Pete Buttigieg

Most Democratic Presidential Candidates Think College Should Be Free. Here's Why They're Wrong.

"Mayor Pete" Buttigieg is a rare and welcome exception to a trend that gives money to people who don't need it.

|

BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS/Newscom

On Sunday night, 60 Minutes ran a segment about the high cost of medical school and New York University's recent decision to make its medical school tuition-free. The piece, hosted by Leslie Stahl, fits neatly into an increasingly popular narrative that higher education should be "free" the same way that public K-12 education is (which is to say, free to students who attend because someone else—taxpayers, donors, etc.—is footing the bill). At the very start of the piece, Stahl conflates the heavy debt that medical students routinely take out with all higher-education debt. This sort of rhetorical arbitrage is common among politicians and analysts who are pushing for debt forgiveness and more tax-supported financial aid for college and grad students. Such a move seriously distorts the conversation about the actual cost and availability of college to the typical American.

About three-quarters of medical students who graduated in 2018 took out loans. Of those borrowers, the average and median amount was around $200,000. That's a lot of money to borrow, but it's also a pretty smart bet. According to figures from ZipRecruiter, most doctors earn between $150,000 and $312,000 a year, so they can actually cover their debt payments and still live well (when is the last time you saw a starving doctor in the United States?).

Separate data from Medscape's 8th Physician Compensation Report for 2018 states that the average U.S. primary care physician earns $223,000 annually. Meanwhile, medical specialists earn an average of $329,000, as of 2018. Across all specialties, Medscape found that the average salary for physicians is $299,000.

The conflation of high debt levels for medical students and undergrads is widespread and, as we'll see, vastly misleading. Here's a recent tweet from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination and has long advocated making public colleges tuition-free.

Sanders must be talking about people who are pursuing graduate degrees, including medical degrees, law degrees, and MBAs, all of which are associated with high-income jobs. Otherwise, it's hard to see how, given various public limits on borrowing, how they could actually take on that much debt. Should we really be concerned as a matter of public policy that someone training to be a doctor takes on $200,000 in debt that they will easily be able to pay off? Especially if the option is that somehow taxpayers end up either footing the bill or forgiving the debt? I think not. Simple fairness suggests that the people getting the benefit of something should foot most of the bill, shouldn't they? NYU is a private college and is free to do whatever it wants regarding its own cost structure, but publicly subsidized loans are a different matter.

But what about undergrads? Aren't they drowning in debt and isn't a college degree now a prerequisite for the crappiest kind of part-time gig that doesn't even offer health insurance or a reliable source of income for recent graduates? The sum total of student debt at all levels is around $1.5 trillion, more than the nation's total credit card debt. This seemingly is a crisis in and of itself. Here's a tweet from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), making a claim that accords with many Democratic presidential candidates, including Sanders, Julian Castro, and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), all of whom have announced support for some form of tuition- or debt-free college.

When you throw around a figure like $1.5 trillion, you get a lot of attention. But when you break it down to the individual level, the numbers are a lot less terrifying. According to Lending Tree's Student Loan Hero website (which uses data from the New York Federal Reserve and other institutions that track this sort of thing), about 70 percent of members of the Class of 2018 graduated with debt. The median monthly payment was $222.

Here's a slightly different take on what student loan debt is like, this time from Pew Research using data from 2016:

Pew Research

The median borrower with outstanding student loan debt for his or her own education owed $17,000 in 2016. The amount owed varies considerably, however. A quarter of borrowers with outstanding debt reported owing $7,000 or less, while another quarter owed $43,000 or more.

Educational attainment helps explain this variation. Among borrowers of all ages with outstanding student loan debt, the median self-reported amount owed among those with less than a bachelor's degree was $10,000. Bachelor's degree holders owed a median of $25,000, while those with a postgraduate degree owed a median of $45,000.

Relatively few with student loan debt have six-figure balances. Only 7% of current borrowers have at least $100,000 in outstanding debt, which corresponds to 1% of the adult population. Balances of $100,000 or more are most common among postgraduate degree holders. Of those with a postgraduate degree and outstanding debt, 23% reported owing $100,000 or more.

When you drill down to the individual level, the picture is much less scary, isn't it? Especially when you factor in how much better off college graduates (or even people with some college) tend to do than counterparts with just a high school degree. The unemployment rate of college grads is typically less than half the rate for high-school grads and the median take-home pay for people with B.A.s is $1,173 versus $712 for high school grads. There are many variables involved (such as college major and profession), but the Social Security Administration calculates that male college graduates earn about $900,000 more than male high school grads over the course of their working lives. For women, the college premium is $630,000.

While there's no question that the cost of college has increased faster than the general rate of inflation, there's been no drop-off in the number of recent high school graduates enrolling in college. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in 2016 (the most recent year for which data is given), 70 percent of recent high school grads enrolled in college, a percentage that has been stable or trending upward for the past 15 years (as a comparison, in 1980, just 50 percent of recent grads went on to college). For those of us who care about access to higher education for lower-income Americans, the gap between enrollment rates for high- and low-income students has shrunk to its lowest point ever. Paradoxically, college may cost more than ever and yet be more available to those who want to attend.

Which brings me to one of the few Democratic presidential candidates who is bucking the "free college" trend: Pete Buttigieg, dubbed "the most interesting Democrat running for president" by Ira Stoll in a column published yesterday at this site. "Mayor Pete"—so-called because he's the mayor of South Bend, Indiana—is a self-described progressive, but he breaks rank with his comrades on many issues. Free college is one of them. Here's what he told a New Hampshire audience a week ago:

Americans who have a college degree earn more than Americans who don't. As a progressive, I have a hard time getting my head around the idea of a majority who earn less because they didn't go to college subsidizing a minority who earn more because they did.

That sounds about right to me, and it opens up a broader discussion of one of the major themes of the Democratic presidential nomination process so far. Candidates are tripping over one another to offer more free stuff—not just college, but "Medicare for All," childcare for all, and more, most of which would theoretically be paid for by taxes on billionaires and the "super-rich" or simply by printing more and more money. President Trump and many, if not most, Republicans offer their own variation of free stuff in the form of tax cuts that are not balanced by spending cuts, resulting in higher and higher national debt that will eventually be paid off in the form of higher taxes, reduced services, inflation, or a combination of all three.

