U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson Literally Adds Insult to Injury for One Million Wisconsin Student Loan Borrowers

Makes Public Comments Characterizing Students As Lazy Before Voting Against Common Sense Refinancing Plan to Help With $1.2 Trillion Student Loan Debt Crisis

MADISON, Wis. — This week U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson in a public appearance not only blamed students for the $1.2 trillion student loan debt crisis, he followed it up with a vote on the Senate floor against legislation that would have allowed student loans to be refinanced to take advantage of lower interest rates.

According to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, “This week Ron Johnson has literally added insult to injury to the 40 million American student loan borrowers, including 1 million in the state of Wisconsin who he’s supposed to be representing. He not only voted against a common sense plan to allow borrowers to refinance their student loans just like you can a mortgage, he also felt it appropriate to blame them for the crisis.

Based on his experience in the mid-1970’s, when his tuition at the University of Minnesota was 1,700 percent lower than it is today, millionaire Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson pointed to students themselves as causes of the crises of student loan debt and college affordability at a public appearance last weekend.

He followed up his public comments bashing students and nearly one million Wisconsin residents with student loan debt by voting against legislation offered on the floor of the Senate this week that would have allowed private and federal student loan borrowers to refinance those loans to take advantage of lower interest rates, just like you can with a mortgage.

Original research by One Wisconsin Institute, conducted both nationally and in Wisconsin, found that student loan debt has a significant and negative impact on borrowers economic activity and the economy as a whole. Individuals with student loan debt are significantly more likely to rent versus own their home and purchase a used versus new vehicle.

“Borrowers have done the right thing, they worked hard to get their education and they took on the personal responsibility to pay for it. They’re not asking for a bailout, just to be treated fairly. And they’ve earned the right to expect more than insults and votes against their future from Sen. Johnson,” concluded Ross.

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.