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March 13, 2004

Denying Students Aid for Drug Use

Murdered someone? Raped someone?

The government will give you loans and financial aid to pay for college.

Did some pot and got busted?

The government applies a lifetime ban for financial aid for college.

So any kid who messes up his life with drugs in high school has essentially committed permanent lifetime career suicide, since he'll never get financial help in straightening his life out with a college education.

Most odd-- the original author of the provision thinks it's being applied too harshly:

"It is absurd on the face of it," said Representative Mark Souder, Republican of Indiana.

Mr. Souder, who wrote the law, says the Clinton and Bush administrations have both turned it on its head, taking a penalty meant to discourage current students from experimenting with drugs and using it to punish people trying to get their lives back on track.

"I am an evangelic Christian who believes in repentance, so why would I have supported that?" he said. "Why would any of us in Congress?"

The "War on Drugs" has riddled our criminal code with absurdities and obscenities from end to end, but this provision is one of the most vicious ones-- snatching hope even from those who want to redeem their lives after earlier mistakes.

It's gotta go.

Posted by Nathan at March 13, 2004 07:37 AM