Somewhere in the 21st century, both Republicans and Democrats gave up on the idea of paying for your own stuff if you could afford to, replacing it instead with the notion that government can be all things to all people (or, government can be all things to your supporters and screw the other side). And here we are, with a government that will be running trillion-dollar deficits for the next decade or more. If there ever was a time to say that people can afford to pay for their own insurance, education, retirement, housing, you name it, that time is now. And it's good to see at least one of the Democratic hopefuls articulating a principle that should be central to all public policy discussions.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

163 responses to “Most Democratic Presidential Candidates Think College Should Be Free. Here's Why They're Wrong.

  1. More SWJs are desperately needed, especially with degrees in post-post modern male feminist yoga studies.

    1. Some SJWs could switch to copy-editing; heaven knows Reason doesn’t have any orphans doing the job.

      1. Too triggering

  2. “Something given has to value”

    – Rasczak

    I know a few honest SJWs who will fully admit they want free college so they can indoctrinate everyone into their ideology. They will phrase it as ‘educating’ and ‘correcting’ their mindset. This is why they value the useless humanities where you are more likely to be taught by a Marxist than a conservative.

    Free college for technical only degrees. If you want to waste your time and get indoctrinated into Gender Studies or whatever, do it on your own dime.

    1. Free college for technical only degrees.

      Fuck that noise. By your own precepts you’re going to have out-of-work gender studies majors learning and teaching poor people how to code. If they want to do it for free, that’s fine. I shouldn’t have to subsidize it.

    2. has no value, damn sleep!

      Seriously though, there’s a reason ‘college educated’ people lean left. Speaking as someone who went to junior college then to a university, most of the graduates don’t know anything, unless it’s a technical field. I know leftists who graduated in communications, art, history, and yes, gender studies.

      They are not more skilled in anything useful, but they did get 4 years of leftist ideology fed to them. I mean, Jesus Christ, both of my history classes in college used Howard Zinn’s book as the sole textbook for the class.

      1. “They are not more skilled in anything useful,”

        That’s irrelevant. College graduates have shown themselves to be more compliant, docile and willing to defer immediate gratification. That’s why our employers seek them.

        “Free college for technical only degrees.”

        If employers are looking for technically skilled people, let them do the educating, for free if they like. No need to burden our universities with something that the private sector should be able to manage.

        1. Herein lies the problem. Americans view a university education as vocational training, something that started, to some extent with the land grant universities.

          University as vocational training is now almost universally accepted worldwide, after all almost all of the highest paying professions require at least an undergraduate degree. Some, medicine and law stand out require advanced study.

          What is forgotten is that even those professions were at on time entered through apprenticeship (practicing engineering or architecture, reading law, learning surgery* etc). During the 19th century, there was extensive debate about whether these things should be certified through university education or through “trade schools” that concentrated on necessary skills and didn’t bother with classics or humanities.

          The Land Grant University concept in the USA concentrated on teaching the ‘useful” arts and sciences, viz engineering and agriculture. Rich people’s hobbies like Anthropology, Archeology, Literature and the Classics received far less emphasis. It was not until the 1970s that most state universities paid that much attention to such things and for the most part those universities provided free tuition to anyone who met their academic standards**.

          1. *one of the first divisions in “the learned professions” medicine (a physician, an MD) was a science requiring theoretical knowledge to be learned from scholars in a scholarly place, ie a university. Surgery was a, for want of a better word, a trade, cutting and sewing, to be observed assisting a practitioner, in the same way one would learn tailoring or carpentry. Thus, today, in the British world (except Canada) surgeons are addressed as Mr/Mrs/Miss rather than doctor, even though they now go to the same medical schools and are awarded the same degree, MD, as physicians.

            **emphasis on this selectivity as well as what was available. Until the 1960s the free land grant universities were no just admitting anyone for anything. They were heavy on Engineering and Science and light on the Humanities and Classics.

            1. Well done. A comment on Reason from which I actually learned something.

          2. Your comment contains the unusual construction “all almost all” which I have not seen before. (missing comma tho)

    3. I think the issue here isn’t the continued indoctrination of fools, but the preservation of cushy academic positions for influential Progressive ‘Thinkers’. The Secondary Education industry is in trouble. People are beginning to notice that what a Humanities Degree principally qualifies you to do is study for the next degree…or serve fast food. Furthermore, the Universities expanded vastly to accommodate the Baby Boom, and they have been scrambling ever since to pull in enough bottoms to warm enough seats to keep from having to downsize. Downsizing is something that happens to Capitalists, not good academic Socialist twits!

      The Free College idea is a way to stave off the backlash coming from a generation or so of people who believed the hype, got expensive degrees, and have trouble paying off the loans. It needs to be killed with a shovel.

      1. The Secondary Education industry is in trouble.

        I mean, that is true, because you apparently think universities are part of secondary education.

        1. Considering undergraduate degrees are basically 13th-16th grade now, he’s not entirely wrong.

          1. Indeed, the infantilization of America, demonstrated through alcohol, tobacco and sexual age of consent laws is most significantly demonstrated in the university.

            At one time college students were referred to as “College Men” and “College Women” now they are just college kids. Really sad, at one time professors addressed students as Mr/Miss as though they were adults. Now they’re just on a first name, one way – the professor is still Prof/Dr so and so – just like they are still in high school.

            When I was an undergraduate in the 1960s, I was Mr B___ to the professors in class. There were a few that I knew on a first name basis because the were family friends or because of extra curricular activities. But in class it was always formal. I was considered and adult (even though, in my case I was only 16 years old when I started college).

          2. ^

    4. Not free (taxpayer funded)…make the loan interest rates correspond to the unumployment rate for graduates of the majors. Industrial Design majors might pay 10.3% while Computer Science grads would pay 5%. Social Work grads pay 8.5%, but Electrical Engineers pay 3.7%.

