Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders Hates Rich People, Wants to Send Their Kids to College for Free

Democratic socialist plan for higher education is anything but



Bernie Sanders has vowed to make the public more amenable to his brand of democratic socialism by explaining to them what the philosophy actually entails. But during a recent interview on Bill Maher's show—an interview that started out with Maher firmly on board the make-socialism-popular train, and ended with the host shooting down all of Sanders' ideas on grounds of unaffordability—the Vermont senator and presidential candidate utterly failed to explain what was democratic or socialist about his policies.

This is typical of Sanders. Given all the lip service he pays to income inequality—to the idea that the game is rigged in favor of the 1 percent—one would think he has a plan to restructure society so that wealth and power are redistributed fairly by some kind of democratic collective. But so far, Sanders is mostly offering tired leftist policies that benefit the exact people he is otherwise keen to demonize: corporations and the wealthy.

Take his much touted plan to make college "free" for all public university students (at a cost of $70 billion in its first year). Sanders told Maher:

"Public college, free tuition to public colleges and universities. You know how we pay for that? Through a tax on Wall Street speculation."

Yes, let's stick really stick it to those rich Wall Street bankers! Let's… pay their kids' tuition!

Indeed, college degrees are status symbols of wealthy Americans. Kids from rich families attend college at much higher rates than kids from poor families. Cost is obviously a structural barrier for disadvantaged teens, but so are application struggles, rockier high school careers, and a host of other problems. If the goal is to make college accessible for more poor and middle-class families, setting the price at zero is a solution to a problem very far down on the list of reasons why lower-income students don't achieve degrees. After all, there is already a variety of comparatively cost-efficient alternatives to the most expensive public institutions of higher education: community colleges, online courses, etc. And there are always subsidized federal loans for students dead-set on a more expensive route; loans that are easy to pay back if students are smart and disciplined about what fields they choose to study.

But there's another reason making college free wouldn't be such an economic panacea for the lower and middle classes: incentivizing more people to seek a public university education is not necessarily in their best interests. While it's certainly true that getting a college degree is—broadly speaking—a good investment of one's time and resources, a traditional university education doesn't hold the same value for everyone. And the more people who attend college, the more a degree becomes a prerequisite for jobs that don't technically require college-educated workers. According to a survey released in May, 49 percent of people who graduated in 2013 and 2014 consider themselves "underemployed," meaning they attained a higher level of education than they actually needed to do the job they now have. News outlets routinely run stories on the thousands of over-educated college graduates now working at Starbucks.

Making college free would be doubling down on the idea that everyone just has to attend college to achieve anything in the United States. It would represent a massive federal financial investment in the way things used to be, at a time when there have never been so many awesome alternatives to traditional higher ed. And it would be an endorsement of the road to power disproportionately traversed by the already relatively wealthy.

Consider also that universities would respond as they always do: exploit the government's generous subsidization of their sticker price by finding other ways to gouge students. The New York Federal Reserve Bank recently found evidence of this phenomenon: universities that were the most impacted by increases to the federal student loans program were disproportionately likely to jack up prices, according to the study. Expect universities to find creative ways to punish students for "free" tuition—like making room and board more expensive.

This just isn't a good plan. And it's not a particularly socialist or democratic one, either.

NEXT: Dirty Laundry

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  1. ...a traditional university education doesn't hold the same value for everyone.

    Robert Soave: If everyone's a college graduate, no one will be.

    Luckily for Sanders, the average voter likely won't ask the questions prominent libertarian Bill Maher did. They're not going to be interested in who pays.

    1. Robert Soave: If everyone's a college graduate, no one will be.

      Please, we can't even get everyone to complete grade school.

      1. That's the saddest thing. Dems are all about free college for everyone and we're graduating uneducated dunces from high schools and they have to take remedial classes to get into 13th grade.

        I've heard a couple of things on schools from the dems (though it shouldn't be a big national issue of course) but it's mostly free pre-school for all -- another failed program.

