It’s almost as if reality is trying to tell us something.
Jane Sanders, the wife of socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, was the president of Burlington College, a small liberal arts school in Vermont, from 2004 to 2011. Today the current president of the school announced it would close its doors at the end of the month. The Washington Post reports the school’s closure announcement:
In recent years, Burlington College has struggled under the crushing weight of the debt incurred by the purchase of the Archdiocese property on North Avenue. Through sales of property, the College has worked to reduce this debt to a manageable level.
In April, the College’s lender informed the College it would not renew the College’s line of credit. The College relies on its line of credit to shoulder the cyclical nature of cash flow between semesters.
It was Jane Sanders (and the board) who made the decision that led to that “crushing weight of debt” in a failed attempt to create a new campus. Politico reported back in Feburary:
Jane Sanders took the helm in 2004 after having a successful year as interim president at Goddard College, in rural Plainfield, Vermont, and working in various roles for her husband. In an interview with the Burlington Free Press at the time, she cited building enrollment and expanding the school’s small endowment as priorities. The college adopted a plan to offer more majors and graduate-degree programs, renovate its campus and grow enrollment a couple of years later. And in 2010, Sanders and the board went further: She brokered a deal to buy a new plot of lakefront land with multiple buildings from the Roman Catholic Diocese to replace the college’s cramped quarters in a building that used to house a grocery store. The college used $10 million in bonds and loans to pay for the campus, according to reports by the Burlington Free Press.
But the plan to expand fundraising and draw new students was a disaster. Sanders left her job as president a year later and neither she nor the college would say precisely what had prompted the change in leadership. She took a $200,000 severance and the next president was left trying to figure out how to dig the school out from under the bonds and loans.
The story seems telling given that Jane’s husband Bernie is also a would-be big spender. Analysis of plans he has announced as a presidential candidate suggest he would double the amount of debt owed by the United States in a decade, and that’s after a huge tax increase. The AP reported earlier this month:
Over the next 10 years, the Sanders plan would increase federal revenues by $15.3 trillion but also increase federal outlays by $33.3 trillion, growing the cumulative budget deficit by about $18 trillion or roughly 7.5 percent of GDP.
Spending lots of money you don’t have on fantastic new plans often sounds like a good idea. That’s especially true when you’re the person announcing the bright tomorrow rather than the more sober person later on who is left scrambling to explain the “crushing weight of debt.”