The Left’s favored method of securing an election victory has been on full display over the last few months. Between the openly socialist Bernie Sanders, and the undercover socialist Hillary Clinton, the Democrat Presidential contenders did their best to out promise each other when it came to offering “free” goodies to their constituents. Eventually the two candidates settled on one particular “giveaway” as their bludgeon to win over a certain class of voters – “free” college.
Why “free” college? Well, the Democrat Party has already promised the moon (and more) to African-Americans, Illegal Immigrants, the LGBTQ lobby, the pothead cabal, the ex-con contingent, and the Union horde. They didn’t really have anything new to promise to give away… until they hit upon “free” college. Democrats decided that this could be a great way to get traditionally non-voting college students active and simultaneously stir up their welfare-state soldiers.
There are a lot of problems with this strategy, but today we’re going to focus on one in particular, brought to us from Taylor Millard at HotAir and Scott Burns at the Dallas Morning News. The two men tag team to expose the impossibility of Hillary Clinton’s supposedly “free” healthcare scheme.
First, here’s what Clinton has to say about providing “debt-free” college for everyone:
Debt-Free College for our Future Students
Hillary Clinton has pledged to achieve the goal of debt-free college for future graduates, so that cost is never a barrier for young people seeking to pursue their dreams of higher education. It’s a simple, but bold idea: Every student should be able to graduate from a public college or university in their state without taking on any student debt. To reach this goal, Hillary is enhancing the New College Compact she announced last year. Her plan will:
- Eliminate college tuition for working families. Families with income up to $125,000 will pay no tuition at in-state public colleges and universities – covering more than 80 percent of all families. From the start of this plan, every student from a family making $85,000 a year or less will be able to go to a 4-year public college or university tuition free. This income threshold will increase by $10,000 a year every year over the next four years so that by 2021, all students with a family income of $125,000 will have the opportunity to pay no tuition. She will also continue her commitment to ensure that community colleges are tuition-free for all working families
- Help students deal with all of the costs of attending college. Hillary Clinton will protect Pell Grant funding to help low- and middle-income students pay non-tuition expenses, and she will restore year-round Pell Grant funding so that students have the necessary support they need to take summer classes and meet their goal of completing college. She will make a major investment in HBCUs, Minority-Serving Institutions and other low-cost, modest-endowment private schools so that these deserving students also benefit from the lower cost of college. She will work to expand opportunities for students to earn money for expenses through term-time work and to receive college credit for national service. She will expand support for student-parents, including a fifteen-fold increase in federal funding for on-campus child care.
The only problem with this? The numbers simply don’t add up, for a few reasons. From Millard and Burns:
Clinton also wants a three month moratorium on student loan payments, which sounds awesome, right? There’s just one problem: the federal government profits too much from student loans for a “three month moratorium” to make an actual dent in the amount of cash students pay for loans. Scott Burns at The Dallas Morning News writes the federal government actually collects taxes on student loans (emphasis mine):
The hard part comes when the graduate has to pay back student loans. Why? Because it is done with after-tax income. While interest payments up to $2,500 a year may be deductible, principal repayment is not. So if you are in the 66 percent of people who graduate from a public college with debt and have average debt, you’ll owe $25,550 of after-tax income. With a marginal tax rate of 25 percent, that means you’ll pay back $34,067, a nice $8,517 premium for Uncle Sam…
Now let’s do a back-of-the-envelope calculation. According to the student loan debt clock, the current level of student debt is $1.435 trillion. So if Uncle Sam pulls in taxes on this amount, the total students will have to pay back, tax premium included, would be $2.13 trillion. Again, that’s an added tax premium of nearly 50 percent, about $700 billion.
See how Clinton’s promise of “debt free college” is a load of bull-turds? Clinton could require everyone making over $250K a year to pay some sort of “student loan tax,” and the student debt issues would still exist.
Any way you slice it, the math just doesn’t work. The best way to make college cheaper? Let the market work, get the government out of the education business, and stop offering cheap loans to people who can’t afford to pay them. Do these things and you will quickly see tuition prices drop and the college debt disaster abate. Sadly, the left doesn’t like to let a crisis go to waste, so instead of working to end the calamity that liberal socialist policies have brought about, they’ll continue to push the same terrible policies as their solution to the problem. If this sounds insane to you… it’s because it is insane.