America’s higher education system is in shambles. The marketplace faces a hard and soft skills shortage, students enroll in lesbian dance theory, and graduates exit post-secondary institutions with crippling levels of debt. The country’s universities and colleges have failed the future, churning out fragile, petulant beings more concerned about censoring speech and crying over opposing opinions than learning valuable skills that contribute to the economy. Who’s to blame for this mess? It is easy to castigate teachers, parents, and the children, but the buck stops with the government for enabling these irresponsible choices that will paralyze the future.
For Pete’s Sake
Like Joe Biden denouncing the Hyde Amendment, Mayor Pete Buttigieg came out of nowhere to nab presidential frontrunner status. Buttigieg is the flavor of the month for the mainstream press, much in the same way former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) was when he ran against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Will Buttigieg buy the hype? Probably, until his rise to the top of the polls grinds to a screeching halt when the media realize that his victimhood status is second or third tier compared to his rivals. Sure, he’s gay, but he is also white, male, and able-bodied.
For now, though, everything he says or does makes national news, even his student loans.
The Democratic candidate and his husband, Chasten, face approximately $130,000 in federal student loan debt. The couple joins the roughly 43 million people drowning in a pool of red ink because they went to college to improve their human capital. As a result, student loan debt is nearing $1.5 trillion, topping that of automobile loans and credit cards.
Buttigieg, like his 2020 opponents, has proposed several solutions to this fiscal calamity. Free tuition for low- and middle-income families, an increase in Pell Grants, and financial support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) are some of the ideas his campaign has put forward.
Mayor Pete and his friends on the left are just offering more of the same government solutions that will not do much to address ballooning costs, credential inflation, educational deterioration, and the skills gap. As the state’s track record has proven time and again, throwing money at a problem either exacerbates the issue or spawns a new challenge that requires tax dollars to remedy.
By allocating billions or trillions more of public dollars to higher education, the government will only raise prices, boost costs, artificially increase demand for useless degrees, create overcrowded and inefficient classrooms, and enable schools to waste their revenues on unnecessary additions. We are already witnessing the unintended consequences of free tuition in multiple states, including New York.
So, what would really solve the higher education crisis and student loan disaster?
That’s simple: the free market.
I Want to Be a Loan
Overall, private student loans account for an estimated 8%, or $120 billion, of the financial aid industry. That’s chicken feed. Student loan products given by private institutions can sometimes be superior to public alternatives and lead to better outcomes. Interest rates can be lower, the delinquency rate is just 3%, and taxpayers will not be on the hook when politicians forgive these loans with the public purse.
But what would happen if the free market took over this matter and handled the issue?
The most likely scenario is that loans would be tied to your degree. The bank would be willing to approve the application if the student is studying to become a computer engineer, a financial analyst, or an attorney. On the other hand, the lender would be less willing to fund an art history education, a sociology degree, or a theater arts program. Student loans would mirror the demands in the labor market: If there is a sudden spike in the need for anthropologists, then the market would adapt accordingly. Banks need to know that the borrower will be able to repay the loan, which cannot be done with a piece of paper hanging on the wall in a dilapidated studio apartment paid for by working at Starbucks.
Sorry to say, lazy hipsters and Third Wave feminists, there isn’t much of a demand for couch potato philosophers and whiny women’s studies Tumblr bloggers.
Not exactly a stalwart of basic economics, Biden conceded in 2013 that federal student loans have caused the mess students are in today, referring to it as a “conundrum.” Did that stop the previous administration from expanding the program? No, the White House just spent more money and did not improve the situation.
All About Free
Liberty Nation’s Graham Noble recently opined on the 2020 candidates: “Almost all the contenders attempted to outdo the others with how much free stuff they planned to give away and how much they hated the current occupant of the White House.”
Indeed! The upcoming debates should be fun to watch, much in the same way you drive by a car accident on the highway. You cannot help but gape at the wreckage. One can only imagine the answers to the softball questions from the left-leaning moderators.
“Candidates, what are your plans for health care, education, abortion, income inequality, and the environment?” In sync, they respond, “Free stuff and money for everyone!”
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