Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Obama's College Giveaway

One item in Pres. Obama's State of the Union address hasn't gotten a lot of air time since:
"... let's tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only 10 percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after 20 years — and forgiven after 10 years if they choose a career in public service, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college."
My initial response was, "Are you out of your ever-loving mind?!"

After digesting and contemplating this idea for a while, I've replaced "ever-loving" with something stronger.

Do we really need another giveaway in this country? Is there something we haven't hocked to China yet?

Let's look at three reasons this is a terrible idea.

1) One of the reasons college costs so much these days is financial aid keeps going up.

Wait, isn't it the other way around? Yes and no. It's a cycle, a little dance they do. Colleges know that if they raise prices, aid will just go up. Grants will grow, and if they don't people can borrow a little more. So financial aid increases, then the colleges can raise prices again.

Promising that you'll never have to pay off your full loans will only make that worse.

2) Making college "more affordable" will further encourage people to go to college who really aren't cut out for it.

Government alone isn't at fault here, but more and more people think of college as simply the next level of education after high school. And anyone who suggests that trade schools are a good alternative is usually viciously attacked.

Everyone isn't cut out for college. Every job shouldn't require a college degree.

And supply and demand says sending more people after the same product will increase the price of that product.

3) We give away enough.

We give money and food to the poor. We have housing assistance. We have health care for the poor and many want to expand that to everyone. Now we want to make a college education an entitlement? Where will it end?

It's time for the "gimme" mentality to stop. People need (on a deep, fundamental level) to make their own way. Helping people in need is one thing. Making sure everyone has anything they could desire is something else entirely — something toxic.

It's time we say, "Enough!"

And it's time we tell Mr. Obama that the American people aren't his piggy bank for whatever project crosses his mind. Our Constitution lists the responsibilities and prerogatives of the federal government; we need to obey it. I know he used to teach it, but I wonder if he ever read it.


MELackey said...

If this deal sticks, I intend to take full advantage of it. I'll take the money I have invested for my kids education and keep it invested. My kids will borrow as much as they can at artificially low interest rates to pay for school. When they graduate, get a job, and have to pay the money back, I'll make the payments for them, capped at 10% of THEIR salary. At the end of 20 years (or 10 years if they are on the Gov't tit), I'll finish paying and they can use the leftover money to put me in a nicer nursing home.

Jon said...

I thought much the same thing when I heard this. The question that popped into my head was, "And who, pray tell, is going to be paying for this?" Alas, I already know the answer.

ChrisB said...

Mark, that's a great plan unless the economy crashes because the government has sucked up all the available credit. Some predict this as early 10 years.

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