      Why use taxpayer funds to subsidize graduates of majors that are obviously over-supplied as demonstrated by the high unemployment rates for those majors?

  3. On a practical level, there’s little denying that if the state subsidizes something, the cost of that something will increase.

    1. Progressives will deny it and produce studies that prove it to be wrong, just like they deny the minimum wage causes job loss. You have be a liar and an idiot to be a progressive, it’s who they are.

    2. Increases in the flow of tax money into the universities have been captured by an ever-expanding and lucrative “administration”. Maybe some of the less doctrinaire parents and students are noticing the rapid increases in tution and seeing where all the money is going. (Facilities, construction, new departments (more administration!): Compliance Department, Inclusion, Equity and Diversity Advisory Council, Sexual Assault Decrying and Misandry Department, etc.)

      So they bought something that does have value, but was vastly overpriced and they’re whining about it and don’t want to pay.

  4. I’m all for free education as long as it’s privately funded. The problem with the government paying for it is that there are suddenly tremendous perverse incentives that reduce the quality and make it worthless. Students don’t have to demonstrate any dedication to the endeavor and teachers end up becoming shills for big government and push mental illness indoctrination and other forms of bureaucratic waste. Basically college becomes a glorified high school. Keep kids dumb so that they need your services forever. This dynamic is self-perpetuating and becomes inescapable.

    Yes people can afford to pay for their own education, healthcare, housing etc – IF the government stops subsidizing them which artificially inflates the prices. Sometimes the best way to help people is to stop trying to ‘help’ them. I honestly think that socialism will be finally discredited this election cycle.

    1. “I honestly think that socialism will be finally discredited this election cycle.”

      Oh, my sweet summer child. Aren’t you precious.

  5. tl;dr:

    1. TANSTAAFL

    2. When prices are artificially lowered, demand increases and supply drops.

    3. When people get things for free, they don’t value them. There are a ton of things which are fun to give as Christmas or birthday presents precisely because they are worthless.

    4. Too damned many kids get useless college educations already.

    1. 5. If the government ensures that anyone with a pulse can borrow enough to pay for college, whatever the cost, then the cost of college and the extent of indebtedness will continually rise.

    2. You had me at 1.

      1. Yeah, the others are just expansions 🙂

        1. #3’s a really good point. Plus, the taxpayer finances graduates and dropouts indiscriminately, so, wasted $ there. It’s kind of a self-licking ice cream cone, too; professors training their own replacements, existing to perpetuate their own existence.

    3. #2. – It depends how it’s done. If through price controls, then yes, supply drops. If through subsidies, such as the “free college” proposals, it does not, and given the impact on demand, the opposite will likely happen. In technical microeconomic terms, the entire graph shifts upwards, not just the individual curves.

  6. Free tuition is a defensible idea if admission standards are high enough to ensure that most students will be successful and are a good investment. With virtually open enrollment at many state schools and low standards at most others, it’s a terrible idea.

    1. I keep reading the constitution looking for where it says the federal government has any authority to do anything with regard to higher education.

      1. Higher, lower, middle, whatever, none of it is within the Fed’s purview.

      2. Commerce clause… argle bargle garble dargle… BAM!

    2. Free tuition is a defensible idea if admission standards are high enough to ensure that most students will be successful and are a good investment.

      It is only defensible if the money used to pay for this “free” education is not taken from someone against their wishes. Education is not a public good and there is no moral defense to forcing someone to pay for someone else’s education.

      1. But an educated public benefits us all.

        1. What does that have to do with going to college?

          1. What the hell does education have to do with schooling?

        2. But an educated public benefits us all.

          Not really. There is a deadweight loss to society if I am forced to pay for an education the beneficiary doesn’t value enough to pay for him or herself. A sober public benefits us all too but under no circumstances do I have the moral authority to revive Carrie Nation.

          1. I’ve always considered college as a self investment. Some people may think they are not worth investing in themselves. I tend to think they are right.

            1. High school kids are not qualified to determine whether they are worth investing higher education into. That’s why we used to have admissions standards.

        3. Just because we’ve let our government screw up secondary education to the point where it no longer produces an educated public doesn’t make inviting them to screw up post-secondary education in the same way a good idea…

          1. But we already have public universities. Given that, their business model is a separate issue.

  7. Democrats want to steal your money to brainwash more democrats. The Supreme Court botched their Union angle on this, so they move to college.

  8. Heh, I knew it. I knew they wouldn’t stop with free undergrad degrees. If they have their way working people will be on the hook to give a free ride to every SJW looking to get a PhD in Victims’ Studies.

  9. >>>Buttigieg is a rare and welcome exception

    you keep trying I’ll keep denying. no, gracias.

    1. Yeah, seems like the party line has been laid down, and now they are all standing in file.

    2. You would rather have Warren than Buttigiggle? Really?

      1. that’s a leap. i don’t think it matters who (D) runs this time. also what I would rather have is rarely taken into consideration.

        1. You are saying that someone who can actually do math is NOT welcome on the ballot. Sorry, but fuck you.

          1. i’m saying I don’t care who (D) runs they’re fucked this time … if I *did* care, “Mayor Pete’s” act wouldn’t fly anyway (and it won’t with the people running (D) either)

            >>>Sorry, but fuck you.

            why apologize i thought we were all friends here? sell it.

  10. It’s kind of genius when you think about it. Create a problem, then claim you’re the only one who can fix it.

    1. It’s beautiful. Especially because almost nobody seems to get that the feds created the fvcking problem in the first place!

      1. All kids must go to college because they need an education!!. Just don’t mention the trillion or more dollars taxpayers already spending on the public schools that is supposed to do that.

        1. But John, they have to learn how to rede and spel gud!

        2. Government – If you think the problems we create are bad, wait until you see our solutions.

    2. Progressives are experts at creating problems that spawn even more problems.

  11. “70 percent of recent high school grads enrolled in college”

    How is this possible. I would say greater than 50% of the kids I went to high school with were too dumb to get their high school diploma, but they were given them anyway. I still remember tutoring remedial math seniors who still had a hard time understanding why anything multiplied by zero was zero.

