Perhaps Hillary Clinton has a different definition of “affordable” than most of us. A plan that spends $350 billion can be defined as many things, but affordable is not on that list. Still, Hillary’s plan raises the stakes among a demographic that Democrats cannot afford to lose:
Hillary Rodham Clinton will announce a $350 billion plan Monday to make college affordable and relieve the burden of student debt for millions of Americans, drawing on popular tenets of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. …
At the heart of the plan, dubbed the New College Compact, is an incentive program that would provide money to states that guarantee “no-loan” tuition at four-year public universities and community colleges. States that enroll a high number of low- and middle-income students would receive more money, as would those that work with schools to reduce living expenses. Because Pell grants, a form of federal aid for students from families making less than $60,000, are not included in the no-debt calculation, Clinton anticipates lower income students could use that money to cover books, as well as room and board.
In other words, it’s a big giveaway to the millennials, which are the voters Democrats can’t afford to have sitting on the sidelines in November 2016. Ever since the government took over the student loan industry a few years ago under Barack Obama, those burdened with student loans have wanted a debt-forgiveness plan that would free them from the yoke of astronomical debt, largely created by the bubble that government inflated in the first place. They got student loans through taxpayer-backed federal guarantees, and now they want to default on those loans and have taxpayers pick up the tab for their tuition, too.
Hillary proposes that taxpayers freeze capital to pay for tuition, room, and board for college students in the future. The problem with that plan is that even without interest, those students will face large debt loads, as they do now. Meanwhile, taxpayers in the states will front that cash with federal guarantees. What happens when those students can’t or won’t pay those loans back? It will require a massive bailout.
And guess who picks up the tab for making college affordable?
Although Clinton doesn’t mention the word “free” in her proposal, the basic foundation is the same as legislation Sanders introduced in May that would eliminate tuition at four-year public colleges through federal investment. But instead of taxing Wall Street transactions as Sanders has proposed, Clinton would close tax loopholes to pay for her plan.
“Closing loopholes” means tax hikes. One way or another, taxpayers who have been backing these student loans for decades while government subsidies stoked demand and sent tuition prices skyrocketing will pay through the nose for “affordability.” It’s yet another government-induced price spiral, not altogether unlike the Affordable Care Act, which has proven to be anything but — which also relies on massive taxpayer subsidies, and which will also require massive taxpayer bailouts in the end.
One might wonder why, when we borrow 40% of the money the federal government spends, that we’re discussing a $350 billion plan at all for anything except defense. But if the government wants to spend money on education, perhaps a better target would be primary education, and a better plan would be school choice to better prepare students for higher education down the road. Perhaps we can teach them the real definition of affordable somewhere along the way, too.