June 24, 2019

Sanders, Warren Vie for ‘King of the Free-Stuff Mountain’

Bernie attempts to one-up his presidential rival with a massive student-loan giveaway.

According to a national polling average from RealClearPolitics, Joe Biden is currently in first place among Democrat presidential candidates, with 31.9% approval. Directly beneath him sits Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has mustered 15% support. But closing in is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whose 11.9% backing is up from 7.5% on June 5. Meanwhile, the first Democrat presidential debate is this coming Wednesday. So what better time is there for Sanders to reassure voters of his “free stuff” bona fides?

Sanders is conjuring up a scheme “that would eliminate all $1.6 trillion of American student debt,” according to Fox News, which adds, “The proposal package also includes making public universities, community colleges and trade schools tuition-free.” Recall that Warren recently outlined her own scheme. As the Associated Press explains, “The key difference is that Warren’s plan considers the income of the borrowers, canceling $50,000 in debt for those earning less than $100,000 per year and affecting an estimated 42 million people in the U.S.” In other words, Sanders is attempting to one-up his colleague, who is a legitimate threat, if polling is to be believed.

This is clearly frustrating Sanders, who still believes the Democrat Party overlords are conspiring against him. Last week, Politico ran a headline titled, “Centrists are coming around to Elizabeth Warren as an alternative to Bernie Sanders,” to which Sanders responded, “The cat is out of the bag. The corporate wing of the Democratic Party is publicly ‘anybody but Bernie.’”

Of course, “Sanders reportedly plans to pay for the lofty proposal with a tax on Wall Street, which his campaign says will generate more than $2 trillion over 10 years,” Fox News notes. Right. Just like students loans were predicted to be “profitable.”

As we reported last month, “In 2017, the CBO … stated that the government-managed student-loan program would garner a respectable $114 billion in revenue over the ensuing 10 years. Then, in 2018, that revenue estimate nosedived to just $8.7 billion. … Now, the CBO is calculating a $31 billion deficit over the next 10 years. A Bloomberg Government report parsed this development as ‘a shift from past CBO forecasts that the government would profit from the program.’ That’s not merely a shift. That’s a deviation of epic proportions.”

This is par for the course when it comes to government-funded programs. Regardless of whether Sanders’s or Warren’s plans prevail, the fact of the matter is that student-loan forgiveness is a nonstarter. As Frank J. Fleming aptly notes, “The problem is that college costs have skyrocketed versus inflation due to government interference in loans, and the solution people are proposing is to have the government pay off those loans, giving colleges even less incentive to cut costs. There would be no student debt crisis if colleges hadn’t been fueled into an inflation of costs. If you’re talking about loans and nothing about making colleges reduce costs, despite all you posturing about caring about students, you are … making things worse.”

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