        1. A lot of that is driven by calculated thinking.

          1) Sounds good, very Care Bear
          2) Free daycare...women like that
          3) more state employees who's union dues go to...Democrats

      2. But everyone will get a participation degree.

    2. prominent libertarian Bill Maher


      Oh, wait....were you serious?

      1. No he wasn't.

  2. But the *feeling* is so good!

    1. Everyone in the audience applauded and cheered at the appropriate Socialist Goals...

      Bernie, I can't tell if it's senility or stupidity, but your 'arguments' are so lacking in logic and rational thought that it's flat-out-scary.

      If you get elected, let alone nominated to run, we are all SO fucked as a country! Not because of the damage you would do if elected... the damage already done to the electorate who would vote for you (or applaud and cheer your speeches) even now.

  3. The thing about medication-induced dreams is that they tend to be a bit odd. I have to keep reminding myself that no one actually outlined Sanders' plan to tax gold farmers and increase the number of government-run gold farming operations to finance his latest scheme. The problem being, it sounds too much like a Sanders plan

    1. You dreamt he was going to tax Chinese WoW farmers?

  4. "Free is costly"

    In this case free is actually more expensive.

    1. In most cases, "free" is more expensive.

  5. When he hunches over like that, he really looks like a Vogon - very appropriate.

    1. When 900 years old you reach, look as good, you will not.


  6. According to a survey released in May, 49 percent of people who graduated in 2013 and 2014 consider themselves "underemployed," meaning they attained a higher level of education than they actually needed to do the job they now have

    Underemployment is an interesting term. I'll bet pretty much everyone is technically underemployed because experience and dedication can almost always substitute for education. In most jobs, if you're dedicated you can learn what you need to know on the job while being productive. Oh wait, internships aren't allowed anymore. Never mind.

    1. "under-employed' - none of them ever think they're employed at *exactly* where they should be and are simply *over-educated.

      1. I can guarantee that anyone who takes a job at my engineering firm will feel over-employed.

    2. The world will always need college educated ditch diggers.

      1. I'd rather have a ditch digger that never graduated high school. He's more likely to know how to use a backhoe.

    3. I am most certainly underemployed. I took an Art History course in college and am doing nothing with it.

    4. What is even worse is that since they have that History or ART Degree they think they are smarter than other people and DESERVE a job...

      Well, they will have them, as Walmart and Starbucks employees...

      1. Some of them may indeed be smarter, possibly even more deserving. College is an inefficient but still somewhat effective employment screen for nearly any job. Same with armed forces.

    5. I've been underemployed most of my life simply by virtue of not getting enough work, although in other cases by doing work I was overqualified for. It's a weird world I discovered in my 20s when I was 1st told I was overqualified?in 1 case even for a volunteer job! I had no idea there was the risk of my resume's having too much.

      Now in my 60s I'm both over- & under-qualified. I'm overqualified because I'm overtrained & have a little experience in work at too high a level, but I'm underqualified because I don't have long enough work experience, esp. for my age. I had no idea there was that risk too: working at too many things for too short a time implying I'm flighty or a troublemaker or unreliable or something.

  7. Bernie Sanders Hates Rich People, Wants to Send Their Kids to College for Free

    Given what goes on at universities these days, these two sentiments are not contradictory.

  8. What's the big deal? The government does such a stellar job with K-12 education that it makes sense to nationalize colleges and enact "free" pre-school.

    1. 5 years of free pre-school, no less.

