When you’ve lost the Chicago Tribune…
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren’s pie in the sky plan to cancel most student loan debt and make college tuition free for everyone has come under plenty of well-deserved criticism, mostly from conservatives. But now the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune has gotten in on the act. They were so unimpressed with the plan that that gave it a grade of “F,” explaining that her good intentions were unrealistic and her cost projections are fictional. (Free Beacon)
The Chicago Tribune editorial board gave a failing grade to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) for her student loan debt plan, calling it too costly and favorable to the wealthy.
“Warren’s plan would cost more than advertised, and it would shower federal largesse on millions of Americans who don’t need it. You don’t need a college education to understand why that’s a bad idea,” the board wrote.
Warren, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, has released a proposal she claims would eliminate student debt for 95 percent of Americans, with households making less than $100,000 getting up to $50,000 of their debts canceled, and the amount of forgiveness getting smaller as salary rose.
It’s a well-done analysis and it’s worth a look. (See the original article here.) The thing about the Tribune’s critique is that it doesn’t just come at the question from a conservative cost analysis viewpoint. They do cover that part of it, noting that Warren’s estimates lowball the projected costs by as much as half a trillion dollars and even her (probably unconstitutional) wealth tax couldn’t cover anywhere near that amount. But they go on from there to bash the plan from a far more liberal perspective.
The benefits of this plan would, according to the editorial board, flow far more heavily to those who should have the least need for help. They note that, on average, people with a four-year degree earn millions more than people with only a high school diploma. Also, there are still many families out there earning less than $100K who are able to afford college tuition. They would be getting an expensive free ride that they don’t technically need.
Meanwhile, students from the poorest families (who could arguably use the help) already qualify for Pell Grants and other forms of assistance, so they generally wind up with a considerably lower tuition bill than their more wealthy friends. On top of that, the paper touches on how human beings tend to assign value to things, including their education. If your schooling is free, it means less to you and some students will no doubt be willing to walk away early if a decent job presents itself.
This entire plan is a disaster. And none of the points above even touch on the fundamental unfairness of it all. What do you say to all of the people who have paid off all or most of their student debt? What’s your answer if they want to have their tuition money refunded to them? What Warren is proposing sounds great to liberal activists when it’s printed on a t-shirt. But underneath the covers, it’s a plan to bankrupt the country far more quickly while providing very little in return.