The defeat of student loan refinancing Updated: Friday, June 13, 2014 KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Twenty-five million Americans saddled with high-interest student loans lost a chance Wednesday to have their rates lowered when Senate Republicans shot down legislation that would have allowed them to refinance their debt.The bill was defeated, even as concerns are growing that mounting student debt is hampering economic recovery from the great recession because former students are so financially strapped and starved for higher paying jobs that they can't participate in our economy.Tonight in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says it's another example of our growing great, partisan shaped economic divide.=====================So many things in this world are the result of to whom you are born. At birth you don't choose whether you're going to be a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim. You don't choose to be poverty-stricken or wealthy. You don't get to choose the color of your skin. Nor whether you live winters in a deep freeze or in warmth and sunshine.You pretty much become a product of your environment.It's the accident of birth.So its nobody's fault that 70 percent of the college students in this country have to borrow money to chase dreams of being engineers, scientists, social workers, programmers, pharmacists, cops, prosecutors, defenders, entrepreneurs and so on.So with the student debt burden up around $1.3 trillion, with the default rate approaching 15 percent, and with so many young people unable to buy homes, cars, start businesses--unable to participate in and contribute to our economy in any meaningful way--it stood to reason that our Congress would ride in to the rescue.Not to wipe our their debt. But to restructure it so students could save thousands of dollars with lower interest rates.After all, we do it all the time. We want people to give to charity, so we offer tax breaks for donations; we want people to own homes, we devise tax breaks. We give deductions for children to encourage families. Corporations get tax breaks on things most of us can't comprehend.And who needs the help more right now? The banks and lending companies that ran our country into the sewer a few years ago? Or young Americans who are going to be leading the charge in the years ahead?I thought I knew the answer to that. But I was wrong.The Senate shot it down. It needed 60 votes to carry--it got 58.Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who surely must have come to us from some parallel universe, said "Senate Democrats don't actually want a solution for their students. They want an issue to campaign on."Seems to me he just gave it to them.Now, there was a catch to the bill that was introduced by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren: to take up any slack the refinancing of student debt might have created, the bill would have added a small tax on wealthy households. Not the kind of burden that would have altered anyone's life style."With this vote," Warren said, "we show the American people who we work for in the United States Senate: billionaires or students."After years of speculation, now we know.In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.