There has been a lot of talk about how Hillary Clinton will "pay for" her free college proposal. But of course Hillary won't pay: you will.
And, yes, my dear millenials, you will pay longer than I will because the deal on offer is, as the Wall Street Journal sums it up in an editorial ("Free College, Dude"), subsidies now and higher taxes later.
Under Mrs. Clinton's plan, an attempt to get Sanders voters on board, taxpayers will pick up college tuition for state institutions for families with incomes up to $125,000. This is about 80 percent of U.S. households. With the promise of all this money, colleges inevitably will raise tuition costs:
Consider what happened after the Obama Administration created supplemental Pell Grants that averaged $1,700. Between 2008 and 2010, spending on Pell Grants increased by nearly 120%. Tuition and fees jumped more in 2009 at nonprofits (5.9%) and public four-year colleges (9.5%) than in any year during the past decade. Mrs. Clinton’s tuition plan is another income transfer from the private economy to the academic class that overwhelmingly votes for Democrats.
Students would have to pay room and board, so most would still need to take out loans. But Mrs. Clinton has a government sweetener for that too. She would make universal the income-based repayment plans that allow borrowers to discharge student loans after paying merely 10% of their income for 20 years.
President Obama allowed recent grads to qualify for loan discharges, but Mrs. Clinton wants to eliminate the age barrier so older grads can benefit. What she calls “social entrepreneurs”—aren’t we all?—would also be eligible for up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness. Taxpayers would pick up the tab.
Since Mrs. Clinton doesn't make room and board free, families at the bottom will still be hit hardest. But that is not the saddest part of the plan. This is:
The saddest part of this is that the millennial voters Mrs. Clinton is trying to bribe don’t seem to realize they’ll pay for free college for the rest of their lives. As debt and entitlements increase as the baby boomers retire, there aren’t enough millionaires to soak. The politicians will have to raise taxes, and probably severely, on millennials as they reach their peak earning years. Mrs. Clinton’s proposal amounts to a giant national student loan to be repaid with future taxes.
Like most of her agenda, Mrs. Clinton’s student subsidy plan has no chance of passing as long as Republicans hold the House. But watch out if Nancy Pelosi gets the gavel back. If Donald Trump’s candidacy costs the GOP the House and Senate, the price will be far more than losing the Supreme Court.
Dude, you'll be paying for free college until the day you die.