Even though Senator Sanders’ hopes of being president are gone like a Hillary Clinton email, his fervent supporters continue to carry his torch in a fight for free college. Sanders said free college programs worked in Germany and Norway, so why the hell wouldn’t they work here, in a much larger, more diverse, richer and complex nation? We’ll just make Wall Street pay for it.
The call for free or even cheaper college is ubiquitous: US universities have the second highest average cost of tuition behind England. Some kids I knew, who didn’t have better things to do, took to the streets last fall and again this spring, blocking traffic and rerouting buses, to protest for free college and a wage hike for campus workers.
Sounds nice. I like free things. Why not pattern our tertiary education system after the European nations’ and make ours free, too? Well, because (according to Yahoo Finance) it won’t work, and it won’t actually be free.
First, let’s compare our “tax wedge” (the dollar measure of the income tax rate) with Germany’s: ours is 31.5 percent and Germany’s is almost 50 percent. In fact, 23 European countries have higher income tax rates than the US. Not to mention, with a comparatively lower income tax and a higher GDP per capita, there are plenty of US students who don’t need free college, ergo we’d waste a lot of money.
Now, let’s continue this apples-to-oranges discussion by comparing the value of a US education versus a free, European education. Free Euro schools are like our community colleges: There’s no manifestation of student life on European campuses and little professor-student interaction. There are no dorms, no philanthropies, no 2/3 capacity stadiums of drunk undergrads shouting “P-E-N-N-S-T-SUCKS!” Forgive me for using a tired cliche, but American students are paying for an experience as much as an education.
Most importantly, free college here just isn’t feasible. Take a look at enrollment percentages: Only 62 percent of German kids pursue some type of tertiary education after high school/high school equivalent, compared to 94 percent in the US. Without even getting into population disparities, US taxpayers would have to pay a shit ton more to facilitate free college, considering we have ten times as many college students as our German counterparts.
It’s worth noting that most of my data came from Yahoo Finance and Business Insider: Not BBC, National Review or Breitbart. A little fiscal responsibility can go a long way. The clamor for free shit wouldn’t be nearly as loud if students knew what they were getting themselves into from the outset..
[via Yahoo Finance]