Maryland Republican: Student Loans Could Lead To The Holocaust, Or Something

Ten term Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland had an interesting response to a constituents question at a recent appearance:

“I want to know how you feel about the government issuing student loans. Is that something that you’re for?” asked an audience member who identified herself as an instructor at the college.

“I’m for student loans. I want kids to have an education,” Bartlett responded. But he explained that he had read through the Constitution carefully and could find no evidence “that the federal government should be involved in education.” Then Bartlett expanded on that point.

“Not that it’s not a good idea to give students loans, it certainly is a good idea to give them loans,” Bartlett said. “But if you can ignore the Constitution to do something good today, tomorrow you will be ignoring the Constitution to do something bad. You could. There are more people in our, in America today of German ancestry than any other [inaudible]. The Holocaust that occurred in Germany — how in the heck could that happen? And when you start down the wrong road, it can be a very slippery slope.”

Here’s the video:

Now, there happen to be fairly good policy reasons for keeping the student loan business out of the hands of the government, but what the heck Bartlett thinks he was doing here completely escapes me.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Congress, Doug Mataconis, Quick Picks, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. mantis says:

    What a nut. And, of course, a proud member of the Tea Party Caucus.

    Maryland’s Fightin’ 6th, vote for John Delaney this November!




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  2. al-Ameda says:

    What a strange and bizarre analogy. I can’t believe that’s the first time Bartlett has been nutty. Well, that’s the guy the voters wanted.

    Seriously, maybe there’s an onset of Alzheimers happening here?




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  3. MBunge says:

    The guy probably isn’t as nutty as this seems. He’s just trapped in the mindset that only considers “big picture”, theoretical arguments over abstract principle and just won’t deal with issues on a more “nuts and bolts” level. Go back to the 60s and you’ll find that kind of thinking rampant on the Left. Now, it’s infested the Right.

    Mike




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  4. James H says:

    Wasn’t Roscoe Boss Hogg’s sidekick?




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  5. rudderpedals says:

    Mr. Bartlett sounds like a libertarian. He follows the formula

    1) Govt involvement in something extralegal
    2) Down that slippery slope
    3) ….. (Nazis || Bolsheviks || Chicoms)
    4) No Profit!!!

    Roscoe Bartlett is one of the few remaining colorful characters. I agree with him on absolutely nothing but hope he sticks around.




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  6. Console says:

    A government that can’t give loans? Does that mean they can’t give out t-bonds either? This guy obviously hasn’t thought through his position.

    Also:
    There are zero good reasons for keeping the student loan business away from the government. Even Milton Friedman got that right:

    https://webspace.utexas.edu/hcleaver/www/FriedmanRoleOfGovtEducation1955.htm

    In short, a private student loan industry (like all loan industries) has to lend by ability to pay, or at high interest rates, or not at all. All stupid barriers to developing human capital that do nothing other than entrench social mobility for the privileged.




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  7. C. Clavin says:

    The Constitution requires a Postal Service…but no where does it say anything about trucks, or computers, or even stamps. Therefore…




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  8. Rick Almeida says:

    Like so many Tea Partiers, he missed the parts about “promote the general welfare” and the “necessary and proper” clause.




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  9. Rafer Janders says:

    But he explained that he had read through the Constitution carefully and could find no evidence “that the federal government should be involved in education.”

    I want someone to tell me where in the Constitution it authorizes us to have an Air Force. An army and a navy, sure, I see that. But the Air Force? It’s just not in there.




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  10. Rafer Janders says:

    The Holocaust that occurred in Germany — how in the heck could that happen?

    Oooh, oooh, I know, I know! Pick me! Pick me!

    Was it the Nazi government’s profligate handing out of student loans?




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  11. Lib Cap says:

    So… No comment on this one, as I usually try not to speak poorly of the actions of the crazy.

    However…

    You may find this interesting, as I found it when I was looking up the fact that “god” is not in the constitution.

    Here is another interesting list of “Things that are NOT in the constitution“.

    http://www.usconstitution.net/constnot.html

    For those who want a short list:

    • The Air Force
    • Congressional Districts
    • The Electoral College
    • Executive Order
    • Executive Privilege
    • Freedom of Expression
    • (Absolute) Freedom of Speech and Press
    • “From each according to his ability…”
    • God
    • Immigration
    • Impeachment means removal from office
    • Innocent until proven guilty
    • It’s a free country
    • Judicial Review
    • Jury of Peers
    • “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”
    • Marriage
    • Martial Law
    • No taxation without representation
    • Number of Justices in the Supreme Court
    • “Of the people, by the people, for the people”
    • Paper Money
    • Political Parties
    • Primary Elections
    • Qualifications for Judges
    • The right to privacy
    • The right to travel
    • The right to vote
    • The separation of church and state
    • The Separation of Powers Clause
    • Slavery
    • “We hold these truths to be self-evident”
    • Education
    • Democracy
    • Capitalism




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  12. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Yet another blog post that recalls the “I shot the clerk” scene from “My Cousin Vinny,” and also which demonstrates an inability to separate the literal from the figurative nor to engage in critical thinking by way of analogy.