    1. It is possible because colleges and state and community colleges in particular have become remedial high schools.

      1. “expensive ones too. destroying lives dragging economies.” ~~~ Rep. Omar

    2. The vast majority of private and parochial school graduates go on to attend college.

  12. We already have free primary and secondary school for all. How is that working out? Well

    According to a recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, 32 million of American adults are illiterate, 21 percent read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates are functionally illiterate, which means they can’t read well enough to manage daily living and perform tasks required …

    http://fee.org/articles/did-pu…..-literacy/

    Bur free college will be totally different because REASONS!!

  13. Hey kids, remember how we were assured that the whole Hillary email thing was just a “right wing meme”? Well not so much.

    But in June 2015 a sender whose name was redacted sent an email to State Department Official Margaret “Peggy” Grafeld warning about the volume of classified information in the emails sent through Hillary’s server.

    While working with this inspector, I have personally reviewed hundreds of documents in the HRC collection. I can now say, without reservation, that there are literally hundreds of classified emails in this collection; maybe more. For example, there are comments by Department staff in emails relating to the Wikileaks unauthorized disclosures; many of the emails relating to this actually confirm the information in the disclosures. This material is the subject of FOIA litigation, and the emails will now have to be found, reviewed and upgraded. Under the EO 13526, it would be in our right to classify the entire HRC collection at the Secret level because of the “mosaic effect.” While there may be IC equities in the collection, I am very concerned about the inadvertent release of State Department’s equities when this collection is released in its entirety ? the potential damage to the foreign relations of the United States could be significant.

    http://lidblog.com/hillary-cover-up/

    1. But wait, there is more

      (?)FBI notes of an interview with an unidentified Platte River Networks official in February 2016 (almost a year after the Clinton email network was first revealed) show that Platte River “gave someone access to live HRC archive mailbox at some point.” The same notes show that an email from December 11, 2014, exists that reads “Hillary cover up operation work ticket archive cleanup.” The interviewee said that the “cover up operation” email “probably related to change to 60 day [sic] email retention policy/backup.” The subject indicated that he didn’t “recall the prior policy.” The notes also indicated, “[Redacted] advised [redacted] not to answer questions related to conv [conversation] w/DK [David Kendall] document 49 ? based on 5th amendment.”

      1. “You mean, wipe it with a rag?”

        1. Shake it like a poloroid picture!!

    2. Then there is this nugget

      A senior member of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s International Legal Cooperation Dept. told John Solomon that since last year, he’s been blocked from getting visas for himself and a team to go to the U.S. to deliver evidence of Democratic party wrongdoing during the 2016 election to the DOJ. The senior prosecutor Kostiantyn Kulyk never got an answer, and he says it’s because the visas were blocked by the U.S. Ambassador.

  14. “$1.5 trillion is now tied up in student debt. It is destroying lives and it’s a drag on our whole economy.”

    So we can pass a law and make that debt disappear?
    Or maybe we end up just moving it elsewhere; I’ll bet the idiot Omar hasn’t a clue.

    1. I’m slowly paying off my student loan debt. I expect to be finished in about two years. The day after that, I fully expect the government to forgive all student loans.

    2. All we need to do is change the law so that student loans are dischargeable through bankruptcy, and the whole scam will come falling down.

      1. Terrible idea. Here’s why:

        Step 1 – Take on as much student loan debt as possible.
        Step 2 – Take on as much other debt as possible without acquiring actual assets.
        Step 3 – Declare bankruptcy in mid 20s
        Step 4 – Wait 8 years until effect of bankruptcy on credit rating goes down to start family formation and/or acquiring real assets.

        Now you’re in your early 30s. You have a college education free and clear and are reasonably well positioned to, financially speaking, be a “normal” member of society. What about the loan providers, you say? That leads to:

        Step 5 – Government bailout of now-impaired student loan providers, ultimately at taxpayer expense, of course.

        However, on the plus side, making student loan debt dischargeable will raise interest rates on such debt, crowding out more marginal students, which is probably what you were thinking. Of course, all of the above is even worse if government steps in and nationalizes the student loan industry. (See Warren, Elizabeth)

        1. Step 1 won’t happen in the first place. Lenders will be much less willing to make the loans. If they do, it won’t be for fly-by-night for-profit trade schools or to C students majoring in art history.

          Steps 2 and 3: If you’re a young college graduate who has recklessly run up the credit cards, a judge is going to take a dim view of your bankruptcy petition. More likely than walking away free and clear, you’ll end up on some sort of partial payment plan.

          Step 4: And bankruptcy isn’t a lark?while you’re waiting for your credit to recover, you’ll be unable to lease a home or buy a car, and your job applications will be thrown in the trash by many employers. And if and when you do get out of the woods, you’ll be years behind on your goals. Not an easy road. (Imagine how it will be on the first date when you “start family formation”?”So, what do you do?” “Oh, I’ve been washing cars for 8 years, but now I’m ready to get back on the career path.”)

          Step 5: The lenders won’t need a bailout because they stopped making stupid loans, knowing they weren’t protected from bankruptcy.

    3. Eh, let’s just stop making the problem worse, by passing a law to make it a life-in-prison offense to offer or accept student loans.

      The problem will then self-liquidate over a couple decades, and a lot of the fat will be rendered out of higher education.

  15. Americans who have a college degree earn more than Americans who don’t. As a progressive, I have a hard time getting my head around the idea of a majority who earn less because they didn’t go to college subsidizing a minority who earn more because they did.

    Didn’t the omnipotent Fist of Etiquette discover last week that there’s more to this tweet than what you include here? More, in fact, that gives the impression that Mayor Bootyjudge’s feelings on the matter are not quite what you’re making them out to be?

  16. What these candidates mean by “free” is the taxpayers pay for someone’s education.
    There is nothing on this planet that is free.

    1. On the other hand, it is not burned into stone tablets by the finger of God that colleges and universities should charge tuition. They have always had multiple sources of income, and tuition has historically been a much smaller piece of the pie than it is now. There might be better business models than charging tuition.

