Federal student loans are unconstitutional and put the country on a path toward a WWII-style Holocaust, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) told his constituents yesterday.

Speaking at town hall meeting, Bartlett, who is struggling to keep his seat, responded to an audience member's question about government-issued student loans by saying he perused the Constitution and couldn't find anything in there to justify "that the federal government should be involved in education."

Though he conceded that giving students loans is "certainly a good idea," he went on to express consternation at the possibility that doing something that isn't expressly in the Constitution — such as issuing federal student loans — could lead to genocide.

"If you can ignore the Constitution to do something good today, tomorrow you will be ignoring the Constitution to do something bad," Barlett said. "There are more people in our, in America today of German ancestry than any other [inaudible]. The Holocaust that occurred in Germany - how in the heck could that happen? And when you start down the wrong road, it can be a very slippery slope."

Commenting on his boss's eyebrow-raising remarks, Bartlett campaign spokesman Ted Dacey told the Washington Post the congressman "has always been a strong believer in limited government," and is a "strong supporter of making college accessible to all Americans," evidenced by the fact that he donates "a substantial portion of his salary to help underprivileged students attend college."