Elizabeth Warren's latest proposal: cancel student debt, make college free

Students got screwed over the last 20+ years. It’s really that simple. It’s a sad public education policy that started with good intentions, but ruined lives; possibly including quite a few readers of this BBS.

I truly believe students thought they were doing the right thing by taking out loans. Who wouldn’t? Who doesn’t want to have a better life? We’re all told college is the path to a better life. For many of us it is.

But some students didn’t succeed at school or graduated into a job without being able to service debt they can’t escape. That’s a horrific public policy. If a student fails, then the school should feel the financial pain too. Given that, Student debt forgiveness is understandable.

But what about the colleges & universities? They’re responsible for this situation too. They got all the cash, right? College & University Presidents make MILLIIONS OF DOLLARS A YEAR. Where’s the call, no the ANGER, for making one group millionaires while another group ends up with a lifetime of debt? Talk about your wealth transfer!!!

And now Ms. Warren propose to make college free?! We’re going to hand over even more money to this same group that helped to create this mess?

I was already supporting Warren, but…

image https://media0.giphy.com/media/luUmmUxZWfOXC/giphy.gif


That’s exactly what most people in this thread are saying… and yet somehow, it keeps being misconstrued as some kind of nefarious plot to rip-off certain people’s hard-earned savings…


“I wanted to buy a pizza for everybody in the office today. Or I could take you out?”

“Why are you threatening the lunch I brought from home? What am I supposed to do now? Eat it later? If you give me a lunch, and I already have a lunch, I’ll starve because you’re trying to replace my lunch. That’s zero lunches, then.”


I guess what I find problematic about your analogy is that I think people really would feel upset about that. But maybe they’d feel weird complaining, even though they felt upset?

I still think I’d save my concern for the actual people going hungry saving for education than the theoretical people who might be vaguely unhappy about having too many lunches to choose from.


Thanks for reminding me about the other part of the mindset at work here. Not only…

But they also assume that a “successful” transaction needs to be as close as possible to a zero-sum one, where one party gets screwed over. It’s one of the reasons that Libertarians have so much difficulty with the concept of tax-funded programmes that benefit everyone.


I’m with you on substance. I guess I just read your analogy and thought that the same people who feel wronged that they saved while someone else didn’t and they all got the same free college also feel wronged that they packed a lunch and someone else didn’t and they all got the same pizza.

I don’t think this is really a problem of a contemporary ideology, though. There’s a parable about this, the workers in the vineyard. It’s an issue with how we perceive fairness that has been around for thousands of years.

1 Like

It’s not whether someone felt wronged, it’s whether they were wronged in any significant way. Of course people can feel slighted over any thing in the world.

People who would resent other people getting education because they were saving for it and instead all they got was a bank account of worthless cold hard cash, aren’t significantly wronged, no matter what they feel in the moment.

I can’t feel much sympathy for a person who saved up to buy an umbrella giving the evil eye to other people enjoying a sunny day, especially when they still have the money they saved.


It is insofar as the kind of “free” market fundamentalism espoused by Libertarians is baked into the default economic consensus of the industrialised West.

It’s an issue caused by ancient assumptions that modern nation-states should have transcended long ago except for Randroid arseholes like the “job creator” vineyard owner (“Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” – straight from the Bible) and the entitled rubes he screwed over who ultimately are more prone to blame their fellow workers.

The suckers who started working for this greedpig vineyard owner at 6AM didn’t have the option of joining a union or voting for government representatives who’d ensure fair wages. The current crop of conservative marks don’t have that excuse and instead still act like ancient peasants.


She’s simply proposing that we fund public colleges the same way we fund public primary education.

If the idea of high school kids getting a “free” education doesn’t bother you
then this is really just an extension of the same plan.


Well yes and no. Most of the funding for public primary education currently comes from the states, with a small fraction coming from the federal government. So funding public colleges mostly with federal money would be a bit different. (Not that it’s a bad idea!!)

I’m curious about some of the details, especially how the plan will handle the major disparities between the quality and availability of public universities across different states. Some states are much better about supporting their universities than others, and most states provide much lower tuition for in-state residents. So if you happen to live in one of the crappy states, would the federal program pay for the higher tuition if you wanted to study out of state? If so, how does the federal program keep states from gaming the system, encouraging the more lucrative out of state students to study there? I’m sure there are solutions but due to the hodgepodge of systems across different states there are a lot of complexities to solve, much like there were with the affordable care act.

1 Like

And much like the affordable care act, it would be much easier to simply implement a single payer system and be done with all those complexities.


The point that most of the posters you are criticizing are making is, the 529 account complaint is a red herring. 1. It is likely the whole value would be easily consumed in room, board, & other educational (and thus 529 plan OK) expenses, 2. even if it’s not, full-tuition scholarships already exempt 529 plans from penalties, and 3. even if that somehow doesn’t apply, the taxes and penalties only affect the interest earned, not the “principal” value of the 529 plan savings.


This is an excellent asshole detector.


That’s neglecting that poster’s later comments:


Maybe! But details really matter. Does that mean entirely removing the States’ role in funding of the state universities? If so, would the funding of state universities such as some of the great ones in California fall prey to the whims of legislators from other states who might not care much for public education?

To be clear, I support Warren, she’s currently at the top of my list in the Democratic primarily, but I’m just looking for more details to better understand this proposal and all of its pros and cons.


not to mention, we all benefit from an educated populace. it’s a public investment. the republicans laud “job creators”? great. let’s make more of them. ( ugh. job creators. not republicans. let’s make fewer of those. )


True. But some people want a bigger slice of a smaller pie, rather than the other way around, even if in the latter case their share would be bigger in absolute terms.


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.