  17. I certainly agree that college education should not be “free” for everyone.

    Unfortunately for Buttigieg, his argument has a fatal flaw. Under the current structure of the progressive tax system, there is zero chance that people with lower incomes will be subsidizing college education for anyone.

    1. There aren’t enough rich people, and the poor ain’t got money, so any tax increase always ends up hitting the middle class. Always.

      1. The middle class is under-taxed in this country compared to how the rich and the poor are taxed. The amount of tax revenue collected from low-income workers is small because they don’t earn much, but, as a percentage of income, they often pay more than middle-class people who have higher incomes but have dependents and lots of itemized deductions.

        1. My fact checker says bullshit.

          1. Then apparently your fact checker can’t handle arithmetic. Get a new one.

        2. low-income workers…as a percentage of income…often pay more than middle-class people who have higher incomes,

          This is wrong, feel free to check with the CBO. People in the bottom two income quintiles pay almost zero in federal income taxes when transfer payments (Social Security and Medicare “contributions”) are taken out.

          1. That is wrong. Feel free to check the instructions on the tax forms and the tax tables. And, why not count Social Security and Medicare taxes? A tax is a tax.

        3. Most leftist voters don’t understand that the European social welfare system that they wish to see emulated here is largely financed on the backs of the middle class (middle 3 income quintiles). Tell them that they can have their generous system only if they are willing to have at least 25% less in take-home pay, and the proposals become far less popular. This doesn’t even take into account the fact that we don’t have another nation willing and able to step in and provide for our national defense.

          1. No, they don’t get that at all. They think we can’t have Scanditopia here because The Rich are so stingy.

            On the other side, we have people like those who replied to me above who think the working poor are moochers.

            The actual stingy moochers in our society are the middle class.

    2. Under the current structure of the progressive tax system, there is zero chance that people with lower incomes will be subsidizing college education for anyone.

      Bullshit. Working poor people pay plenty in taxes.

      1. As others have pointed out, your facts are completely wrong.

        Yes, the working poor pay payroll taxes. However, they pay no income taxes and many, if not all of them are given credits/refunds/transfer payments that reduce their overall taxes to zero or negative at the federal level.

        And even if that were not the case and they only paid payroll taxes, those taxes are used to fund specific programs. They are not used to fund free college education. So my statement is correct.

        1. However, they pay no income taxes and many, if not all of them are given credits/refunds/transfer payments that reduce their overall taxes to zero or negative at the federal level

          That is incorrect. Only those with very low incomes AND dependent children end up paying no taxes. Others have stated that I’m wrong about that, but they are wrong.

          those taxes are used to fund specific programs

          LOL!

          1. Yes, I should have said the payroll taxes fund specific programs “supposedly.”

            Regardless, most households – not just the poor- are the ones being subsidized already. When the federal government alone spends approximately $37,000 per household, it’s pretty hard to argue the poor would be subsidizing the education of college attendees when they are already being subsidized, and no proposal for free college education is trying to raise their taxes.

            You can ignore reality all you want, but it doesn’t change reality.

            1. You can move the goalpost as far as you want, but that doesn’t change the fact that you were wrong about low-income workers not paying income tax.

              most households – not just the poor- are the ones being subsidized already.

              And the middle class are subsidized much more than the lower class. See the article I linked to above, “Americans with good jobs…”. If the middle class want “Social Democrat”-style government benefits, they’re going to have to pay Northern Europe-style taxes, and give up the fantasy that “the rich” can pay for it all.

  18. The median monthly payment was $222

    Yeah, that’s a heavy drag on a newly graduated 21-22 year old. That monthly bill will be with them for 20 years if they don’t aggressively pay down principle. It’ll get worse if they have a variable rate and rates increase.

    1. Really? Doesn’t seem like that much to me, especially if you do a little side hustle a couple days a week.

      1. First, that’s the median, not the average. I’m curious what the average is. That’s a more useful number in this case. Second, maybe it’s not much to you, but for most people living in middle America, a $200+ monthly bill can really get in the way. I know an extra $200+ a month for me would be quite the pain in my ass right now.

        1. Sorry I get you, but that means they’re living beyond their means or they need to work more. 220 ain’t that much. It’s a small part time job or side gig. Delivering pizza or stocking shelves pays that and some principle too. Hell anything does.

          Which basically gets me back to 220 not being a lot, just because people living beyond their means can’t afford it. And yeah, I get it there will always be reasons. But if you’re a college educated adult and you sweat 220, your problems ain’t your student loans.

        2. The ones for whom 200 is too much aren’t paying 200. Payments are based on income, so people with lower incomes have lower payments. My payments right out of school were only 72 dollars, and only reached 100 dollars after 4 years, when I was making over 70k per year

      2. Then obviously your taxes are too low

    2. If there’s one thing Democrats are good at, it’s aggressively paying to get rid of principle!

    3. Yeah, that’s a heavy drag on a newly graduated 21-22 year old.

      Here’s the thing–that monthly payment (unless it’s an income-based one) is likely only attached to a debt load of about $25-30K total. That’s really not that bad, to be honest, considering what tuition, room, and board costs are these days.

      Mine was about $225 a month, and yeah, those first few years after I completed grad school, it was a pain. However, it wasn’t a budget-buster, and once I figured out that I could aggressively carve off the debt by making an extra payment every month (didn’t matter how much, I just threw in an extra payment), I paid off the whole nut in less than ten years.

      Where things get complicated is when these graduates have debt loads of $50K-100K (per Sanders: Fuck, $300K? I’m sorry, but if you have that much debt and you don’t have M.D or J.D. after your name, you really fucked up. That’s an argument AGAINST free college, not for it), and/or reside in high cost of living urban rat cages like the Bay Area or Seattle. I’ll concede that that’s a point where $225 a month could mean the difference between paying rent or buying enough food for the week. But again, that speaks more to the general social dysfunction of hyper-dense left-wing urban centers than the lack of affordable college.

  19. “”That monthly bill will be with them for 20 years if they don’t aggressively pay down principle.””

