As observed from Rep. Eric Swalwell’s vantage point, it begins to seem forgivable that his fellow members of Congress have failed to develop an effective response to the student-loan and college-affordability predicament:
‘[O]ne, over half of Congress is made up of millionaires and, two, most of the people in Congress went to college at a time when it was affordable. … So they’re completely — or doubly — disconnected from the problem.’
A reason it’s a wider concern for society, in the Democratic presidential hopeful’s view, is that the financial burden causes college graduates to defer dreams of entrepreneurship and home ownership — to the extent that ”how big is your debt” is “like a first-date conversation now.”
His remedies? To (a.) bring the interest rate to zero percent on federal student loans, and (b.) allow employers to contribute tax-free, in the manner of a retirement-savings contribution, toward employee student-loan debt as part of a competitive benefits package. Further, community college should, per Swalwell, be tuition-free, and a four-year university education should be debt-free for those who engage in work-study during their undergraduate years and then fulfill a commitment to perform a prescribed number of community-service hours early in their careers. “So you work for college, [and] college works for you.”
Seeking to present his candidacy as one of “go big” ideas and goals, Swalwell went on, in the podcast interview conducted earlier this month, to pitch, for health care, a buy-in and, for the “national crisis” of gun violence, a buyback.
A public-option buy-in for health insurance is, in Swalwell’s formulation, “Medicare for anyone who wants it.”
He has proposed an assault-rifle ban that’s coupled with a market-rate buyback, while supporting background checks and a national firearm registry and holding gun manufacturers legally liable. “I say, keep your pistols, your long guns, your rifles,” he said. Assault rifles, he said, “are just different” and represent “100% of the fear that a student has when they’re in their classroom.”
Swalwell spoke in a one-on-one interview with Tommy Vietor of Crooked Media, the partisan podcast and events company founded by Vietor and other Obama administration alumni, but he noted in the interview that he welcomes appearances on Fox News — a hot-button issue among the Democratic presidential field of late, with Elizabeth Warren calling Fox a for-profit hate machine as she turned down a town-hall invitation and Pete Buttigieg defending with surgical precision his decision to take part in a Fox town hall and then winning a standing ovation at its conclusion — for a particularized reason:
‘It is probably the only way my parents can see me on TV.’
Swalwell, who represents a California district in the House but hails from western Iowa, explained that his parents had been known to display a Trump-Pence magnet on their refrigerator. “I hope that’s come down since I announced,” he said.
Watch the complete interview: