Five Great Media Responses to Clinton’s ‘Affordable’ Tuition Proposal

July 8th, 2016 2:43 PM

Hillary Clinton’s proposal to spend $350 billion on “affordable” tuition may have been outrageous, but at least it provoked some poignant comments on the pitfalls of big government.

On July 6, Clinton proposed eliminating tuition at all public colleges and universities for families making less than $125,000 a year. To do so, she would spend $350 billion of taxpayer money, and hold universities accountable for controlling costs.

If all of that raises red flags for you, you’re not alone. Several in the media pointed out the flaws in Clinton’s big government policy.

1. The Cato Institute’s Neil McCluskey slammed Clinton’s policy on CNBC, arguing that her plan looked “a lot like welfare for the well to do.”

During that July 7 episode of Power Lunch, McCluskey said more government aid previously led to overconsumption and inflated the value of a degree. “Absolutely, we’ve seen that subsidizing higher ed has led to a lot of waste and a lot of overconsumption, and not more useful education,” McCluskey said.  


2. Time writer Haley Sweetland Edwards pointed out in a July 7 article that Clinton shot herself in the foot when she previously criticized Bernie Sanders’ tuition plan, which was very similar to her own.

Clinton reportedly slammed Sanders’ policy for relying on Republican governors like Scott Walker to “suddenly chip in millions to underwrite tuition.” “It doesn’t add up, my friends,” Clinton reportedly said.

Edwards wrote that Clinton’s plan was similar to Sanders’ in that “it hinges on the idea that state governors, incentivized by the promise of federal matching dollars, would provide billions in state funds to underwrite their long-neglected public colleges and universities.”

3. Ohio University professor Richard Vedder called Clinton’s proposal a “hare-brained idea.” In his July 7 article for Forbes, Vedder tore into the cost of Clinton’s plan.  

Vedder harped on the U.S.’s fiscal situation, citing the country’s excessive spending, lowered credit rating, trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities and dropping economic growth.

“And Hillary says ‘let’s spend more to let millions of fairly affluent Americans go to college for less money than before.’ Lunacy,” Vedder wrote. Clinton’s plan, according to Vedder, would need funding from taxes on upper income Americans and hinder economic growth.

He wrote that Clinton’s plan “would require very large tax increases on upper income Americans at a time when economic growth is anemic and empirical evidence is overwhelming that high marginal tax rates impede economic growth.”

4.  National Review slammed Clinton for giving money to families with who made over $100,000.  “The view from Mrs. Clinton’s mansion in Chappaqua is an unusual one,” the site’s editors wrote.

“How else to explain her surveying the uneven American economic landscape and saying: “You know who really has problems in this country? Families with six-figure incomes and kids at Stanford.”

Hillary’s big government approach also drew criticism from NRO editors. They argued that the federal government working with states would eventually prompt a federal takeover of the state university system.

“Mrs. Clinton proposes a “federal-state partnership” to end tuition; what that means in reality — what it always means — is the federal government stepping in as a director, funder, and, eventually, manager. It represents the beginning of what would amount to a federal takeover of the state-university system.”

5. Reason writer Robby Soave argued that government-provided tuition set up a bad incentive for universities to keep raising prices.  

“Making college free wouldn't solve the underlying incentive problem: if the government is paying the true cost, universities can raise their prices sky-high without market mechanisms ever kicking in,” Soave wrote in his July 6 article.