Hillary’s Free College Flyer

Democrat Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has proposed that college education should be free, or at least no one should incur debt when pursuing the first four years. Hmmm.

When one examines the current state of higher education, there are some glaring short comings which smack you right away, For example,

  • Many Americans are racking up $100,000+ personal debt to attain undergraduate and graduate degrees.
  • On top of that, many of these debt loaded graduates are unable to land jobs and if successful, too often these jobs do not pay enough to live and make debt payments.
  • And worst of all, many students run up huge amounts of debt only to drop out of school without a degree.

Not a pretty picture.

The Progressive answer seems to hinge upon the Government somehow shielding students from the debt burden. Advertised as “free” education, we are once again pursuing the preverbal free lunch. Nothing is going to happen with this proposal.

Free college education is certainly a government service which voters could decide was a good thing. Free public schools and universal health care (single payer) are two other government services voters have or could decide were essential. Reality, however, will demand that “government” deal with four associated issues,

  • nothing is free
  • tax revenues must be raised to cover the actual costs.
  • there needs to be a control method to keep the costs of these services from skyrocketing. (Any business will seek to expand its offering and the selling price that goes with the offering. When the government is the “payor”, there is often little reason not to raise the price as much as possible.)
  • It should not be overlooked that any such “free education” system also needs some method to ensure the product delivered is “as advertised”.

Hillary’s “campaign appealing” suggestion has the potential to (1) tax a minority of Americans to help educate many Americans, (2) unintentionally increase the cost of education for all Americans, and (3) still deliver a substandard product or one simply unsuited for gaining “good” paying jobs in real life. Is that a trifecta?

Hillary’s “free college education” pledge may have long term benefits but not without provisions that control the prices college charge and ensure the education product is both appropriate and of consistent quality necessary to obtain a “good” job.

Pragmatically, it seems funding must ultimately involve a broadly based tax base where each person using government funded education pays too (taxes or maybe community service) so they know they are covering the “free education” for the next person.

Sadly, a GOP proposal for “free college” education would be suspected as disingenuous (probably a proposal never meant for implementation or if sincere, meant only for certain groups).  On the other hand, a Democrat proposal would be (should be) suspected of being naively formulated (good in intent, poorly thought through for unintended consequences).  Hmmm.

That’s politics, I guess.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2106 Presidential election, education, free lunch, Hillary Clinton, Politics, taxes, universal healthcare

4 Comments on “Hillary’s Free College Flyer”

  1. List of X Says:

    Hillary Clinton hasn’t proposed anything that hasn’t already been proven to work in other countries: several European countries already have free public education, and Australia has a system where higher education is free, but those who get it pay an extra tax.
    Also, I disagree that free public education will raise prices – if one can get a decent degree for free, most of the 2nd and 3rd tier private colleges with their $50-60K tuition won’t look nearly as appealing.

    • X, I would like to hope your observations were sufficient and no other government action are need… but the data is disturbing… College costs are rising about 5% per year (versus inflation of about 2%) and annual college cost increases have outpaced medical, median income, and the consumer price index for almost 30 years (http://educationandclass.com/category/working-class/).

      In Europe, as with two dozen other modern countries, health care is managed to produce as good or better health outcomes, for all residents, at half the US per capita costs. Education, although not totally free, is far more available and at well subsidized amounts. In both of these cases, there are controls on what the private sector can charge as well as what standards they must meet.

      In this post my point is not that the US could not (should not) do the same, but rather, it must do so with some extra controls. Americans are too susceptible to the “free lunch” syndrome and as visible every day drug companies will charge unconscious high prices for life saving cancer therapies (way beyond the amount for a fair return on investment)…

      I submit that Republicans won’t champion “free education” because they fundamentally accept the class separation, and Democrats will champion “free education” but will not complete the job with proper standards and controls.

  2. Terrant Says:

    One thing to note is that a country with socialized (free) education is going to have more and better educated workers than one without. Guess where the good jobs will likely be going? While there is something to be said for pulling oneself up by their bootstraps, that philosophy does have the side effect of putting one in a competitive disadvantage.

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