    What does aggressively mean? Once a month?

    My school loan was for 10 years. When I did the loan consolidation they moved the term to 20 years. Sure it makes payments lower but you end up paying a lot more in interest. I called and them move it back to a 10 year loan.

    Some students inability to understand how loans and payments work is sad, especially for someone who just spent a few years in an education institution.

    1. Were I borrowing now, rather than a loan I would consder it a bet on whether they’ll eventually be forgiven. A long term might, eventually, make sense.

    2. “Some students inability to understand how loans and payments work is sad, especially for someone who just spent a few years in an education institution.”

      You don’t learn much about finance taking exclusively humanities courses. How many students actually take Finance 301. When I taught college, the percentage of students taking my course was < 2%.

  20. Where the hell did this idea that everything be free come from?

    Whenever I respond with “Who will pay for it?” I am met by blank stares. Do these nimwits really think there are enough rich people to pay for these schemes? That the rich don’t have the means to avoid the new taxes? These people aren’t even on the same planet as I am.

    1. Do these nimwits really think there are enough rich people to pay for these schemes?
      Yes

      That the rich don’t have the means to avoid the new taxes?
      They think new laws will force the rich to “pay their fair share”

      These people aren’t even on the same planet as I am.
      Correct

  21. College should not be free. It should be readily accessible to Americans, however, without regard to circumstance of birth. This likely should involve payment of a percentage of gross income for decades or for life, with colleges setting the price and the percentage established by that price.

    Whether schools that teach nonsense or are lousy should be permitted to participate in the program should be lively debates.

    1. “It should be readily accessible to Americans, however, without regard to circumstance of birth.”

      So, you’re against affirmative action in college? Good.

      “This likely should involve payment of a percentage of gross income for decades or for life, with colleges setting the price and the percentage established by that price.”

      So, theft for all to benefit some.

      How about you just don’t initiate force? Is that so hard?

      1. It isn’t hard, it is inconceivable to a socialist. The sole purpose of government is to force others to serve the leadership.

        1. Clingers gonna cling.

        2. When I say stuff like that, I’m attacking their “god”, and they react as you’d think.

          Actually, no, they often try to kill you. That’s actually fairly rare when you attack other religions’ gods.

    2. “This likely should involve payment of a percentage of gross income for decades or for life . . .”

      That is called income taxes, and that IS how they do plan to ‘pay’ for it. But the colleges will not set the price; the bureaucrats will set the price, like they do for medical care.

    3. For once I’m with the Rev on this one.

      College A offers degrees in petroleum engineering only. Fee is 15% of your income for the next 24 years, all expenses included, lifetime job placement services (hey, they want you to start earning again) but with an acceleration clause to allow you to “buy out” the loan twice for double the rate but 2/3s the term, and includes an annuity in case of inability to work.

      That’s a private offer, no government force involved. You may object around bankruptcy, but it’s not clear to me what the libertarian case on discharging debts in backruptcy is anyway.

    4. “This likely should involve payment of a percentage of gross income for decades or for life, with colleges setting the price and the percentage established by that price.”

      Sevo’s law:
      Any time a third party sticks its nose in a transaction between two free agents, one and possibly both lose.
      This especially applies when that third party is a bigoted asshole, asshole bigot.

  22. I am all for ‘free’ (taxpayer funded) college as long as I am the one who gets to interview all the applicants and assign them to the appropriate campus and degree of my choosing. We can fund the first three years with the salaries we will not be paying ‘-studies’ professors, and the 50% staff reductions in the administrative offices. Gonna be a lot of education majors at Alaska colleges. Political science majors go to southern Texas campuses, with no air conditiong budget.

  23. Buttigieg has said the Democratic party needs to be in conversation with labor unions and supports the economic opportunities presented in the Green New Deal.

    Buttigieg joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which supports comprehensive background checks and opposes guns in schools and permitless carrying.
    “Just expressing one war vet’s hurt at seeing weapons of war used on peaceful Americans here at home.”

    “…but we know that a lot of people in this country are not paying their fair share. There’s this talk about this being some crazy left-wing position, but I think the idea that some people aren’t paying their fair share, and we’ve got to change that, that’s something most Americans get.”

    Buttigieg supports increasing the minimum wage?He also told the podcast Pod Save America that he thinks it’s worth taking universal basic income seriously, saying, “It’s the right moment to have the conversation.”

    we need to depoliticize the Supreme Court, with one option being expanding the Supreme Court to 15 justices with 10 appointed “in the political fashion” and five appointed by a unanimous agreement of the other 10 justices.

    Buttigieg has made it clear that he believes climate change deserves crisis-level attention from the government

    He is on record as saying “the electoral college has got to go”

    NOT being in favor of free college tuition does not make him a libertarian

    1. A turd sandwich on fresh bread is still a turd sandwich.

      1. But if the bread is GMO whole grain – – – – –

  24. When you throw around a figure like $1.5 trillion, you get a lot of attention.

    Good. Bring on the $1.5 trillion deficit.

  25. Hey Gillespie, hope you’re having a good day, keeping it real.

    You have this line here:
    When you throw around a figure like $1.5 trillion, you get a lot of attention. But when you break it down to the individual level, the numbers are a lot less terrifying. According to Lending Tree’s Student Loan Hero website (which uses data from the New York Federal Reserve and other institutions that track this sort of thing), about 70 percent of members of the Class of 2018 graduated with debt. The median monthly payment was $222.

    And you hyperlink to an article, but the article does not seem to be what is described in the hyperlinking text. Instead of linking to anything about Lending Tree, you link to the same Atlantic article you link in the previous paragraph. Is this a mistake?

  26. People shouldn’t be forced by the government to pay for each other’s children under threat of violence. End of story.

    1. But they are, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, so it’s necessary to discuss how the funds collected should be allocated.

      1. We need to minimize it.

        Free college doesn’t minimize anything.

  27. My public high school offered courses in calculus and literature that were far beyond anything 99% of people need in life.

    The local community college offers those same courses for relatively little.

