Clinton promises a college degree in every pot

I have an idea. Why don’t we give every baby born in America a college diploma along with the birth certificate. It would be cheaper than Hillary Clinton’s plan and probably about as effective.

She calls hers a New College Compact and estimates it will cost only $350 billion over the next 10 years — details to come. Though the Constitution fails to give the president or Congress the power to spend money on college degrees or to tell states and public colleges how to do business or families how to provide higher education, Hillary would:

  • Families will do their part by making an affordable and realistic family contribution.
  • States will have to step up and meet their obligation to invest in higher education by maintaining current levels of higher education funding and reinvesting over time.
  • The Federal government will make a major new investment in the New College Compact and will never again profit off student loans for college students.
  • Colleges and universities will be accountable to improve their outcomes and control their costs to make sure their tuition is affordable and that students who invest in college leave with a degree.

Pay no attention to the fact that federal efforts to make college affordable have in fact made college less affordable by providing incentives to raise tuition rates.

Researchers for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found each dollar spent on federal student loans resulted in a 65-cent tuition hike. Each Pell Grant dollar hiked tuition 55 cents.

“While one would expect this (aid) expansion to improve the recipients’ welfare, for example, through lower interest payments and a relaxation of borrowing constraints, the subsidized loan expansion possibly resulted in lower welfare because of the sizable and offsetting tuition effect,” wrote the study’s authors.

Never let the facts get in the way of new federal spending program.

“We need to make a quality education affordable and available to everyone willing to work for it without saddling them with decades of debt,” Clinton was quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal. “I want every parent to know that his or her child can get a degree or you can get one yourself.”

Whether that degree would be worth the sheep skin it is written doesn’t seem to come up in the conversation.

According to a national survey, only half (51 percent to be precise) of the Class of 2014 college grads are in jobs that require any degree at all — only 45 percent of those with bachelor’s degree and 57 percent of those with associate degrees. Fully 31 percent are not working at all.

But it could be a proposal that entices a lot of people who want the government to take care of them. As the WSJ piece says:

Student debt tripled over the past decade, reaching $1.2 trillion in the first quarter of 2015, New York Federal Reserve figures show. Education-related debt is now the highest form of household credit outside of mortgages, surpassing even credit card debt.

Clinton’s Nevada campaign immediately sent out an email quoting several people praising the plan to give other people’s money to other people’s kids.

Nevada System of Higher Education Regent Sam Lieberman said, “Her plan to tie student loan repayment to income will help prevent those looking to better themselves from getting trapped under crushing student loan debt. Student debt in our country has surpassed $1.2 trillion. That is unacceptable, and Hillary Clinton has a plan to prevent that debt from rising.”

Nevada state Sen. Joyce Woodhouse chimed in,  “As a former school teacher and administrator for the Clark County School District, I understand the importance of making sure families and students believe that higher education is within reach. To ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to succeed, we need a system in place that rewards hard work and makes college affordable. That’s what Hillary Clinton’s plan does.”

 Affordable to whom?

Clinton’s proposal is little more than a promise to put a college in every pot. It will not create jobs to match all those worthless degrees.

In 1817, President James Madison vetoed a bill that would have spent federal funds on roads and canals to improve the flow of commerce. He explained:

The legislative powers vested in Congress are specified and enumerated in the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution, and it does not appear that the power proposed to be exercised by the bill is among the enumerated powers …

Power mad presidents and congresses since then have ignored this common sense approach to governance and spending.

Hillary announces her college degree subsidy program in New Hampshire. In Texas they have a term for that kind of fake grin. (AP photo)


43 comments on “Clinton promises a college degree in every pot

  1. nyp says:

    Inasmuch as you do believe the Interstate Highway System and the Hoover Dam are unconstitutional and that you also do not believe in free public elementary and secondary education, your views with respect to government assistance in making college more affordable are perfectly consistent.

  2. Bruce Feher says:

    Hey nyp, nothing if free!

  3. nyp says:

    I think it is appropriate to speak about free access to elementary and secondary education, just as we speak of free access to public parks and public libraries.

  4. I think the editors of National Review pretty well nailed it: “Hillary’s College Plan: A Jigger’s Worth of Good Ideas, a Keg’s Worth of Bad Ones”

  5. Barbara says:

    NYP – City/ county parks and city/ county libraries are not subsidized or controlled by the federal government. No one in NY should have to pay for a park in LV that they will never see or use.