    What Bartlett is saying is obvious. All you have to do is read his comments without any preconceived notions and without any preexisting desire reflexively to contest what he’s saying.

    Bartlett doesn’t believe the federal government has the power under the Constitution to fund education. Bartlett is concerned that when a government exceeds its authority in one arena, although admittedly for colloquially benign purposes, there is the attendant risk that down the road it could exceed its authority in other areas, and perhaps not in a benign way but instead for nefarious purposes. Hence the “slipperly slope” reference. A historical analogy to that phenomenon occurred in Germany during the 1930’s and 1940’s. 1+1+1 = 3, not 7.




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  13. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Oops, “slippery slope,” that is.




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  14. mantis says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Bartlett is concerned that when a government exceeds its authority in one arena, although admittedly for colloquially benign purposes, there is the attendant risk that down the road it could exceed its authority in other areas, and perhaps not in a benign way but instead for nefarious purposes. Hence the “slipperly slope” reference.

    Yes, we think he is nuts for thinking there is a slippery slope from student loans to genocide. It is nuts to think so. You are apparently as nutty as this fool.




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  15. Davebo says:

    Now, there happen to be fairly good policy reasons for keeping the student loan business out of the hands of the government

    Do share with us Doug. Should the government just shut up and guarantee the loans while allowing banks to reap profits from them?

    What exactly are your “good policy reasons”.? And do they include a cool leather jacket?




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  16. ratufa says:

    I think that some of you are being too hard on Bartlett. In fact, I think that every politician who believes as he does should declare that, since Social Security and Medicare aren’t in the Constitution, the government should stop funding those programs as well.




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  17. michael reynolds says:

    @mantis:

    Dude, that’s how it started in Germany: student loans.




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  18. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @MBunge: Good point! I was there and one of the origins of the Neocon movement was that liberalism had the same kinds of intellectual poverty as this wingnut is exhibiting.

    By the 80s, The New Republic was advertising for writers with “Rethink Liberalism, and Get Paid for It.” The “rethinkers” include Charles Krauthammer and Andrew Sullivan.




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  19. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Console:

    All stupid barriers to developing human capital that do nothing other than entrench social mobility for the privileged.

    Isn’t that was Doug is refering to when he says

    there happen to be fairly good policy reasons for keeping the student loan business out of the hands of the government

    ?




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  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    There are more people in our, in America today of German ancestry than any other [inaudible]. The Holocaust that occurred in Germany — how in the heck could that happen?

    I think he just lost the vote of every person of German descent in his district.




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  21. pto892 says:

    Note that I live in the 6th district and Roscoe has been Representative For Life as long as I can remember. Western Maryland is not like the rest of the state and includes a fair slice of Appalachia. It’s mostly rural but does include three fair sized cities (Frederick, Hagerstown, and Cumberland), the politics tends to be dominated by Republicans who rail against the big spenders down ‘Naplis way. Because of redistricting Roscoe is now locked in a real reelection fight against John Delaney. A big chunk of Montgomery County (i.e., the DC suburbs) has been thrown into the 6th, and it’s safe to say most of those voters will go for Delaney. So it goes.

    Roscoe has always been a bit like this, except this time the crazy train left the station. He’s got a core of fellow crazy train passengers who will vote for him no matter what. He has always won reelection handily, but his advantage has been largely neutralized. I’m wondering if he was trying to rally the troops by doing the Roscoe version of the dog whistle in Cumberland, and failed badly. Here’s the thing about Roscoe though-even though he’s a nut he’s also been a pretty good representative. His constituent services are decent and responsive and are well in tune with what the 6th actually needs. I have to wonder if Delaney will be as good a rep on the ground as Roscoe has been, but then again Delaney isn’t insulting half his potential constituents. And yes, Roscoe did do just that because among other things Western Maryland has a long historical link to Germany and all things German.




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  22. My first semester at a California State University cost me $89 in tuition.

    It’s hard for me, with that memory, to think that student loans are the best solution.

    Costs are the problem, and loans actually pass the buck to the student.




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  23. This response to MRUniversity by Matthew Yglesia addresses costs and who bears them.




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  24. Rick Almeida says:

    @john personna:

    I wish someone could explain to me how watching a bunch of 5-10 minute videos does a lot of educating.




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  25. @Rick Almeida:

    No problem, here you go.

    The visual is probably the key thing to note ;-). It isn’t just ideas that are opposed. It’s successes.




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