Politics

Warren's 'Universal Free College' Plan Is No Free Lunch

It's classic Marxism: Take from the rich to pay for government wealth redistribution.

Thomas Gallatin · Apr. 23, 2019

The country’s favorite 1/1024th Native American and Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren recently released her plan for tackling the growing problem of student-loan debt. Currently running a disappointing third in her own state, Warren’s pitch is a desperate attempt to gain attention by running to the left of current Democrat frontrunner Bernie Sanders. Warren is seeking to take the lead on government-provided “free stuff” by offering some actual details as to how she would implement a “free college” program. Not surprisingly, the former college professor’s plan is chock-full of stuff that would make any Marxist revolutionary proud. No wonder she made her pitch on Vladimir Lenin’s birthday.

Warren’s first order of business would be to “solve” the problem of student-loan debt by simply canceling it. She explains, “The first step in addressing this crisis is to deal head-on with the outstanding debt that is weighing down millions of families and should never have been required in the first place. That’s why I’m calling for something truly transformational  —  the cancellation of up to $50,000 in student loan debt for 42 million Americans.” So, by a stroke of the pen, she would eliminate at least part of the obligations of “more than 95% of the nearly 45 million Americans with student loan debt,” as well as “wipe out student loan debt entirely for more than 75% of the Americans with that debt.”

But everyone knows that money doesn’t grow on trees; somebody has to pay for this. Warren has an answer for that: “the government,” which of course any thinking person knows means taxpayers. However, she contends that it would only be “a one-time cost … of $640 billion.” It’s the second part of her plan, the Universal Free College program, that would tip the scales at “roughly $1.25 trillion over ten years” and should really be getting everyone’s attention. (Americans owe a collective $1.5 trillion in student loans.) But, don’t worry — Warren has this cost figured out as well. You see, only “the 75,000 wealthiest families in the country” will be charged. She calls it her “Ultra-Millionaire Tax” on “those with fortunes of $50 million or more.” This is plainly wealth redistribution.

Warren is committed to the “universal” aspect of her plan — so much so that she would “prohibit public colleges from considering citizenship status” during admissions decisions. Her plan would also “ban for-profit colleges from receiving any federal dollars (including military benefits and federal student loans), so they can no longer use taxpayer dollars to enrich themselves while targeting lower-income students, service members, and students of color and leaving them saddled with debt.” Evidently, Warren would rather they become permanent wards of the state.


Some other thoughts from our friends on the Right:

“We are familiar with all the fine rhetoric about higher education being the key to preparing the 21st-century work force and maximizing its productivity, but we cannot help but notice that this is being championed by the same people who have helped to make our K–12 education system the grotesque laughing stock that it is. The public schools are in effect a dysfunctional and wildly corrupt full-employment program for Democratic constituencies, and that same dynamic has driven much of the growth in college administration, too: There are a lot of deputy deans of social justice out there. We don’t need one more, much less 10,000 more.” —National Review

“As long as the government makes it easy to get loans, colleges are going to continue increasing tuition and fees above the rate of inflation. If the federal government bails out students, colleges will increase costs even further as everyone realizes there will be no consequence.” —Erick Erickson

“This pander will not only be incredibly costly, but it will be a slap in the face to those who have already struggled to pay off their student loans without government assistance.” —Philip Klein

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