I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Free Community College For All?

President Obama has announced an ambitious plan to offer free community college for America’s students, with a formula that calls for the Feds to pay 3/4 of the costs with the states picking up 1/4 of the expense.

While on the surface this may seem like a very worthwhile idea, It would be an absolute disaster if implemented.  It stands no chance to succeed if it is pursued—particularly with the new Congress that has just been seated.

Why not?

Because somebody has to pay, there is no free lunch, and right now-we’re broke, tapped out, strapped--that's why.  Worse yet, we’re leveraged.  So to pay for this sort of a scheme, either we borrow more money, or we raise taxes.  Both ideas that are reckless and irresponsible.  That’s number 1.

Number two is a simple axiom of truth:  When we add government money into institutions –the costs go up exponentially. 

Number three is if you give something away for free, it greatly diminishes the value of that “thing.”

Look at healthcare-the idea was to lower costs, but what is happening is we are keeping costs fixed and covering millions of new enrollees with massive government subsidies, and this “reform” is just in its infancy and already the costs are skyrocketing… 

Look at the post office attempting to compete with FEDEX and UPS for package delivery services, the USPS gets shellacked.  

Everyone knows the DoD stories of $500.00 toilet seats when similar (or better) can be bought at Home Depot for $19.99.  And the list goes on.

In education-just look at the meteoric rise in the costs ofpublic universities in just the last two decades as the government has feverishly doled out student loans to many who in reality have no business going to college.  Now there are $1.2Trillion in outstanding student loans that may not be collected -creating a new bubble that could threaten our fragile economy.

Government infusions of cash into education at the college level have made public, state school tuition rise to the point that many middle class students can barely afford the tuition.   Many can’t afford it, yet they are not eligible for sufficiently affordable student loans to cover the costs.  The middle class gets squeezed once again!

So no, excuse me if I do not enthusiastically support this ill-conceived initiative.  We can’t afford it, it will only add to our historic debt, and possibly worst of all- it will entice even more students who are unprepared and in reality need to directly enter the work-force-to attend college.  Not everybody needs to go to college, and not everybody is equipped mentally or academically to be successful in 

college.  In life, unlike in pee-wee sports, everybody doesn’t win.  In real life, we need the very best students in college, we need some students in the trades, and we need some students in the workforce doing less glamorous, yet necessary work.  Let’s please, for the love of God, not feed this fiscally irresponsible, ideologically driven manifestation of political correctness gone insane!

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