"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.