But…But…But… College in Europe is Free!


Eventually – maybe sooner than later – the primaries will conclude and it will on to the general election.

As it stands now, the presumptive nominee on the democrat side will be Hillary Clinton. I still can’t believe it, but I guess criminal behavior in America, at least on the left, is not only NOT frowned upon, but appears to be a resume enhancement. And it seems Clinton is picking up some steam. Once she gets that caboose moving forward, there’s no stopping it.

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One of the reasons Clinton swamped Sanders in the recent South Carolina primary may be her new college plan. In January, her new platform included what seems to be free college – similar to Sanders.

She exclaimed: “And I’ll give you debt-free tuition at public colleges and universities in America, and we’re finally going to give you a chance to refinance your student debt and save thousands of dollars. And I have a special provision in my college plans, I want a $25 billion dollar fund specifically aimed at helping historically black colleges and universities.”

Now, I don’t know exactly what “debt-free tuition” is, but it sounds to me like free college.

Sanders has been pushing the idea for his entire campaign. The refrain is, if Europe can do it, why can’t we? And of course this is manna from heaven for the low information crowd. To those who give it zero thought, free stuff is great – and free. For we who do think about such things, the immutable fact is that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone is paying, directly or indirectly.

But still they argue – college is, in fact, free in many European nations. Well, that’s true – so let’s take a look at how the EU is blossoming by making everything “free.”

collegeThe EU is comprised of 27 nations. The major players are obviously the Western European countries of Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and the U.K.

Experts say a healthy GDP growth rate, the measure of economic expansion, is somewhere between 2.5 to 5% sustained. Tracking the EU GDP growth rate, it has averaged an anemic 0.36 percent from 1995 to 2015, reaching an all time high of 1.20 percent in the second quarter of 1997 and a record low of -3 percent in the first quarter of 2009.

One must therefore conclude that the European Union is an economic black hole. And why is this? That’s simple – its called Socialism. Most European countries are either socialist or mostly so. The government controls virtually everything from healthcare to education. To the uninformed outsider, everything appears to be free, but someone is paying for all those freebies. And that someone is the taxpayer.

In fact, Mary Clare Reim, a research associate in education policy at the Heritage Foundation, said “the ramifications of ‘free tuition’ often means skyrocketing taxes for citizens. “First, college in these countries is not free. Nothing, in fact, is free,” Reim said.

You simply cannot call something free if you are asking someone else to pay for it.” And she’s right. You can’t give something away that isn’t yours to begin with. Government must first confiscate from one segment of society in order to subsidize another. That’s socialism.

Another benefit of European “free” education – something never talked about, but is the same problem European nations have with “free” healthcare – is rationing.

bad ideaMany EU nations “limit college attendees by implementing grueling testing systems that automatically eliminate many prospective students.” This is especially prevalent in France and Germany. “France and Germany are notorious for their extensive and highly selective testing systems,” said Ryan McMaken, editor of the Mises Daily and The Austrian. “In other words, far fewer people are allowed to attend higher education institutions in these systems, than is the case in the U.S.”

This rationing will also have another unintended consequence. Many colleges will be forced to close because they won’t be able to compete for the limited amount of money and students. There are only 76 accredited colleges and universities now in Germany for a population of 80 million. A quick extrapolation would give us 304 for a population of 320 million. We currently have over 4100. Most could never survive under government rationing. Winners and losers will be chosen.

Like healthcare, this is the system the democrats wish to emulate. Hooray for “free” higher education, where the average student will pay nothing for it because they will never get to attend and teachers and professors will be unemployed.

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