    The only reason people go to expensive colleges is for social signaling.

    Why should I subsidize that?

    1. And to gain social networks. Never discount the ability of a competent person to leverage a social network into political success. Our Presidents probably the best example of that

  28. This is just a straight-up craven kickback to one of the Democrats’ most loyal supporters: the education racketeers

    Democrats take money from the taxpayers, give it to universities, who hire highly-paid administrators. The administrators go to parties and hobknob with Democrat politicians and donate heavily to their campaigns.

    Meanwhile, the teaching faculty is slowly being converted from tenured professors to adjunct professors (mostly contractors) and the students get less and less valuable educations as worthwhile courses are replaced by leftist indoctrination courses and more and more underqualified people get into college.

    Pretty soon a college degree will be worthless, but each taxpayer will be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars that went right into Democrats’ pockets.

    1. Are Sanders, et al talking about the high costs of today’s colleges? I was recently reading an article arguing that Penn State needed more taxpayer funding because it was one of the highest cost state colleges in the nation. The article mentioned PSU catered to 100,000 students and provided more than 50,000 jobs to the community. Whoa!
      That’s less than 2 students per every employee. I’ll be generous and say that each teacher can serve 20 students (though probably a lot more if technology is used properly.) So why are 9 other workers need to service those 20 students? I seriously doubt 20 students need 9 landscapers, maintenance men, office clerks, security cops, and guidance counselors. Surely each of those kind of employees can service 100 students each, if not more.
      Education costs are out of control and need to be reined in before there is any talk of “free” tuition for all.

      1. They could save a lot of money by eliminating the students. Most of the faculty and staff wouldn’t even notice.

        1. Until they need some muscle.

      2. It’s hard to say, because Universities have several other expectations beyond teaching. The most obvious being research.

        1. And babysitting.

          Discomfort protection.

          Making the university “a place of safety! A HOME!!”.

          And correcting injustice.

      3. They are probably also counting community jobs that come up as a result of school being there. 100,000 students want restaurants and bars and other places to go after school and on weekends. If the students weren’t there, those jobs wouldn’t be there either

  29. The point of education and universities.

    You get an opportunity to learn something, not a job, not a life, not respect, nothing is given to you. If you have not figured that out after a couple years you are wasting time and resources.

    Some here have brought up why waste all that time learning calculus, history, literature, anthropology, stuff that I never use.

    Good question. If you do not know why then it was not for you.

  30. Met a very nice young lady from Germany recently.

    She was here on an internship study abroad. Marketing web design or something.

    She said that in her country education was free.

    Free? I asked her. How can it be free?

    It was a party. There was nice food and drink. Somebody is paying for it.

    She seemed for the first time perhaps to think about that.

    That is how the socialists sell the scam. She had never thought about where the money was coming from, let alone that our host worked hard for the food and drink, and others who paid him did as well.

  31. just before I saw the receipt that said $7527 , I accept that my mom in-law woz like actualey making money in there spare time from there pretty old laptop. . there aunt had bean doing this for less than twentey months and at present cleared the depts on there appartment and bourt a great new Citro?n 2CV . look here…….
    Clik This Link inYour Browser.

    ???????? http://www.Help80.Com

  32. If you make college free, it becomes an entitlement and people even less prepared than they already are will be knocking on college’s door. I work in education, and no colleague I know believes that students today are more prepared than those of yesteryear. Doing this will probably also do two things: One, it will make non-free colleges more prestigious and two, it will make free colleges less positively impactful upon one’s future earnings. On the plus side, perhaps professors will be able to reverse the troubling trend of grade inflation brought about indirectly by the desperate desire of administrators to retain students in an age of fewer births.
    So what do we do about college debt? It may be time to consider the unthinkable: Make some kinds of trade skills free to acquire but charge people for ephemeral courses of study, such as gender studies, ceramics, and theater. If people take on debt, they will know at the outset that the skills they are acquiring are dicey in terms of employment, but they can go to college free, if they limit themselves to certain STEM fields, reviewed every few years for employment relevance. This may seem draconian, but the people acquiring this debt are young and inexperienced and we’ve never before asked them to take on such a heavy financial burden so early. $222 is actually quite a lot. That’s a car payment, and they still need to buy a car on top of that.

  33. The “reason” that has led to pushing for free college is that it has become almost impossible to get a job without a college degree. If we could by some means return to the circumstances where only those who have need of extensive study would require college. Those who don’t require extensive study could be handled by trade schools, apprenticeships, or simply learning on-the-job with what they’ve already learned in high school.
    Along with creating a situation where college is “required,” there is the issue of tuition costs that have risen far faster than inflation. Much of those costs are due to an increasingly top-heavy staff bloated with administrators. Only a minority of those administrators are a direct response to paperwork involved in student loans but even those wouldn’t be necessary if costs hadn’t so far outstripped the cost of living.
    Making college “free,” in addition to not actually solving the problem that created the current state of affairs, also simply transfers the rising cost of education from the students and their parents to every tax-payer. Once that’s done, the situation will only get worse as cost of education can increase at a far greater rate without suffering the backlash that it currently does.

    1. “Making college “free,” in addition to not actually solving the problem that created the current state of affairs, also simply transfers the rising cost of education from the students and their parents to every tax-payer. Once that’s done, the situation will only get worse as cost of education can increase at a far greater rate without suffering the backlash that it currently does.”

      That’s the plan.

  34. Ilhan. She’s another one. Competing with AOC for most illiberal illiterate (and racist) member of Congress. What a joke.

    Anyway.

    Make it free and you saturate and dilute education. Plenty of people in those classes don’t belong there. I think in a class of 100, maybe 10 belonged and another 10 were borderline. Everyone else should have been elsewhere and acted accordingly. So paying their education is monstrously unfair. I also don’t buy ‘it’s good for society’ line to justify it.

    There are superfluous courses that don’t have a hope in hell in providing a high income job to pay off a high debt. That’s what people need to learn and understand. When you’re about to undertake a massive debt you need to calculate if you can pay it back. In business we estimate how fast we want our money back.

