President Barak Obama announced has proposed tuition-free community college for all students who “work for it.” The idea of “free” college education is not new and has its roots in modern socialism.
The plan would require students to maintain a 2.5 GPA, and community colleges would have to improve their standards. Sounds good, but as we have seen in the past, what sounds good isn’t always a good thing.
So far, Obama has left out the most important detail: how to pay for it. The only information available is that the states would have to take up a fraction of the cost — which could mean any amount — and the federal government would then pick up the rest. In other words, of course, you the taxpayer are going to pick up the tab.
I’ve discussed the idea of free education on this blog before. Free college education, which is almost exclusively pushed by progressives, is available in numerous European and Latin-American nations. However, officials in those nations are having to rethink the idea due to cost. Like so many other government programs, initial cost estimates are always grossly understated.
This particular plan is being sold as a great way to ease student loan debt. However, community-college students rarely pay the same level of tuition as students at major universities, where the cost of tuition can easily exceed US$10,000 per semester. Many community colleges already offer free tuition to those students with High ACT scores (my daughter was one of those) and even offer tuition reductions to students with high GED scores.
One local community college offers instruction to full-time students for just under $1,500 per semester for out-of-state students, and just over $1,000 for in-state students. Even a person working full time at minimum wage could easily pay his own tuition if he were to live at home.
So if assistance is already available and the cost is already low, why exactly is this being done?
It’s called a stepping stone: incrementalism is the political strategy that advocates one step at a time to achieve a major goal. In this case, the goal is the socialist worldview of free university for all. By entering at the junior-college level, socialists hope to offer a low-cost alternative to big student loan bills and eventually sell the grander scheme.
Once implemented it will be expanded to four-year universities and beyond. This objective is consistent with the basic philosophy of progressives: build schools not bombs. It comes on the heels of an announcement that the United States will be shutting down military bases in Europe.
While that may be a good idea, it follows a pattern of trying to disarm the United States. In fact, Obama once asked the Defense Department whether the United States could reduce her nuclear-weapons stockpile to near zero.
So the march to socialism in the United States continues. Like Sherman’s march to the sea, it will leave a wasteland in its wake.
Edited by Fergus Hodgson.