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Sorry, Clinton And Sanders, There's No Such Thing As Free College

"The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see." - Ayn Rand

Candidates for the Democratic Party's nomination for president, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, have both promised that if elected, they would put forth legislation that would dramatically reduce tuition and student debt for public universities in one form or another. This opportunity is a lie in itself. In order for the federal government to pay for all these students, it would be necessary for more tax money to get funneled to students who hold no real obligation to complete their degrees, and a lot of students who should not have gone to college in the first place would get degrees they don't know what to ultimately do with.

The first issue to bring up regarding this progressive scheme to attract millennial voters is the financing of this project. Lindsey Burke, a researcher at the Heritage Foundation, pointed out in her Daily Signal article, "Why Free Community College Is Anything But Free", a fundamental issue with financing tuition free 2-year college alone:

"Once again, the administration is pursuing initiatives to subsidize rising costs, instead of working with Congress on policies that actually would address the driver of college cost increases: the open spigot of federal student aid. Over the past several decades, college costs have risen at more than twice the rate of inflation, thanks in large part to federal subsidies."

By sending more grants and subsidizing higher education even more, that bad habit only creates the incentive for schools to drive up the costs, the ultimate reason behind soaring tuition rates. Because of this effect, every year students take out thousands of dollars in student loans to cover the cost of an education they can't afford, in order to get a degree for a job that doesn't exist or isn't available, leaving them with debt and unemployment. This betrayal of the American people takes away from ways people can still invest in themselves without being slaves to debts owned by the banks.

The idea behind free community college alone isn't about greater access to education. In today’s world, information is everywhere thanks to greater access to technologies and the internet, bridging the gaps between social mobility and economic opportunity greater than any point in human history. Looking at great sources like a local library or even the online Khan Academy alone shows just several ways people can access knowledge on their own accord. These resources are free and readily available to the entire public, the only thing that free community college would do is grow faux credentials by inflating the number of degree holders and promote more obtrusive, more burdensome, federal regulation.

The problem behind the average $29,000 student debt in America is obvious, and the reason why Sanders and Clinton don't want to talk about it is because its extremely easy to win votes by promising to give people something by taking the money, and resources from other people, by use of the government in order to provide it. Burke brings about a common sense solution to address this madness:

"Allow markets in higher education to work by limiting federal subsidies instead of increasing them, and costs will fall for students attending colleges of all types."

The second point is that the two candidates assume that there will be jobs waiting for the influx in college graduates. In a speech Sanders gave on August 11th:

"It makes no sense to me that when we need nurses, we need doctors, we need dentists, we need more people involved in healthcare, that when people leave school, for the crime of wanting to be involved in healthcare, they have enormous debts. That makes no sense... I will fight to implement as president, that will make every public college and university in America tuition-free."

Just looking at that one quote alone should point out two instant things Sanders fails to understand:

1) Sanders is the reason there are so few medical professionals right now- In my recent article discussing why Bernie Sanders is wrong about healthcare being a human right, I showed how Obamacare (which Sanders voted for and still supports expansion of) has led to the decrease in doctors and medical professionals since its implementation. According to a recent study :

"... The analysis finds that exchange plan networks include 42 percent fewer oncology and cardiology specialists; 32 percent fewer mental health and primary care providers; and 24 percent fewer hospitals. Importantly, care provided by out-of-network providers does not count toward the out-of-pocket limits put in place by the ACA."

2) Government doesn't decide what jobs are needed, markets do- FreedomWorks policy analyst Logan Albright spoke of how the Obama administration distorts market projections when he stated that:

"...Throughout his presidency, Obama has labored under the delusion that a liberal arts education is the best thing for absolutely everybody. But we are living in a time when trade and vocational schools are becoming extremely important, as are technical colleges, and the good old-fashioned work experience that led dropouts like Bill Gates to become great entrepreneurs."

This should be common sense, someone with a degree in 18th century French basket weaving studies (I made that degree up, but would it surprise you if it existed ?) is gonna have a hard time getting a career started since there is literally no market for someone who is an expert in 18th century French basket weaving studies. The reason why I choose this metaphor is because most of America's students fail to understand that some degrees just have a terrible return on investment in the long run. Unless Clinton and Sanders start controlling the economy directly and can manipulate supply and demand, that scenario would also have to force them to limit what people learn and what degrees they have to choose from. That's the fault that progressives ignore, risk! When little Johnny Graduate graduates from high school and decides to major in 18th century French basket weaving studies, that is the risk he is taking,his money, his time, and ultimately his life choices; Johnny Graduate alone is responsible for himself and has to deal with the results of his decisions without dragging down other people with him, or using government to fulfill his entitlements through force and coercion.

