One thing I’ve quickly learned about politics is the axiom “Nothing is ever free.” So when a politician promises something free, you know you’re going to end up paying for it.
This political season we have people talking about “free” nationalized health care. That’s a horrible idea, as it tanks quality of care for everyone involved. Yes, the US health care system is expensive due to cutting edge techniques, legal fees, an exploding insurance bureaucracy, and a dedication of the US health care industry to care for those who can’t pay. What’s that, you say? They already help those who can’t pay? Then why do we need a national health-care system?
It’s a good question. I struggle to understand the absurdity of the notion. Medicare and Medicaid, as well as several state-run systems, work to protect the poor from medical costs. But the problem isn’t with the poor. It’s a problem with the broke. There are many people out there who are terrible at managing money. They despise paying for health insurance, but they’re more than willing to pay $90/month for HD Sattelite TV on their 50″ plasma TV. These giveaway programs aren’t actually targeting the poor, they’re targeting the middle class who like getting freebies from the government on somebody else’s dime. The kicker? These folks are going to be paying for the health care they think is free.
In the meantime, those of us who sought out jobs with good insurance, or budget to pay for health insurance for our family, get to have our coverage replaced with an inferior, government-run model. Why would any business continue to maintain a health-care program for its workers when there’s a free government alternative that everyone qualifies for?
Such is the thinking of Hillary, Obama, Dodd, Biden, Kucinich and Edwards. Hillary’s program is probably the best of the worst (it’s similar to what Schwartzenegger recommended in California– mandatory health insurance, like car insurance). However, Edward’s ideas all come from raising taxes. And his latest giveaway to try and round-up votes is the “College for Everyone” initiative.
At Greene Central High School in Snow Hill, North Carolina, Senator John Edwards today announced his plan to make college more affordable for millions of students. Edwards’ College Opportunity Agenda includes a national “College for Everyone” initiative, which would pay for one year of public-college tuition, fees, and books for any student who is willing to work hard and stay out of trouble.
In addition to two years that the government already allows to be tax-deductible, Edwards wants to make a 3rd year free. Why not? Hey, let’s make all four years free. And government run. That way 89% of the population will have a bachelor’s degree. That way we’ll have the most educated people in the world working at Starbucks.
I generally oppose any program that makes college “free”. Cheap is fine. But if you’re going to start propping the door open to let anyone through, you’ll nuke any admission standards you’ve set. As a college professor, I’m already keenly aware of a dip in the quality of education of incoming freshmen. Their writing skills are poor, the math skills are weak, and their critical reasoning ability is virtually non-existent. And these are the science majors, folks. I shouldn’t have to fail 25% of each class in general chemistry. There’s a failure early in the line where these kids aren’t prepared for college.
Edwards is a fool to think that offering a free year of college is going to help the poor, or help the middle class, or help the rich. All it will do is put a greater burden on the government and it won’t improve the quality of people graduating from college. If he wants to help, boost federal monies for Pell Grants, or funnel some cash into student loans. And don’t raise taxes to do it. If you want parents to help their kids pay for college, taxing their money away isn’t going to help do it.
Additionally, many public schools are overcrowded as it is. Will this program help that? Of course not. It will take lecture halls of 100 and turn them into 250. And that’s a problem.
Students learn best in a smaller, personal environment. If he wants to boost the quality of educators around the country, he should go on a mission for colleges to hire more faculty, rather than let in more students. After all, we’re not interested in the numbers who go to college so much as the numbers who come out of college as the leaders of tomorrow.
So, John, keep your money grubbing hands out of my pocket. I’m not going to pay for any of your lame-brained “New Deal” programs. FDR used the New Deal to help float the country in the middle of the Depression. The US isn’t in depression now, but your programs will certainly help get us there.
Oh, and this Jon Edwards is an idiot, too.
He’s just much better at selling his crap than the politician of the same name.