When reviewing and studying any Sanders’ plan for a “freebie”, you must ask who pays – to put it another way – where does the transfer of funds occur? And, it will occur.
Sanders consistently compares us to Germany and other European countries that provide “free” higher education. If there is one thing we all should understand, it is that nothing is free. This is a good article about how Germany provides free college – and it is done by higher income taxes among other things. The article also explains the difference in the demographics of Germany and the US.
I have included a link to Sanders’ recent “College for All” Act filed in the Senate May 19, 2015, not quite three weeks after April 30, 2015, when he filed as a Democrat to run for president. What a coincidence!
The Act applies to PUBLIC institutions – not private. Indiana has seven public colleges and universities with 39 campuses. The Act would not cover institutions such as Notre Dame, Valpo, St. Francis, etc. Good luck if you think you will get into a private college or university for free.
The plan is to provide billions to the states in the form of grants – something that most Republicans love and hate at the same time. Grants allow control by the state, but grants also come with strings.
The Act would require the Federal government to pick up 67% of the tab – to be generated by what Sanders calls the “Robin Hood” tax on specific securities transactions – the states would be required to pay the other 33%. Given the fact that we have 31 states controlled by Republican governors and a number of legislatures under Republican control, how would that work? Remember, the federal government cannot force states to comply without using its purse strings.
That control comes from tying requirements to federal dispensation of funds. For example, remember when the speed limit was dropped to 55? That was done by the federal government tying release of federal funds for highways and transportation. Another example was raising the drinking age. That was accomplished, again, by tying release of federal highway funds to state compliance. Recall recently that Pence rejected $80,000,000 in federal funds for Early Childhood Education because he did not want to be tied to federal requirements.
Thus, the result behind the Act would probably increase public higher education enrollment, which, in turn would increase the 33% required for state contributions. That 33% increase would require Indiana to find the funds – possibly by increasing personal income taxes, property taxes, etc. Again, nothing is free.
I don’t pay income taxes anymore since I am retired. I do still pay sales tax and property tax, so my concerns don’t go to what I might see as an increase but where will the lower income and middle income workers get hit?
The next time Sanders touts a free anything, ask just who is he trying to fool with his “smoke and mirrors” promises!