WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2015 — The New York Daily News posted the headline, “Hillary Clinton to unveil plan to make college more affordable in push to engage millennials.” This showed not just the paper’s bias, but highlighted Hillary’s profound ignorance about economics.
It’s not that anyone knows the specifics of her plan; those are coming soon. Remember Nancy Pelosi’s comment, “We need to pass the bill to know what’s in the bill”?
Hillary’s stripes don’t change, so we can expect some declaration of a “right” to higher education or lower-interest student loans or ways to have loans forgiven — perhaps by teaching or taking on some other low-paying job with access to opportunities for indoctrinating our youth.
It’s axiomatic that any government plan to coerce lower costs by manipulating the market for education will result in higher costs to the students, and via inefficiencies, be costly to the rest of us.
Hillary doesn’t need any specifics, though. Even without knowing anything about the plan, the NYDN says, “The plan itself, along with Clinton’s call to let people refinance their student loans, is a big part of the economic argument she’s making to the millennial voters born in the 1980s and 1990s.”
Whatever it is, the Daily News knows it will work.
She’s just trying to rope up dim-witted students, put them on buses, and take them in for early voting so they can cross that off their to-do lists, with some vague idea that she’s on their side. Don’t believe me? “Clinton’s campaign has been busy finding volunteer leaders on campuses across the country to push their classmates to pledge support.”
So, why won’t manipulation of the education market work? Because it isn’t necessary. People will head in the best direction for themselves, if they’re allowed to. Any time one is forced to do something else — like pay for someone else’s college or force colleges to admit more students than they can accommodate — choice is eliminated.
Freedom is efficient, but manipulation costs. If an idea is so good, why aren’t free people doing it already?
Here are some possible educational Hillary plans, already floated by various socialists.
- She could declare higher education a “right.” Not only would that cheapen existing degrees, but it would force colleges to expand, diluting the teaching pool while dumping more debt on these institutions.
- Trying to make college “affordable” could also mean cheaper loans to students or government subsidies to colleges. If loans get cheaper, students will borrow more money — and be more in debt on graduation day than they are now. Colleges will feel free to continue raising their tuitions and fees. If it’s easier to get into college, less prepared students will go to college, seeking ever-easier classes and ever-less-demanding curricula. It’s unlikely that means we’ll see more graduating engineers, doctors and scientists.
- If government increases subsidies to schools, government will demand more control over the curriculum, more say in who gets tenured, make more demands about how subjects are taught and how grades are assigned — Common Core on steroids. Colleges will feel free to continue raising their tuitions and fees, and taxpayers will pay for it.
The results would be predictable: less rigorous academics, less academic freedom, more government control over academia, lower achievement, a cheapening of existing degrees and greater demand for advanced degrees (which will keep students from becoming productive for even longer, while raising their debt), greater opportunity separation between those who have degrees and those who don’t, and more expense for students and everybody else.
But we don’t have many honest economics teachers any more, and proportionately fewer inquisitive econ students. We don’t have students who are, even now, trained in investigative, critical thinking. They’ll just get on the buses and vote for Hillary.
But that’s another case against early voting, and the topic for another column.