The federal government subsidizes this bad behavior already by giving schools who want a profit, and students who want a degree, a financial steroid which creates falsified hope and pushes the real issue down the road. Bernie Sanders specifically should not be taken seriously at all (not that I am suggesting Clinton is any more economically literate), since it should be a red flag that anyone would be advocating for socialism in America while socialist Europe is literally falling apart.

Gary Archambault's picture
Gary Archambault

Is $33 dollars a year per person in taxes OK for everyone to have free college?
That was Obama's old plan.

Danie Allison's picture
Danie Allison

@Freedmfiter The war in Iraq is $815 per person. Is that okay?

Freedmfiter's picture

NO it is NOT ok. We need to be responsible for ourselves. The federal government has an insatiable appetite for spending taxpayer money on bleeding heart projects, yes FREE education is a bleeding heart project - we just have to help this group or the other - and once they do, they congratulate themselves for looking out for the needy - it' so damn easy to give away my money, makes me sick. Only $33 here and $50 there $100 somewhere else. It will never stop!

LGilbert's picture

I have recently received an invitation to take part in a conference phone call from the White House concerning what college students can do to push this free community college agenda. It says it is off the record and that the president will be talking about it in his state of the union address. I am currently a community college student and This invitation was sent to me through the honors society which I belong too. The White House is going after the student leaders. It is my intention to attend this phone call and record it. I will be posting it on every medium I can find. If we know the strategy we can defeat it. The phone call will be taking place on Sept. 2nd.

Arthur Facteau's picture
Arthur Facteau

Shane G., let me get this actually think that a person 'pretending' to have the answer to a problem then the one who does not have one? Really? It never occurred to you that the one that tells you flat out, 'I don't have all the answers' is being honest, and the other is a liar, and you would rather vote for the liar?
Wow. No wonder we are where we are at this point...

ShaneG's picture

You can go on and on about how wrong Bernie Sanders is, but until Republicans give an alternative solution where I still have a chance at a successful life, Bernie has my vote. As a millennial who is starting college in a year - there is nothing scarier then the thought of being trapped in an endless debt just so I can have a job where I make more then $8 an hour. I know that my family cannot afford college, I also know that by taking a student loan you are screwing yourself and the rest of your life. Stop focusing on proving others wrong, because quite frankly, we don't care. Instead, start focusing on coming up with the right answer, because right now all you are doing is showing us that you don't know what to do about it, and if Bernie is at least pretending to know what to do, then he is the better candidate.

PS: The title of this post is stupid. Many countries have free education. Just because it doesn't exist here, doesn't mean it doesn't exist - look at Germany, Sweden, France, and many more.

Steven Black's picture
Steven Black

These countries also have 50+% income taxes. Would you approve of that?

Ionakana Jon Weimer's picture
Ionakana Jon Weimer

The best alternative solution that gives you a chance at a successful life involves getting government out of the way, not getting them more involved. I imagine if you did a small amount of research, you'd find plenty of ideas specific to lowering the actual cost of education (vs. just shifting it from students to taxpayers). You might even find some ideas that are supported by Republican politicians (though more likely if they lean Libertarian). Bottom line, we have a much greater problem having jobs (specifically, private-sector jobs) for the college-educated kids who are graduating than we do educating kids. Regardless of your feelings about shifting the cost of education from students to taxpayers, I think it's safe to say nothing about the "free education" idea helps create more jobs--that would just create more college-educated kids who still have a terrible time finding a job.

Freedmfiter's picture

Excuse me ShaneG, but just who do you think is going to pay for your free education; the tooth fairy?

Joan Null's picture
Joan Null

I can appreciate that the future looks frightening from where you stand. Unfortunately, Bernie isn't leveling with you about "free college" -- he just promising you something you desperately want in order to buy your vote. The truth is that there is no education in any country that is "free". The students themselves, may not be required to pay the tuition, but somebody has to pay it -- those college professors won't work without a paycheck. The problem is that the government does not have any money of it's own to give to anyone. The government cannot 'give' to anyone what it does not first 'take away' from someone else -- they use taxpayer money for everything. That's how every "free" thing is paid for.

pl21224's picture

If government wants to make college free, then stop paying the Professors and Administrators. They could then apply for a welfare check.

_sonnyjr's picture

"a lot of students who should not have gone to college in the first place would get degrees they don't know what to ultimately do with" That's true, if someone gets an art degree they probably won't find an art job, but hopefully their core curriculum will educate them enough to not vote conservative/republican/libertarian.

ShaneG's picture

Please don't compare Libertarians to the mental retardation that is Republicans and Conservatives, thank you.

pl21224's picture

Essentially you are admitting to the fact that colleges have become little more than Indoctrination Centers for Left wing thinking.

James8335's picture

Junior did you not understand the article? Perhaps you are the one with an art degree and no job. Keeping voting for tge liberal,progressive,democratic solcialists and the debt and unemployment will be worse.