    Public education should be a function of local government, not the federal government. The federal government should concentrate on those items delegated to them by the Constitution.

    The federal government needs to concentrate on being great at those enumerated powers. Because it ventures into areas it is not best suited to accomplish, the outcome is never as pristine as it would be if controlled and funded at the local level.

    Conservatives are not against education. We just see a more efficient method of achieving an educated populace. Competition between cities and states always leads to a better product.

  6. nyp says:

    Oh, ok. So you believe in public services, such as free parks, free libraries, free elementary schools, etc. That distinguishes you from Mr. Mitchell.

    We simply have a disagreement over the extent to which we ought to function as One Nation rather than as a collection of competing states with little economic integration and no common fiscal policy. You would like to see America be more like the current continental European system. I disagree with that.

  7. Steve says:

    Nyp sure likes to jump to conclusions.

  8. Nyp says:

    The woman expressly states that she wants a profound contraction of federal power. Pretty obvious that she wants an EU-style political system.

  9. Steve says:

    “Pretty obvious that she wants an EU-style political system.”
    Doubling down.

    What’s obvious is Barbara wants to hold the US Federal government to the document on which it is founded. Not some fantastical move to European style statist central economic control of other countries.

  10. Nyp says:

    She wants a common currency, but a central fiscal authority with very limited fiscal powers, and most fiscal power residing in the various states. Just like the EU.

  11. Barbara says:

    More ripped than rite…

  12. Steve says:

    I see nothing in any of her words regarding currency, Nyp.

    Its obvious Barbara wants to hold the US federal government to the directives in the documents on which it is founded.

  13. Nyp says:

    We know you oppose Stafford Loans and Pell Grants. You think food stamps, Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, the EPA, ObamaCare are all unconstitutional — right? You oppose fiscal stimulus programs. You want to make federal deficits illegal. Am I missing anything ?

  14. Nyp says:

    But you do want to keep the U.S. dollar as a common currency. I’m pretty sure Thomas Mitchell departs from you on that.

  15. Barbara says:

    You missed the Dept. of Education.

  16. Barbara says:

    Just finished Mark Levin’s Plunder and Deceit. You should read it Nyp,. I’m on to Adios America – the Left’s Plan to Turn our Country into a Third World Hellhole.

  17. Rincon says:

    !) Proposing a “free” college education is proposing more art history majors working at McDonald’s. Why is everything directed at college? We have a surplus of college students and a dearth of trade schools. but Hillary wants to subsidize that of which we have too much.
    2) Having states and localities pay their way independently means New Jersey would have about twice the tax base per person of Mississippi when based on income. This would tend to perpetuate Mississippi’s poverty and New Jersey’s wealth. The situation is far more radical at the local level. We are the land of opportunity…unless you live in the wrong area.

  18. Patrick says:

    Countries with few public services are typically described as Third-World countries.

    Republicans (and conservatives) seem mostly to favor the elimination of most public services.

    Time to publish my own book.

  19. Steve says:

    Rincon nailed it!

  20. Patrick says:

    Countries with the most educated populations (regardless of degree attained) are (not coincidentally) among the wealthiest countries in the world. In the competitive world we live in today, a country that fails to educate their population (and this means beyond post-secondary education) is the country that is no longer competitive. Not one size fits all education but surely ensuring that education is, financially, attainable for all is absolutely required if this country is to remain free, competive, and democratic.

    It’s absurd that public universities today have become as expensive as they are. They are becoming places where only the elite may aspire, and this is the path to ruin for a democratic country particularly one that has such a rich history of claiming that there is always the opportunity to “move” from the lower economic strata to a higher one based on ones merit. Well, without education, that just is a joke.

    Public education OUGHT to be free, and it OUGHT to be paid for by those that have benefitted the most, by a system of government, that has permitted them to benefit the most.

  21. Nyp says:

    Barbara / thanks for confirming what I said — you want an EU-type political system.

  22. Barbara says:

    Anything that is subsidized will increase in cost. Fact. Nyp – you’re in lala land. Following the Constitution would hardly lead to a EU style government. What type of government do you want to live under?

  23. nyp says:

    Putting aside the fact that your view of powers available to the government of the United States under the Consitutition is all wrong, doing what you propose clearly leads to an EU-style government. You want a system in which, although we have a national currency (the dollar) and free trade in people, capital and goods among states, the central government would be relatively weak compared to the states. No national pension programs (Social Security), no national education assistance (student loan programs); no national health care programs (Medicare); no national safety net (unemployment insurance assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, etc.) . And no power to provide economic assistance to particular states or regions.