    2. Mandatory Harvard for everyone. Because equality.

  9. Sure, he's going to send their kids to college free. But that's just the *start* of his plan.

    1. He's going to ensure they can only get the same crappy education as everyone else.

    2. He's going to take all their money so they couldn't afford to send the kids ot college anyway.

    3. He's going to destroy the economy so that *everyone* is equal. And when no one's super, *everyone* is.

  10. Colleges, re-education camps, whatever. You are all going to camp Bernie whether you like it or not.

  11. Bernie would be the hunchiest president since Tricky Dick.

  12. So the jist of it is, if America was to be more like Greece, then we'd socialist and much better for it.

    1. Yep. Because unlike Greece, we have the right people in charge. It will be different this time.

      1. Greece's problem wasn't having the wrong people in charge. It was all the kulaks evading taxes.

        1. We have the right people in charge. They'll collect the taxes from the kulaks.

  13. This interview gives me the chills. The audience woo-ing at Bernie's "free stuff", Maher wanting to "un-demonize" the term socialism, and just Bernie's rhetoric overall is downright frightening. Bernie wants all this free crap yet clearly has not thought about how to pay for it. Even Maher says it will take more than taxing the 1%, Bernie responds by saying the govt may have to further tax other people. It's downright depressing.

    1. Bernie wants all this free crap yet clearly has not thought about how to pay for it.

      What are you talking about? Wall Street speculators are sitting on gobs and gobs of money. And it's not like they earn it or anything. They just roll the dice in the Wall Street casino. That's what casino capitalism means. It's all luck, so none of the winnings are deserved. It's just a game. He wants to tax the winnings off the game. I mean, that's what the government does with casinos, right? Why treat Wall Street any differently? Besides, Wall Street is even worse because the speculators are gambling away our retirement money and earning obscene profits. The government has a duty to take away those profits and use them to help hungry children. Think of the children. The children. Why do you hate children?

    2. Here is a radical idea: reign in also American exceptionalism overseas ("democracy building"), and cut corporate welfare. Also, nothing against Israel or Israelis as people, but last I checked Israel is not a state of the United States. We give them $8 million dollars PER DAY. If you multiply that with 365, then divide with $20,000 (enough for in state public university tuition) -- turns out we could, instead of subsidizing a foreign state (which is a developed industrialized nation), send almost 150,000 kids to college.

    3. When they're talking openly and proudly about "socialism" . . . they mean communism.

  14. 1. you quote Sanders yourself -- he talks about making PUBLIC colleges free. Thus rich kids will continue doing what they always have -- even the perennial C student George W. Bush couldn't bring himself NOT to go to Yale and then Harvard. HRC talks about having had to work during college, but that is because she also HAD to go to a private liberal arts school. Public universities used to be free because they were federal land grant universities. You can guess which party is responsible for the current (over)pay-per-educate model. Check our Congress, Senate, Wall St, and tally up how many went to private and how many to public universities. Private universities and elites will simply continue doing what they always have: perpetuate themselves. Nothing to do with "hatred of rich people". Besides -- there is so much hatred for the poor going around these days (including from "Christians" themselves somehow, such are the compassionate times we live in), a little "hatred" for the rich certainly won't hurt them. Neither will paying more in taxes.
    2. the same "freedom of mind" you ascribe to yourself and your readers -- comes from college education. Historically, HS education simply doesn't last long enough for you to learn enough, nor are we as humans mentally and emotionally developed yet in HS to learn certain things. For the "freedom of the mind" sake and for democracy and (global) citizenship sake -- higher education should be a given right today.

    1. Free college will increase the cost of college at the same time decreasing the value and quality.

      1. Nuh uh. That's not the intention, so it could not possibly be the result.

    2. " the same "freedom of mind" you ascribe to yourself and your readers -- comes from college education."

      are you seriously suggesting that a person will never be capable of independent rational thought, without being explicitly shown how to think, by a rigidly defined curriculum? no one smart has ever not graduated college? no person can ever really think for themselves, until you tell them how to think? i can see why you would support socialism, if you really believe that.

      here is a better idea. if you honestly believe that people are not coming out of high school, with the basic skills needed to function in society... how about focusing on changing it so that they do have the needed skills. higher education is supposed to be higher... above and beyond the minimum, not the new minimum. part of the point the article is making is that degrees are already undervalued.

      1. "Critical thinking" and "freedom of mind" = "Don't mindlessly believe what your parents and church tell you! Mindlessly believe what your PROFESSORS tell you!"

