Why Bernie Sanders’ free college plan isn’t the most well thought out.
You soon realize in life that most things have both good and bad aspects attached to them. Nothing is more evident of that than higher education.
The good. A safe environment to find out who you really are, college parties, and people who get degrees earn a higher quality of living.
The bad. Discovering you’re the dude who carries a guitar everywhere, develop a lifetime alcohol dependency due to your constant partying, and use that nice job you attained with your degree to pay off your lifetime of crippling student debt.
Vermont Senator and future presidential runner-up Bernie Sanders has an idea however. Have Wall Street pay for it!
Revealed yesterday, in a proposed Senate bill, the payment for college costs would come from a tax on stock trades. Sen. Sanders’ plan would be to focus the cost of college away from students – along with their families – and to federal and state governments.
It’s an interesting idea. Since the banks got a bailout from the government, this would be a way for them to pay it forward. On paper it makes perfect sense. But if you’re asking yourself, “all this sounds a little too convenient,” that’s because it is.
Sen. Sanders’ plan is like Diet Coke. Sure it’s a great taste for zero calories, but rest assured, it is slowly killing you. That message was brought to you by Diet Coke!
Diet Coke. For when diabetes isn’t killing you, fast enough!
For starters the bill has ZERO chance of passing. The bill itself would cost the government $70 billion in implementation each year. That’s $10 billion more than President Obama’s 2-year college plan! States would also have to put up some money for the program, matching one dollar for every two dollars the federal government puts in. So what do fiscal conservatives think about the bill?
Ok, duly noted.
To be fair, the plan would also include an expansion in work study programs and would create a reduction in interest rates for federal student loans which would decrease the government’s profits off of them. These are actually solid ideas that most people agree are essential when talking about reducing the cost of student loans.
However, the plan starts to unravel when you start looking at its specifics.
Most industry experts claim the biggest hurdle to the plan comes in enforcement and compliance when it comes to working with states and the federal government. Overarching plans like these tend to be hard because each state wants to keep their autonomy. So trying to balance that with blanketed federal rules is a tough nut to crack.
I mean just look at all the nice things people have to say about No Child Left Behind.
Oh I don’t mean about the program, that’s a complete cluster fuck at the moment, I’m talking about the NCLB logo. You have to admit, it’s pretty sharp!
So while the old axiom of “states being the laboratories of democracy” is true, I like to think states as being the meth labs of democracy. Sometimes state programs – in conjunction with the federal government – create innovative and fantastic programs that solve larger problems, the federal government alone could never solve. These are the “blue meth” of government programs if you will.
But other times, these meth labs of democracy become trailer fires that can’t be stopped. And in those cases states don’t necessarily put them out.
They tend to just let them burn. They grab a beer, and let them burn.
That can’t happen to the student loan crisis, because trust me when I say, it’s already pretty fucked up to begin with. What Sen. Sanders and other politicians want to do is create a quick fix, but here’s the thing, we’ve been screwing up the student loan program since the 1980’s. Something this drastic would never work.
Because in the end of the day, we can’t afford to end up with something like this.
(Photo Credits: Google Images, Wikipedia, Project Big Fish Designs, Sony Pictures Television)