Kennelly: The Problems with Free Education

TANSTAAFL—There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. 

Nor a free education.  Government education is about radicalism. Sex, bullying and hatred for freedom and our nation.  Free education is too expensive for our future, we cannot afford the miseducation of our children.

The Problems with Free Education

Teachers in the nation’s second-largest school district will go on strike as soon as Jan. 10 if there’s no settlement of its long-running contract dispute, union leaders said Wednesday, Dec. 19. The announcement by United Teachers Los Angeles threatens the first strike against the Los Angeles Unified School District in nearly 30 years and follows about 20 months of negotiations. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) ORG XMIT: CADD303

Edward Kennelly, Exclusive to the California Political News and Views,  12/15/20 

President-elect Joe Biden has proposed several ambitious plans to provide more high school seniors access to affordable college education and to forgive former students’ existing loan debt. As of 2020 student loan debt has reached $1.56 trillion. In all, roughly 45 million individuals have borrowed funds in the form of student loans. To try to address this issue, Democrats in Congress have proposed debt forgiveness plans. As President-elect, Joe Biden has brought forth several ambitious plans in the realm of education. Would a debt forgiveness plan really be fair for our society? Should the federal government enact debt free secondary education programs for all students?

Due to most states being on lockdown and several states still having restrictive COVID-19 measures; household mortgage debt and car loan debt skyrocketed.  This year the home mortgage debt of households has reached nearly $10 trillion. The auto loan debt has reached $1.2 trillion. Just like student loans, these debts were incurred by particular individuals and families.  

Biden has called on Congress to take “immediate” action to forgive student loans. He said that Congress should forgive up to $10,000 in student loans for individuals who are “economically distressed.” Senatorial Democrats have prompted Biden to make even more radical changes. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have encouraged Biden to sign an executive order to forgive up to $50,000 in student loans for individuals who make $125,000 per year or less. In addition to forgiving student debt, Biden wants to ensure that every high school student can attend a community college or trade school debt free.  

 Biden is partly inspired to enact such legislation because of his wife. The presumptive First Lady, Jill Biden, has plans to use her position to promote free community college nationwide. Dr. Biden, a lifetime community college professor, previously championed community college as Second Lady. Since twenty-five states have already enacted full or partial promise scholarships to help residents pay for community college, then a universal community college plan may become a reality in the near future. To make this plan a reality President-elect Biden hopes to enact a federal-state partnership in which the federal government will pay for 75% of each states costs while states will have to pay for the remaining 25%. Such funds would also be used to help pay for part-time students and DREAMers to attend college. DREAMers are immigrants who came to the U.S. with their parents during childhood. Biden’s campaign announced that a universal community college or trade school program would cost $750 billion a year.

While a universal free secondary education program sounds good on paper there are many potential problems with it. DREAMers should not be given free secondary education since their parents illegally came into the United States. Providing free community college or trade school to such students would be rewarding criminal behavior. It would encourage more immigrants to come into the United States illegally. Our government should spend money helping American citizens receive higher education rather than illegal immigrants.

To pay for Biden’s yearly $750 billion plan the Democrats would either have to raise taxes on the middle class and rich or significantly increase our nation’s debt. Neither option is good. Why should people who were wise with their money have to pay for other people’s college tuition? Likewise if Biden wanted to forgive up to $50,000 in student loans for low income and middle income individuals, then other people in society, including the poor, would have to pay for those expenses. This would not be fair for people such as myself who chose to attend a community college and an inexpensive public university instead of going to an expensive private or public university.  

Since individuals who make roughly $125,000 a year are in the 90th percentile, then there is no reason why other people should have to pay for their student loans. Such persons should be able to pay for these loans themselves. The median national income is roughly $45,000 a year. People should not be paying for the student loans of individuals who make more than $45,000 a year.

Higher education is an investment that people make so that they will be valuable in the workforce. Individuals attend college so that they will have higher salaries in the future. People should seek degrees in fields where they can contribute to society and make a living. If individuals choose to go to an expensive out-of-state school, then it is their responsibility to pay back their student loans. It should not be the responsibility of those who already paid back their own student loans or who were never able to go to trade school or college.

If the federal government were to pay off $50,000 for every low-income or middle income person’s student loans then these people would not learn responsibility. When these people go to buy their first house they may be irresponsible with their money and buy a house they cannot afford. Should the government help them pay for a house they cannot afford? What if they buy a car that is too expensive? Will the government help them in this circumstance? No, in both of these instances such an individual will either have to find a way to pay their debts or they will lose their house and car. The same should apply to student debt. It is the student’s responsibility to pay back his student debt. This is not the government’s responsibility.

Instead of having the federal government pay for each state’s promise programs, states should stick to paying for the promise programs themselves. Each state can determine if it wants to enact a totally free program, partially free program, or no program at all. Some states may not want to implement free secondary education programs.

Lastly, if the government were to offer free two-year degrees for every graduating high school student, then overtime more students will have college degrees. This will result in these types of degrees losing their value overtime. This happened with high school diplomas. A high school diploma was far more valuable in the early 20th century than it is today. To address this issue, community college programs and trade schools should have higher standards for students than high schools. These programs should require students to maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average and require them to do volunteer work each semester. Even with these requirements in place more people will still be getting degrees which may result in these degrees losing their value overtime.

On top of college degrees losing their value, the quality of education may also decline. Professors may pass their students, even ones who are failing, because they feel pressured indirectly from the government or society. Like high school, the education may be simplified in hopes that everyone will pass. Productive students may not feel challenged while lazy students may continue not to work.

Instead of ensuring everyone has access to a free degree, the government and states should provide scholarships to hardworking students. These students should be rewarded for their hard work and dedication. Scholarships should be given to the best students so that they can more easily determine where they want to go to college or trade school.   

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

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