Free Markets, Free People

Government creates a problem and then offers a solution

In a formula as old as government itself, we see a government created problem (it takes over student loans, college costs inflate, college debt burden increases) and now Hillary Clinton, in the guise of future government, offers a solution.  Let’s make college affordable again (or, in other words, shift $350 billion of the cost to taxpayers).

Hillary Rodham Clinton will announce a $350 billion plan Monday to make college affordable and relieve the burden of student debt for millions of Americans, drawing on popular tenets of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. …

At the heart of the plan, dubbed the New College Compact, is an incentive program that would provide money to states that guarantee “no-loan” tuition at four-year public universities and community colleges. States that enroll a high number of low- and middle-income students would receive more money, as would those that work with schools to reduce living expenses. Because Pell grants, a form of federal aid for students from families making less than $60,000, are not included in the no-debt calculation, Clinton anticipates lower income students could use that money to cover books, as well as room and board.

This is like Obamacare … just a step toward “free” college.  Obviously, an estimate of $350 billion is likely to be woefully short of the real cost (they always are).  And when the program crashes and burns, well, the next logical step (at least to “progressives” who have no clue about economics)  will be to make college “free”, like many other “progressive” countries.  Because, you know, wish it to be so and it will be so!

C. Ronald Kimberling analyzes the initiative:

Hillary’s plan for higher education violates so many principles of the Constitution, federal law, and economic common sense that it takes the breath away. In a nutshell, she would spend $350 billion a year to support public (i.e., governmental) colleges and universities with the proviso that a two-year associate’s degree would be “free” to students and a four-year degree would cause no one to have to incur student loan costs. In exchange for direct federal subsidies to the public colleges, states would be required to appropriate more funds for such colleges, Pell Grants could be used only for student living expenses, interest rates on existing student loans would be reduced to eliminate federal “profits” on such loans, and for-profit colleges would be subjected to even stronger regulations than at present.

Her plan is significantly more expensive than the ideas put forward by self-described socialist Senator Bernie Sanders. Constitutionally, this violates the 10th Amendment, and it also violates the Department of Education Organization Act. It also runs counter to fifty years of bipartisan tradition, stemming from the Higher Education Act of 1965, which settled a 1950s-60s debate about whether federal aid to higher education should focus on direct subsidies of higher education institutions or on portable, voucher-like assistance to students in favor of the latter alternative. It places unfunded mandates on the states, and it enhances a public higher education monopoly of government-run colleges over private non-profits and for-profits, both of which are completely excluded from this federal largesse. All this takes place at a time when technology and disruptive innovation are creating more alternatives to traditional post-secondary education than we ever had before. In short, she takes President Obama’s regulatory approach toward enhancing a public sector monopoly and puts it in warp drive. Even I am flabbergasted by the audacity and scope of this proposal.

Again, looking at Obamacare, we know Constitutional or legal limits are hardly an obstacle.  She might have a bit of difficulty getting through a Republican Congress but that assumes a Republican Congress.  Given their performance these last 2 years, you have to wonder.  And you certainly have to wonder about the Supreme Court, if it ever got to that stage.  They’d likely find a “right” to higher education somewhere in some mythical document (certainly not the Constitution) with John Roberts being the 5th vote for.

Sanders, of course, plans on taxing “Wall Street transactions” to pay for his plan.  Clinton just plans to “close loopholes” – the catch all phrase for tax hikes.  Most likely, they’d end up borrowing it.

Ed Morrissey notes:

One might wonder why, when we borrow 40% of the money the federal government spends, that we’re discussing a $350 billion plan at all for anything except defense. But if the government wants to spend money on education, perhaps a better target would be primary education, and a better plan would be school choice to better prepare students for higher education down the road. Perhaps we can teach them the real definition of affordable somewhere along the way, too.

Oh … and perhaps we can get the government out of the loan business and make it a competitive sphere again?

Yeah, that’s going to happen.


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9 Responses to Government creates a problem and then offers a solution

  • I think the underlying purpose is to push up the qualification level of current legal residents so when illegal alien workers are normalized and unemployment sky rockets at the low end, the unemployment can infiltrate all levels of jobs qualification. Unemployment is great for Democrats. They love it and want more. They want to inflict it on all rungs of the middle class.

  • I see a way forward with this.
    Simply tax the hell out of anybody, including Donald Trump, who donates to the Clinton Foundation.

    • Not just anybody dood!!!!
      Only the rich man, only the rich.
      And people who have 401k’s.
      And houses
      And cars that are valued at more than $10,000
      And people who have saving accounts of course
      Dog owners

  • The push to make community college universal would, in one generation, make it as worthless as a HS degree. Thanks to Griggs vs. Duke, the only legal way to demonstrate superior intelligence is through superior credentials, however unrelated to the task at hand. It’s a great scam for the educrats — who wouldn’t want artificial demand for their “product”? But as a normative social policy, it’s a very poor choice.

    • Hey, there’s a guy with a moose and a sign out here, yelling something like “Hill a ree, Hill a ree”. Is that Korean, er whut…???

  • Yesssssssssssssss

    Buuuuuuuuurn I say. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurn.

  • If you do the math, it seems that $35 billion a year just doesn’t go that far.

    $350,000,000,000 / 25 million students = $14,000 per student

    When you hear of $100,000 debts after school, $14,000 doesn’t seem like a lot.

  • There seems to be some kind of general affliction among politicians, above and beyond the obvious sociopathy. As soon as they’re elected to office, they instantly and completely forget how to do math.

    • Awwww – I think the only math most of them do is recognizing an increase in their personal wealth.
      I think when it comes to hard stuff like extrapolating realistic costs they’re completely lost.

      Worse yet, the numbers people fling around now are so huge it’s difficult to get one’s arms around – too many times I think they’ve picked a big sounding number for their estimated costs.
      God knows trying to read the documents they produce takes special courses in bureaucratese – “amendment 6 to paragraph A subsection 1, part b will now read “and we’ll take the money from their bank accounts” see section 1 USSC #374-514-1 Title IX”