    3. Bullshit....that is all.

    4. Rich kids never go to public schools. *snort*

  15. One of the largest problems with pushing the college track for everyone is it is not the right track for everyone. I have several friends from Boy Scouts who are homeowners, married, and have kids or kids on the way, and are in a much better place to handle that financially than I am, because they went to a vocational high school and learned a trade. For many people, that is a much better career path than a college education.

    1. But it's not what the market wants. The perverse thing is that the mostly-government-run higher education institutions are just responding to demand.
      No one tells their beautiful snowflake that in America anyone, including him, can grow up to own a reasonably successful local HVAC business.

      1. What's weird is, if you ask children themselves, esp. boys, they'll tell you they'd love to grow up to have that local HVAC biz or its equivalent. So it's like they have to be coaxed out of wanting what's probably best for them & humanity generally.

  16. The college six-year completion rate is something like 55%, and two-thirds of those who haven't graduated in six years have disenrolled. A lot of the non-graduates have problems or crises that arise and halt their studies, but it's likely that the strong social pressure and elitism surrounding college is already pushing many people to enroll in college who would otherwise not have made that choice. If we try to increase college enrollment, it's likely that the overall completion rate may fall - since the marginal kid is more likely to be someone who is less interested in attending and enrolls for social reasons rather than personal, academic, or career reasons.

    It would be better to let people pick their own paths and stop pumping the gas on social pressures implying that people without college educations are less valuable. Then we won't be bullying people who don't like school to go until they're 26.

    Maybe if we reduced licensing requirements and state review boards, the emphasis can be on skills and talents rather than degrees and credentials.

    1. That would require rational thought and respect for the values, interests, and preferences of others. Neither of these things are in excess nowadays.

    2. I've been in on that racket, teaching as an adjunct at Mercy College for almost a decade. I would often ask my students, who were mostly above traditional college age, why they were in school or taking my science courses in particular. Often it was a superior at work who told them they needed such-&-such credits to keep or advance in a job, & usually I could see little or no relationship between what I was teaching & what they'd be doing w it.

      What many of them actually needed was better English comprehension & writing skills. Some of them weren't native English speakers, but even many of them who were couldn't write a paragraph you could understand. College is an inefficient way to pick up such skills.

      1. My current employee is great, but he has this exact problem...

  17. It really is the dumbest part of his platform. I really have no words for anyone who takes it seriously. I just stop talking to such a person.

  18. Just what we need a a few million people working at Walmart with worthless Poetry or Art History Degrees.

    And they will have cost the taxpayer loads of cash.

    How about just some training as a machinest, programer, truck driver, plumber... this would be a whole lot cheaper...

  19. This is what happens to societies when there is no "beat down" function for stupid politicians anymore. The idiots win.

  20. This is depressing. America was a wonder founded by people willing to die in the persuit of liberty. What the hell happened? When did it become a country of spoiled, entitled brats willing to sell their soul to the state in exchange of free stuff? Bernie wont win the presidency, truth be told he might not even win the party nomination. However, the mere fact that this ...character... is being taken seriously just tells you how screwed the country is.

    1. I have this theory (probably written in some academic journal I'm unaware of) that societies are analogous to human beings. They start out infantile and gradually become young active and strong basically kicking life's ass. Then they hit middle age and lose the fire slowly getting disinclined to bring what they used to to the table preferring to "enjoy life" a little, indulge in a little well-deserved beer and brats. In time this turns into an old dude who is carrying 40 extra pounds and fantasizes about the glory days until he turns into a senior citizen in denial about the end being a lot closer than the beginning.
      I think the history of societies and economies provides many examples of this arc from strong to feeble and the US (and most other industrialized societies) are heading for medicare fast.
      The depressing thing is that the new young tiger isn't always a "good" force but rather often is a force that brings global decline and descent into comparative darkness.
      Ah, maybe I should have a beer and a brat?