    That is the current EU model of political governance. You do not want people in one state to pay to assist people in another state, just like the Germans and the Poles and the French do not want to pay to assist the Spaniards, the Finns, the Irish, the Greeks. And you want to ensure that the central government does not have the power to use tax revenue or other means to assist people in particular states. Just like the EU.

    Your ideal system of domestic government is far more European than you realize!

  24. Let’s call this what it is…a not so transparent (blatant) attempt to buy votes. Unfortunately, it’s that same target group who will be paying the piper when all of the IOU’s for all this “free” stuff” comes due (along with their children and grandchildren). And of course, the blue collar middle class and other regular working stiffs will be the ones who end up paying for initial hit for the bad student loan debt and free tuition for the younger more upwardly mobile entitled few…who will ultimately go looking for those jobs Rincon mentioned.

  25. Barbara says:

    You didn’t answer my question. What form of government do you want to live under? It certainly is not the Constitutional Republic given us by our founders.

  26. nyp says:

    I kind of like the good old USofA the way it is. I like Medicare. I like Social Security. I like unemployment insurance assistance. I like the interstate highway system, the Hoover Dam and the Army Corps of Engineers. I like like ObamaCare, Pell Grants and Stafford Loans. I like FEMA. I like the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. I like the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Parks and the NTSB.

    In short, I like the good old USofA the way it is, with all of the things you wish to abolish.

  27. Patrick says:

    nyp is a….”conservative”?


  28. Steve says:

    So, Nyp actually likes income disparity, corporate person-hood, low taxes on one percenters, dark money in elections, a middle class shrinking away and all the rest of the “good old USofA the way it is”

  29. The Greeks loved their welfare state, too.

  30. nyp says:

    Of course, there are many, many aspects of contemporary America that I would like to change.

    But I disagree with Thomas Mitchell and several of his commentators (including Barbara) that America went off the rails/down the road to serfdom/towards tyranny, etc. in 1865, 1913 or 1932.

  31. Steve says:

    America is more than the USA, America is a hemisphere. So as long as the good old USofA remains the way it is, nyp apparently wants to make the rest of the hemisphere just like “the good old USofA”

  32. Rincon says:

    Sigh. Really Steve?

    America (əˈmɛrɪkə)
    1. (Placename) short for the United States of America
    2. (Placename) Also called: the Americas the American continent, including North, South, and Central America

  33. Steve says:

    Exactly, ask anyone in this hemisphere outside the “good old USofA” what that word means and 2. (Placename) Also called: the Americas the American continent, including North, South, and Central America
    is what you will get.

    Nyp referred to the “good old USofA” when he intimated everything is just peach keen, but when he wants to change “many things” it becomes america.

    And a good time to spin it!

  34. Barbara says:

    Nyp- I like a lot of things too but I have a budget I have to live within. So does the United States eventually. How do you pay for all those things you like? Very shortly Medicare, Disability payments, and Social Security will not be able to pay promised benefits to millions who unfortunately have come to rely on these payments. Young people today are paying for those who receive these benefits. What about their future? Even under today’s structure, a 16 year old who begins working and paying payroll tax to support these programs will not receive as much from the system as he will pay into the system over his working lifetime. This is not sustainable by anyone’s math, and it is certainly not fair to the rising generation. Do you support stealing from them to support these systems you like?

  35. nyp says:

    putting aside the fact that you happen to be thoroughly wrong with respect to the underlying facts, your argument doesn’t really matter. You believe that Medicare, SSI, Social Security, Pell Grants, etc. are all unconstitutional. It doesn’t really matter whether or not they are well-funded, sustainable, etc. Even a sustainable unconstitutional Medicare program is still unconstitutional, and must be repealed.

    At least, that is the approach that you and Mr. Mitchell take.

    Nevertheless, I will answer your question: I do not support “stealing from the young to pay for the old,” because the factual premise of the question, that these programs are unsustainable, is wrong.

  36. Barbara says:

    Nyp – The Social Security Board of Trustees has issued warnings that the system is unsustainable. Do you not accept the Trustees own statements?

  37. nyp says:

    You know, I would be happy to have a dialogue with you about the economics of Social Security or of any other cherished federal program for improving the lives of American citizens.

