/ Betsy DeVos

Education Secretary Flunks History and Math by Inventing an Obamacare Story

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos might need a special tutor to get her up to speed on the job.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is lucky to have a job: She was the first Cabinet nominee ever to require a vice presidential tiebreaker vote.

Since then she hasn't done much to instill faith in the half of the Senate that voted against her. One recent example: She told a reporter the reason interest rates on his student loans were so high was because of Obamacare.

The federal government took over student loans completely right after the economic downturn. And so … the market for student loans has been basically controlled by the federal government. … And, the federalizing of student loans was ostensibly to help pay for Obamacare. So you’re helping to pay for Obamacare, I guess, with your student loans.


The idea of cutting out the middleman and lending directly to students predated Obamacare. What's more, the Congressional Budget Office says it saved $61 billion — which was pumped back into Pell Grants for needy students.

Obamacare has been funded by much-maligned tax penalties against people who don't buy insurance and employers who don't offer adequate coverage.

So that has nothing to do with interest rates on student loans. According to the Department of Federal Student Aid — which DeVos ostensibly oversees — student loan interest rates are set by Congress.

This happens every year, and it happened just a few months ago, in fact — long before DeVos gave that terrible answer. It's certainly something the Secretary should have known given that it's her job to know.

Of course, it's possible she wasn't paying attention or simply lacks the staff to inform her of the basics. Her department suffers the same chaotic mismanagement plaguing Trump's entire administration: Senior staff roles remain unfilled a year after the election, and the leadership is woefully underqualified.

Certainly DeVos played the victim after her confirmation hearing, complaining to Politico that she was "undercoached." You might remember that hearing, during which she flubbed basic questions about existing higher education laws and suggested guns should be allowed on campus to protect against grizzly bears.

Secretary, educate thyself. Please.

Photo by Shutterstock

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