    Something students need to be honest about: Will that course in intersectional and colonial white racism (whatever they call their nonsense bull shit) pay the bills?

    1. I know we’re on a path where morons like Ilhan, when presented with such questions, will probably say something equally vapid as ‘we’ll just get rid of bills! The water bill is too damn high!’

      The logic is about as useful as….

      “We will cut the bike down the middle!” Newman.

    2. “Make it free and you saturate and dilute education. Plenty of people in those classes don’t belong there. I think in a class of 100, maybe 10 belonged and another 10 were borderline. Everyone else should have been elsewhere and acted accordingly.”

      That was my experience when teaching at Big State U, and I taught in an actually useful discipline.

      1. Community colleges are more of a mixed bag. You had some working adults who already knew and had more experience than the degree will provide. You had a few unmotivated kids just out of high school. The vast majority were young adults working crap jobs who worked hard to learn something useful so they can make a better living. Most students outside of the bs gen ed courses either deserved to be there or would learn/do better in the market if given a chance. Of course, this is my experience going through for engineering. The funny part is that I have learned far more of relevance to the subject outside of school in tangential industries and positions than at any level of schooling

  35. If todays dumbass kids want a free education, keep ’em in high school until they can do basic math and can write a coherent essay making a logically valid argument. That should keep them busy. If they want four years of football and keggers while they get their SJW training let them pay for it themselves..

  36. write a coherent essay making a logically valid argument.

    Most commenters here can’t do that.

  37. If college is free, it should be illegal for anyone working at a college to be paid more than minimum wage. If everyone in the country has an obligation to pay, people working at colleges have an obligation to do their part to help.

  38. Universities are the seminaries of the Postmodern Theocracy. Pumping money into them only enriches another of the Left’s unaccountable power bases.

    If you want to learn, go online and learn. If the government wants to help, provide accreditation for skills, not payment to teaching services.

    You can’t learn everything for your undergraduate degree online. But you can get 80% of the value for very little cost.

    Instead of going to class lectures? Watch videos at 2x the speed. I just saved you hours a week.

  39. SHOCKING — Government enacted Pell/FSEOG Grants, E-Z Loans (Perkins/Stafford), Subsidies and FREE money so, (Socialistic Ad) “Everyone got a change to get a college degree” in 1972….. THEN… Education costs have been rising FASTER than inflation ever since um………… 1972!

    The only SHOCK is how many people believe “doing more” of what BROKE it is through some magical-pixie-dust power somehow going to FIX it!?!?! Socialistic minds have been “FIXING” healthcare this way for over 4-decades and they willingly acknowledge its a “MAJOR CRISIS” today yet keep insisting their “FIX” idea is going to “work” this time.

    STUPID – Doing the exact same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

  40. Google pay me $280 to 390$ each hour for internet working from home.i have made $35K on this month on line do business from home.i’m a ordinary understudy and that i paintings 2 to 5 hours in keeping with day in my greater time efficiently from home..every body can perform this interest and win extra dollars on-line in low renovation via truly take after this connection and take after subtle factors

    HERE>>>>>>>> wwww.GeoSalary.com

  41. Google pay me $280 to 390$ each hour for internet working from home.i have made $35K on this month on line do business from home.i’m a ordinary understudy and that i paintings 2 to 5 hours in keeping with day in my greater time efficiently from home..every body can perform this interest and win extra dollars on-line in low renovation via truly take after this connection and take after subtle factors

    HERE>>>>>>>> http://www.GeoSalary.com

  42. So…..if taxpayers foot the bill for someone’s medical degree the quid pro quo would be free medical care from the individual at least until some mythical breakeven point. Like Social Security. We pay the taxes for retirement, get money in our retirement and then it is taxed again. . . Oh! this isn’t working out so well.

    1. Its the 2-pronged approach to universal healthcare

  43. Wanna keep the debt load down? Don’t go to expensive schools. Get a job while you attend.

  44. “The median borrower with outstanding student loan debt for his or her own education owed $17,000 in 2016”

    They graduate and complain that they cannot afford to pay their student loans. Then when they get their first job they often run out and but a new car, and often that new car is nicer than they really ought to have bought (they should have bought a decent used car instead anyway, but they often buy a Lexus or BMW). They think nothing of making those car payments at the same time they’re complaining about their student loans.

    1. “muh entitled lifestyle”

  45. The market will correct it. Prospective students will realize they don’t need to go to college to succeed and the price of admission will decrease with reduced demand.

  46. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.\

    >>>>>>>>>> http://www.GeoSalary.com

  47. Unless you are talking about the ‘college experience’, which seems to be reference to 3-4 day weekends of drunken debauchery on the parents dime, college is already practically free.
    At community colleges, expense is a modest fraction of a day job that one can get (if indeed one has had the minimal high school prep necessary for college level work).
    In my state, getting scholarship and support for big state U is accessible to anyone who has demonstrated the chops to function at the college level.

    But the thing that’s really had for Dems to admit, is that most high school graduates are not ready for college level work. And it should not be up to a nanny state to pay through the nose to try to make college material out of youths who have not shown promise in their first 12 years of state sponsored education.

  48. West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, King Point, and New London are free.

  49. Skyrocketing tuition and debt should have been addressed long ago but the answer is not to say “screw you” to your earners and hand them the bill. It’s not only unfair but we’ll end-up with even more un/underemployed college graduates. Plus a bigger glut of college grads means employers look for them more for jobs a high school grad can do just fine. Not to mention some of the useless garbage we’d be paying for, idea that I should have to take the hit for some kid to be indoctrinated in blaming everything bad in the world on me is ridiculous.

  50. Because taxation is theft?

  51. In addition to the “why do they even have to go to college really?” questions. Moving toward taxpayer paid education ignores the real issue: Tuition is increasing at a rate far exceeding anything else. By shifting who pays for it, the proponents are simply making it possible for continued rising costs, all transferred to the taxpayers and the national debt.

  52. Gosh if they had had this when I was going to college I would probably have decided to just go to college for my career. It was a lot more fun in college than it is out here in productive life.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.