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Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Today, on my journey to class, I came upon, once again, The Express. Having enjoyed reading the views of the paper, and often disagreeing with them, as I have in the past, I decided once again to venture into your paper. What I saw in this month’s editorial (“Equal education is the basis of equality”) did not surprise me, considering the paper’s previous views, but nevertheless presents an idea that must be properly discredited: “free” college (more aptly named, “taxpayer-funded college.”)

Let’s get a couple of things straight before I begin—Bernie Sanders is a socialist loser. This is a guy who didn’t earn a steady paycheck until his forties. And even at that it was a check from Uncle Sam (or, put more accurately: hard-working taxpayers).

Now Sanders is a delusional, senile, old man who wants to take more money out of Americans’ pockets and use it to fund big-government programs that fall flat on their face 99% of the time (See: Social Security, Dodd-Frank, Obamacare, etc.). This guy is no hero.

And by the way, this guy supports socialism, the system that has crushed Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea politically and economically. Those countries aren’t exactly shining beacons of freedom and plentiful wealth.

So please, Bernie, keep telling me why socialism is so great when Venezuelans can’t even wipe their behinds because they ran out of toilet paper. And no, that’s not a joke, that really happened.

Number two, nothing in life is truly “free.” Every economist understands that, even liberal ones. They all recognize that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Everything that goes into a delicious sandwich for your “free” lunch cost someone time and money, whether it’s the delicious meat, the low-fat cheese, or the multi-grain bread.

The same principle applies to college. Every part of a college needs to be paid for, whether it’s the buildings themselves, or the crazy professors who claimed they were part-Native American to teach at Harvard for $400K. Or the other plethora of costs that are required to run a college.

Your editorial acknowledged this principle when it came to taxpayers, but then rushed to the eye-catching words of “equality” and “We the people.” You also provided, as an example of “free” college, the scam that San Francisco is employing, which I’ll debunk in a moment.

People tend to think that government, which is run primarily by morons, regardless of party affiliation, can solve the problems of the day. It’s the quintessential Superman. But that idea leaves one tiny, itty-bitty little thing out—government is almost always the cause of those problems. And that’s the case with college.

Government created this problem, and now liberals and socialists want to use it again to fix it. Information Station, in a PragerU video entitled “Why is College So Expensive?”, explains it perfectly: “Government tries to help students by providing loans and financial aid. That is a great intention but when government helps pay for things, people tend to forget how much these things cost in the first place…things like college tuition.

Whether it’s from the students or the government, colleges get their money. And when the schools know that students have more money to spend (even if it’s the government’s money), they can raise the cost of admission.”

That’s how we got here. Now let’s debunk the idea of why “free college” is a horrid idea. First, it’s expensive. One report claimed that “Crazy Bernie’s” free college plan would cost upwards of $70 billion dollars. That’s nearly how much we spent on education in 2015, and we’ve clearly seen how that works out. $70 billion is a lot, and we’re already taxing people to death as it is, and a plan like this would only hurt them more.

Second, free college would be a waste of this money. According to the Heritage Foundation, “community colleges suffer from generally poor academic performance, with few students graduating within 150 percent of program time.” Moreover, “more than one-third of college freshman reporting taking remedial courses.” That’s a problem. A big problem. Why does this happen?

It is plain and simple: when you invest money in something, you want to get the most return out of it. If you invest in a business, you want to make sure that that investment was worth it.

You work hard to make sure that business succeeds, or else you’re in the red. Similarly, if a student actually paid for their education, they would want to make sure that they do well, or they just flushed thousands of dollars down the toilet.

Now, with our public education system, since people are getting it for free, it matters little to many of them to actually try, and they skate through high school. Then they end up without a job. That’s the cold, hard truth.

Now, I’m not arguing that we should make K-12 education paid. However, reform is desperately needed, or else we’d be spending billions on an education system that barely works.

Next, on the bogus “free” college program offered by San Francisco. But before I begin, let me rebut a major point. The editorial asserts that “if free college is so impossibly unrealistic, how in the world can it possibly exist?” This is conjecture. Just because something exists, doesn’t mean that it works.

Obama managed to force Obamacare down Americans’ throats, and the evidence shows that its broken. Existence does not equal functionality.

When it comes to San Francisco’s “free” college program, there’s a big problem: the allocated funds will not cover many students, according to Austin Yack of National Review. “Moreover,” he says, “the idea that the city is raising taxes in order to pay for education is suspect.

The source of funding…is the anticipated $44 million per year from the recently passed Proposition W, a real-estate transfer tax levied on properties selling for at least $5 million. But most of the money collected from Proposition W will be held in the city’s general fund, allowing city officials to use the cash in any way they see fit.

As so often, it seems that city officials are using a nice idea as cover for a broader power grab. A mere 20 percent of the new funds will go to the City College of San Francisco.”

Not only is the funding a problem, but CCSF already has its own problems to deal with. It has a graduation rate, according to the Department of Education’s College Scorecard, of only 29 percent! And now San Francisco wants to accept more students for a college where a majority of students can’t even graduate?

Congrats, San Francisco. You got scammed. And the Editors of the Express will get scammed too, if “free” college is ever implemented.

Noah Thompson
Student at Las Positas College

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  • by Occam's Stubble
    Posted March 7, 2017 7:31 PM 0Likes

    There is a big difference between public school education and college education. Public school teaches a generalized curriculum. Students learn a variety of skills that they can use wherever life takes them. This is a public good because when people have a basic, general education, they can find jobs easier and advance in those jobs. This is good for society because it means greater economic growth, less crime, and fewer people on the welfare rolls. College, on the other hand, is specifically tailored to getting the education required for a particular career. The only person helped by college is the student. Society itself is not helped by everyone having a college degree. In fact, the opposite is true. If everyone had a college degree, the value of such a thing would plummet and the Bernie Sanders of the world would be talking about free graduate school.

    As a public good, primary education should be funded by tax dollars. However, there is no reason the government needs to be in the business of providing that education, only funding it. We are seeing such poor performance in our public schools because parents don’t have any skin in the game. Give them an education voucher and they will have to become very involved in how and where their children get educated.

  • by brucesteger
    Posted March 7, 2017 7:57 PM 0Likes

    Well said Noah Thompson and that is what too MANY of Americans don’t know! Parents as well as future students need to know that college is not for everyone but there are other avenues of education like Trade Schools and Technical Inst! I graduated with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering and worked for Mercury Kiekhaefer in Fond du Lac , Wis for only one year because I saw that engineers stay for only 3 years topps after the flow of their ideas start to slow down!! I returned to Diesel Mechanics that I learned on the farm and increase my knowledge as a Engineer. I retired from Ryder after 34 years with a great pension and a home in Lake Tahoe that is payed for!

  • by Jeanne Wallace
    Posted March 7, 2017 8:17 PM 0Likes

    the old saying goes..TANSTAAFL (there aint no such thing as a free lunch) this goe sfor college end up getting what you pay for…

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