Thursday, January 22, 2015

Solving problems vs. fishing for votes

There is plenty to dislike in President Soetoro's "State of the Union" speech, but probably the biggest obnoxious thing in it is his plan to make community college "free".  We of course start our criticism with the TANSTAAFL principle; there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.  Yes, community college costs, and the only question we have about the matter is who is paying. 

And who is paying?  Well, of course, people who are wise enough to pay for their own education--Obama desires a tax on 529 plans to pay for it.  In other words, he's proposing that the government break a promise not to tax the interest on these plans, hurt the "ants" who saved for the future, and all to bless the "grasshoppers" who did not.  It's a nasty low blow if it gets passed, to put it mildly.

And what is the benefit?  Well, the graduation rate from community colleges is an abysmal 20% or less, and anyone who's been in college knows what happens with most students who do not have skin in the game--study is an afterthought at best.   For example, Pell Grant recipients have a 40% graduation rate, well below the national average.   That's what comes when the government pays your tuition without regard to your ability to get a degree.

So our supposed "benefit" is more students spending years in community college instead of learning a trade--more or less, a net loss of billions of dollars in tuition costs, plus a net loss of tens of thousands of young people in the work force learning valid trades. 

However, as Dear Leader knows well, it buys votes from those who think they are being helped, no matter what the truth of the matter is. 

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