      1. I recommend reading (or at least skimming) the Muqqadimah by Ibn Khaldun. He wrote it in 1377, mostly about the Islamic states of the Middle East of recent history, but he had some pretty sharp observations about the evolution of states and societies, one of which was, essentially, that the first generation following a revolution had a chance to see for themselves what it took to conquer and rule successfully, but succeeding generations saw this less and less directly, seeing for themselves only their immediate ancestors living in luxury, leading to a loss of understanding as to what had actually created those conditions. There are a fair number of parallels to modern states and societies there.

        1. Exactly why these idiot kids today are proud to call themselves socialists, or even communists. They have grown up in a world where there is no Soviet Union, so they don't really understand what the hell they're advocating.
          I think it also explains the acceptance of the rise of the security/intelligence state. Back in the 80s if somebody was trying to read everybody's mail, people would be yelling things like " this isn't Russia!"

    2. We were already on this path , but I truly believe the self-esteem moment has accelerated the decline of America.

  21. I don't see how you can say it's not democratic or socialist. If the polity vote for agents who enact such a policy, it's democratic. It's a collectivist policy that says, take from everyone to put into 1 pot all the $ for college, so what's not socialist about that?

    1. What's weird is seeing HyR bloggers write as if there's something defective about policies that are insufficiently democratic or insufficiently socialist. Did I put in the right URL?

  22. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do...... ??????

  23. It's just more (upper) middle class welfare.

    That's why they talk about the rich so much. If you talk about the poor, you're talking about helping out the bottom 15% or so of the income scale, at the expense of the 85% above.

    That's no way to win elections.

    Not that they don't also whine about their nonexistent, laser-like focus on the poor.

  24. But then the students will demand free housing books food and a stipend too. I know it's not cheap to live in many college towns. On the other hand while Bernie is writing checks what people who can't or won't go to college? They get nothing? Oh hell, let's just give everyone a quarter million dollars when they turn 18.

  25. I grew up poor, fatherless, pissed off and was kicked out of 2 high schools, but I turned it around...and I'm closing in on my MBA from a private, free-market-loving college.
    Nobody helped me.
    I'll be like 45 grand in debt.
    I won a partial scholarship from a private donor because I wrote a kick-ass essay regarding the state of affairs of this country and how millions of students are brainwashed by statist, big-government-funded schools. I was one of them.
    Oh and fuck Bill Maher. I know him personally (hosted for him a few times on the stand-up comedy circuit). He's a genuine, egotistical prick.
    I don't know Sanders, but boy-oh-boy, does he sure seem like a Grade-A socialist piece of shit.
    Fuck them both.

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    Now i am also making 98$/hr if you want to try just check this out

    -------------- http://www.HomeJobs90.Com

  27. We're never going to have " free college" no matter how much Sanders wishes for it. I think a better alternative is to make kids work at the colleges they attend. Cafeteria, landscape, and even custodial work could bring down the cost of tuition.

  28. I identified Sanders early on as the left-wing version of Trump. I'm not exactly happy to find out how right I was.

    The truly scary thing is watching the two parties respond to the popularity of populist blowhards. This couple of candidates is resonating with voters because the establishment parties have refused to respond to--or failed to identify--what the American people want. The Republican candidates, as befitting the Party of Stupid, have barely changed their rhetoric. You've seen a few lukewarm "me too" positions safely restating popular Trump stances in politically correct terms, and in a few cases you've seen candidates attempt weak versions of the "tell it like it is" patented Trump attitude. But, relatively speaking, no real change. Meanwhile, and fittingly for the Party of Evil, Hillary has immediately gone all in on a few insane Sanders positions. Her plainly spoken disdain for the capitalism that's made the country (and she and her husband) so prosperous is just the most alarming.

  29. It's public colleges and universities, not private. Do you really think the billionaire class will be sending their kids to a public school? His plan gives students a chance who would not have one. It does not mean Everyone will take the chance. There are many other costs associated with attending university that would not and should not be covered with his plan.
    And the Wall St tax would barely affect your typical trader.

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