The Everyone Must Be Able To Go To College Debacle


Dick-Baynton-Print-MugWhen you dine out, there is a good chance your server was a college graduate. There are at least 330,000 waiters, waitresses, taxi drivers and other workers who have earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees. There are an estimated 115,520 janitors in the U.S. with college degrees. On–the-job training would probably suffice.

Why are there so many people in these occupations with college educations? Because our government is determined to see that everyone that graduates high school gets a shot at college. Robert Samuelson, the award-winning columnist at The Washington Post penned an article in 2012 entitled, ”It’s time to drop the college-for-all crusade.” In his article, the author says that ‘the college-for-all crusade has outlived its usefulness. Time to ditch it. Like the crusade to make all Americans homeowners, it’s now doing more harm than good.”

Emeritus Professor of Economics at Ohio University Richard Vedder points out that the “U.S. Department of Labor says the majority of new American jobs over the next decade do not need a college degree.” In his 2012 State of the Union address, the President said, ”Higher education can’t be a luxury. It is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.” What the President didn’t add was that taxpayers are going to guarantee the cost whether or not the students complete their studies or are able or willing to pay back the cost of the education.

President Obama recently complained that, “We’ve got a crisis in terms of college affordability and student debt.” Speaking at The State University of New York Buffalo on August 22, the President added, “Our economy can’t afford the trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt, much of which may not get repaid because students don’t have the capacity to pay it.”  He decided to put the taxpayers on the hook for a trillion dollars when he signed the student loan bill into law in 2010 and now he is complaining. He has only himself to blame for this debacle.

There are certainly more role models like Rebekah Bell, author of an op-ed in a recent issue of the WSJ entitled, “It’s possible to graduate debt-free. Here’s how.”  Her parents told her when applying to colleges in 2009 that there was one stipulation: graduate without debt. She was a 19-year-old average student from a middle-class family. She did it! Read her article on the Internet. Don’t succumb to the hypothesis that you are helpless and must have a government loan to attend college.

The Student Loan Program continues to be impassive and unsustainable like Medicare, Social Security, National Flood Insurance, Federal Housing Loan Programs and countless other financial schemes. Government workers, many of whom are drones employ faulty planning, inept execution with unintended consequences, fraudulent participation and expensive outcomes then try to carry out the absurd projects of their maladroit leaders. The self-absorbed brilliance of these undistinguished leaders persists and the nation plunges deeper into debt.

Pell Grants, originated in 1972 at a cost of $42 billion is the largest Department of Education expense. Fewer than 20% of Pell Grant recipients graduate by age 24. A 2011 research report indicates that 45% of these students showed no improvement in reasoning and writing skills in their first two college years.

When government synthesizes any market with taxpayer stipends, recipients respond by spending the welcome revenue. Colleges and Universities add administrators and other support staff along with courses in mediocrity disguised with fancy names. The White House announced this week that four-year colleges are charging 257% more for tuition and fees since 1983 in contrast with increased family incomes of just 16%. Government continues to  inject funds into the system then mandates more controls and regulation. This logic is analogous to a dog chasing its tail or a lost hiker traipsing around in endless spirals.