There’s been, what I think, an unusual amount of push-back against the idea of implementing free public college. Obviously from Republicans, they’re against anything that might actually help Americans who don’t haul in millions of dollars a year, but also oddly from other Democrats and people on “the left”.
Personally, if I was making policy, free public college wouldn’t be my go-to. The cost of getting a college education in America has gotten totally out of control, but that’s at least partially because students are almost forced to get a college degree in order to be employable in any job that doesn’t pay minimum wage. And even then, there aren’t any guarantees.
I would rather invest funds into improving our existing public school system so that graduates wouldn’t need a college degree to be employable. Perhaps even start teaching more job-skills in high school. This would have to not come at the cost of arts and humanities (in fact, I would double down on those), but teaching some more basic job skills so high school grads could go into entry-level positions would be a huge boon.
Anyway, I went off on a tangent, this is supposed to be about resistance to free public college by Democrats. One of the common talking points against the idea is “Well, why should taxpayers pay for rich kids to go to college?” or more specifically, “Why should taxpayers pay for Trump’s kids to go to college?”
First of all, it’s not for the kids of rich people; it’s for poor and middle class people who can’t afford college, or can’t go without being saddled with debt that’ll haunt them for their entire careers. Also, I’m pretty sure most rich families send their kids to private universities which I don’t think any of the proposals seek to abolish.
Even if some rich families decided to send their kids to free public college, that cost would be negligible to taxpayers. Rich people can still use Social Security or Medicare if they choose to, so there’s not really any reason to use that as an excuse to force everyone else to go without. In fact, going to a public state college might be the best thing one of the best things that could happen rich kids. Imagine if the Trump kids had been forced to interact with people and ideas outside of their hermetically sealed world. Perhaps they wouldn’t have to have been operatives in their dad’s crime family? At the very least, they might not be so inept at it.
There’s no part of this idea that wouldn’t ultimately be a public good.