Romney’s (In)Correct: Obama’s “Gifts” for Young People - Higher Education

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Romney’s (In)Correct: Obama’s “Gifts” for Young People

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It is not often I agree with Mitt Romney. Actually, I have yet to remember an occasion when I agreed with Romney. But all good things (or bad things depending on your perspective) come to an end.

I agree with Mitt Romney! Well, I agree with one point he made during a 20-minute conference call Wednesday afternoon to fund-raisers and donors.

He told his hundreds of benefactors that President Barack Obama handed out gifts to “young people,” according to a The New York Times reporter allowed to listen in.

“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift,” Romney said. “Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.”

He is absolutely correct that college students received a gift from President Obama and turned out in huge numbers to show their appreciation.

Unfortunately, my agreeing with Romney ends there regarding college students. His truth ends there.

President Obama did not receive the votes of a “larger share” nationwide of 18-to-29 year-olds “than in 2008.” (He did receive more though in Florida, Ohio, and Virginia.)  Nor would many young people describe any of President Obama’s gifts as “a big gift.”

Forgiveness of college loan interest is certainly a nice gift.  But forgiveness of college loans, as I previously suggested, would have been a “big gift.”

Free contraceptives for “young, college-aged women” are certainly a nice gift. But free abortions, like France just voted to provide, would have been a “big gift.”

Extending the age under your parents plan is certainly a nice gift for young people struggling to find a job with benefits in this horrid economy. But free, universal health care, like many Western nation provide, would have been a “big gift.”

“The amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids,” to use Romney’s words in the conference call, was certainly a nice gift for those young people wanting to attend or stay in college. But amnesty for their parents would have been a “big gift.”

Pledging a willingness to increase federal investment in higher education is a nice gift. Funding our education industry like we do our defense industry would have been a “big gift.”

Romney you are correct. College students received some gifts from President Obama. But make no mistake about it, they did not receive any “big gifts.”

Students overwhelming voted for President Obama not only because they appreciated his nice, small gifts (while still yearning for the big ones), they recognized that Romney would not give them any gifts at all. In fact, Romney would take away the small gifts from President Obama marked “students” and redistribute those gifts to the wealthy.

Of course on the conference call, Romney did not discuss who would be the recipients of his gifts—that was understood by everyone listening.

Dr. Ibram H. Rogers is an assistant professor of Africana Studies at the University at Albany – SUNY. He is the author of The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965-1972 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

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