White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said at a White House briefing on Tuesday that President Barack Obama believes America needs “to fundamentally rethink and reshape” its higher education system and the he will be going on a bus tour on Thursday and Friday to make some proposals Earnest said “are not going to be popular with everybody.”
Translation: Obama—and the federal government—are going to do for college education what they have done for everything else: Create deficits, bankruptcy, mediocrity, unaccountability and inflation. Oops, I forgot. The federal government has already done all that to elementary and secondary education. Now it’s setting its sights on colleges and universities.
After noting that average college tuition costs have risen dramatically in recent decades, Earnest said: “So what the President believes that we need to do is we need to fundamentally rethink and reshape the college–the higher education system, and we need to find a way to build on innovation.”
Translation: Since government intervention in the private marketplace of higher education has resulted in unthinkable inflation, it’s time to do something. We’re going to simply make higher education free. And we’re going to put government in charge of higher education content. We’ll create the equivalent of the typical public school in academia. The dream is real, and it’s here.
“So the president on this bus tour will lay out some fundamental reforms that would bring real change to the way that we pay for college education in this country,” said Earnest. “Now, the proposals that the president is going to lay out are not going to be popular with everybody, but they are going to be in the best interest of middle-class families,” he said.
Translation: People who don’t need or want higher education, or who prefer to purchase their own in a private marketplace unhampered by government regulation, subsidies or price-distorting grants/loans, are screwed. People who want “higher education” for its own sake—something with a government stamp of approval, that’s all that matters—and who don’t want to pay for it will love this plan. Just like socialized medicine, mortgage subsidies, and all the rest: Free goodies for 52 percent of the population at the expense of 48 percent. It was shown in 2012 that this is a winning strategy at the voting booth, and we’re going to move forward with it now.
With a Republican majority still controlling the U.S. House of Representatives, at least for now, it will probably be difficult if not impossible to pass Obama’s education “initiative.” But his second term is still young, and a Democratic re-take over of the House of Representatives in 2014 cannot be ruled out—especially with the likes of the tearful, hapless John Boehner in charge of a Republican Party disintegrating before our very eyes (which, long-term, may be a good thing).
As with health care, Obama merely seeks to consolidate and completely nationalize higher education by placing it under control of the federal government. The easiest way to do this is simply to pay for everything—make it “free,” as public schools are currently “free.” I guarantee this is where he’s heading.
Nationalizing college education is not a radical idea. We’re already more than halfway there. For decades, the federal government has been providing subsidized loans to higher education to ensure that everybody gets a college degree. Making it easy to get loans and subsidies distorts the pricing mechanism of supply and demand required to keep costs sane and rational. In short, government increases demand for higher education (by making it kind of a “right” via student loans), which in turn drives the cost up. The same thing happened with health care, via Medicare and other government interventions in the private market. The same kind of thing happened in the early 2000s with the housing bubble, created largely by government interference in the private lending market to ensure everyone gets a loan.
When the government intervenes in other markets—such as health care or mortgages—and prices become inflated, it’s the “greedy doctors” or “greedy bankers” who get the blame. In fact, it’s the government creating the problem by artificially increasing demand for a product or service and thereby driving costs up, relative to supply.
Interestingly, “greedy universities” are not getting the blame for tuition inflation the way “greedy insurance companies” and “greedy bankers” are for inflation in their own fields. This is no accident. Universities, on the whole, are very supportive of the Big Government/socialist/Obamaist ideology, which is one reason why Leftist Establishment politicians want to keep them in business. If education were truly their goal, they would deregulate and open up the marketplace, not to mention leave people free to determine for themselves what form or type of education best suits them.
Instead, we’re about to have the equivalent of “Obamacare” and public schools foisted on our institutions of higher learning.
Free college? With curriculums totally controlled by the government, since the government will directly or indirectly be paying for everthing? Good luck with that, America–the 52 percent of you who will probably end up falling for it.
When Obama is finished with higher education, your college degree will be worth the price tag: Zero.
Michael J Hurd
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