Education has always been central to the American Dream: the promise that if you work hard, you can achieve anything. Unfortunately, the skyrocketing cost of student loan debt means that when millions of Americans should be building their careers, starting their families, and pursuing their dreams, they are instead being held back.
In principle, Saturday's vote to keep the government open should be the perfect curtain-raiser for the political debates between now and the 2016 election. As their price for averting a government shutdown, Republicans demanded and got a gutting of one of the most important provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, preventing banks from speculating with government insured money. Agencies hated by Republicans such as the Environmental Protection Agency took big cuts, and a rider was inserted permitting "mountaintop removal" coal mining once again. Another extraneous provision demanded by conservatives permits massive increase in individual campaign contributions. Far worse will be directed at ordinary working families when the new Congress meets in January.