Recognize necessity of Pell Grants
We've said it before, and we'll say it again: One of the biggest flaws in the contemporary Republican Party is the insistence of most members that any instance of federal funding aiding private citizens is tantamount to robbery of the taxpayers. One of the most recent — and most ludicrous — examples of this is the comment made by Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., that Pell grants are a form of welfare. In radio interview with Blog Talk Radio on Friday, Rehberg said that Pell Grants are "turning out to be the welfare of the 21st century." We cannot believe that anyone would make such a statement.
Rehberg has obviously forgotten — or perhaps never realized — that investing in the higher education of our nation's students is an investment in the future of the United States. With rapidly rising tuition costs, many average people struggle with paying for college or graduate school. This is unfair to these people because the United States promises them opportunities, but they cannot take advantage of many of these opportunities without college degrees. Pell grants, then, are a way to level the playing field — they are not a way for people to leech off the system. Of course, we disagree with this characterization of welfare as a blanket statement, but it tends to be what Republicans like Rehberg think of welfare, so we'll level out enough to build our argument on his terms.
If you want to build a strong nation, you need a well-educated workforce. As things currently stand, the government does not invest nearly enough in higher education. Trying to cut back on Pell grants or take them away entirely would just make things worse for students. People who get through school and obtain degrees are often people who go on to give back to society. Why would Rehberg want fewer people giving back and making America a better place? Would he rather see more people having to resort to welfare because they cannot get a job, which pays a living wage? We highly doubt that, yet he delivers his comments with a straight face.
People like Rehberg need to realized they cannot cut every single inch of federal spending. Some of it — maybe even most of it — is necessary to make our country a great one. Federal money isn't dirty money. The sooner the GOP realizes that, the better things will be for all of us.