thanks in part to the Hopenchange economy, fully half of his target demographic will have no means of repaying their debt after they graduate, no matter how low the interest rate is. The “good” news? No paycheck means no FICA, so they’ll be spared temporarily from contributing to an unsustainable entitlement system that’s ripping them off by promising benefits it can’t hope to pay by the time they reach 65.

There’s nothing in O’s speech about Romney, as you’ll see — Mitt made sure of that yesterday — but Democrats are ready to force a tough vote on Senate Republicans sometime soon.

Senate Democrats and the White House have agreed to pay for a bill to freeze student loan interest rates for a year by raising payroll taxes on so-called S Corporations, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa., said on Tuesday…

Harkin spoke minutes after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he will introduce within the next day a bill to prevent interest rates from doubling to 6.8 percent on July 1. That sets up Senate action on the bill next month after senators return May 7 from a one-week recess…

Democrats note that Republicans on the Select Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction — the so-called super committee — claimed last fall they would consider raising a tax increase on S Corporations. Several GOP aides said the Democrats’ decision to attach the offset will ensure strong GOP opposition and the bill’s defeat in the Senate.

Having Republicans block the vote is fine with the White House, of course, as it’ll end up pitting the Senate GOP against the party’s nominee on this issue. According to exit polls in 2008, Obama beat McCain 66/32 among voters aged 18 to 29; according to a recent poll taken by Harvard, Obama leads Romney among the same group … 43/26. (His margin among 18-to-24 year olds, some of whom weren’t old enough to be part of Generation O four years ago, is just 12 points.) How far is he willing to go to pander to them? This far:

During a musical number, the students in the audience were on their feet, clapping and cheering.

After Fallon said he wanted to “slow-jam the news,” Obama came out from behind a curtain at 2:28 p.m., to wild cheers from the crowd.

“I’m president Barack Obama, and I, too, want to slow-jam the news,” the president said.

You earned your votes today, champ, I’ll give you that. When you’re done with the clip, spend a few minutes on this dispiriting WSJ piece from a few days ago about college grads who are so deep in debt they have to put off marriage and children to pay the bills. Private loans with variable interest rates are especially taxing, but even the lower-rate federal loans haven’t prevented many more defaults than the government officially recognizes. The bubble’s getting bigger. How much longer until it pops?

Update: Commenters are noting that our nominee has the very same position as O on this. Indeed. That’s my point in saying that Mitt made sure that Obama couldn’t attack him on this point — he played politics in order to pander to the youth vote himself. What happens now when the Senate GOP filibusters the Democrats’ bill?