    But first, you have to tell me if such a dialogue has any point to it. If you believe that Social Security, Medicare, the Interstate Highway System, are unconstitutional, it doesn’t matter whether or not they are on a sound financial footing, right? In other words, would you consider those programs constitutional if they were financially viable? Or would you still advocate that they be repealed?

  38. Barbara says:

    For this discussion, it is irrelevant whether they are constitutional. Let’s pretend that all the actions taken by the federal government to date are constitutional – how do you keep them going? Even the overseers of the programs – let’s further limit our discussion to just Social Security – say that current benefits cannot be paid past 2035 (this date also keeps changing). So, my very real world question is, how do we pay these benefits to the millions of people already receiving them without robbing the rising generation?

  39. nyp says:

    It isn’t irrelevant. You don’t care whether the programs are sustainable or not. You want to abolish all of them: Medicare, SSI, Social Security, the Highway Trust Fund, the EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, the whole shooting match. They could be as rich as Croesus and they could all be run with teutonic efficiency, but you wouldn’t care because you think that they are unconstitutional.

    Admit it, Barbara — have the courage of your extremism!

  40. Barbara says:

    Your reply would indicate that you know the programs are not sustainable. I’m very much concerned not only for the current retirees who depend on their monthly check, but also for my daughter and the other kids who will bear the brunt of our avarice. Legally the programs are not constitutional, but that fact pales in comparison to the very real devastation awaiting the rising generation.

  41. Nyp says:

    I’m pleased that you have the intellectual integrity to state flat-out that you believe that Medicare and Social Security are unconstitutional. Not that many Republicans would own up to that. I will address your “sustainability” argument tomorrow.

  42. nyp says:

    Barbara: I apologize for not responding earlier, but because today is the 80th birthday of Social Security, I have been out celebrating. There is a lot to celebrate! Social Security has helped generation after generation of Americans, is as incredibly popular now as it was when Franklin Roosevelt signed it into law, is run with greater administrative efficiency than any private pension program, and stands as an outstanding example of how intelligent government can improve the lives of American citizens.

    Now, before responding directly to the question you posed, I will note once again that you have forthrightly stated your strong belief that Social Security, along with Medicare, Medicaid, the EPA, Pell Grants, the Interstate Highway System, etc., is unconstitutional. Accordingly, regardless of your specific criticisms of how Social Security is funded and its benefits paid, it is difficult to think of any alternative you could offer that would provide greater or equivalent benefits but would not be unconstitutional according to your very peculiar notions of constitutional law.

    You write that the most recent actuarial report of the Social Security Trustees predicts that Social Security is “unsustainable” past 2034. People reading your post might think that means that in 2034 Social Security will go belly up and people will be left without their monthly checks. In reality, the Trustees project that if no adjustments in funding or benefits are made, beginning in 2034 the Social Security Trust Fund will only have sufficient funds to pay 75% of currently scheduled benefits. Your solution to this problem two decades in the future is to slash benefits now, repeal Social Security, etc.
    The actuarial shortfall is not because there is some fundamental flaw in a well-designed public pension system that has functioned brilliantly for 80 years. It is simply because of the movement of the baby boomer bulge through the demographic python. Overall, the funding shortfall over the next 75 years will be 2.68% of taxable payrolls, or a little less than 1% of GDP.

    The funding shortfall that is projected to take place two decades from now is serious and must be addressed. But it is nuts to write, as you do, about “avarice,”or “robbing future generations.” Anyone receiving Social Security can tell you that is hardly a bonanza. Only 10% of Social Security benefits go to people with incomes over $40,000. Only 2% goes to those making over $100,000. The benefits provide 83% of the income of the poorest 40% of seniors, and have cut the poverty rate among seniors from 42% of 9.5%. Some “avarice.”

    So, what should we do about the actuarial shortfall that will begin two decades from now? Most experts suggest that the gap should be addressed through a variety of measures. For example, Congress could raise the maximum amount of wages subject to the payroll tax. In prior decades the tax applied to 90% of covered earnings; now, it only applies to 83% of covered earnings. Congress could also apply the payroll tax to employer-provided healthcare benefits, as Republican Senator Pete Dominici once proposed. Congress could also increase the payroll tax to take into account the expected increase in living standards, while still leaving workers with much higher take-home pay. Finally,
    These are all reasonable responses to a very real but easily-addressed problem.

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