What all this means is that firing an Exocet missile into the heart of the American higher-education establishment should qualify the trigger man for a place on Mount Rushmore.
Here’s the missile: Republicans commit, as part of their 2016 platform, to (1) canceling all student loans owed to the federal government and paying off all loans owed to private institutions and (2) eliminating all federal aid, grants, support, etc. to postsecondary educational institutions. It’s a package deal: no elimination of aid, no cancellation of debts.
Hmm. I wonder how the 38 million people with student-loan debt would vote on that issue. In 2012, 60% of Millennials voted for Obama. It doesn’t have to be that way.
You ask, how can the country possibly afford to cancel (“forgive” sounds too religious, doesn’t it?—might cause it to be overruled by the Supreme Court) a trillion dollars in debt? And how can we afford to do that now, in this time of financial distress? Isn’t that irresponsible?
Actually, it’s not—I wouldn’t have suggested it if it were.
Total federal aid to higher education (if you call courses in human sexuality and women’s studies higher education) is about $99 billion—$34 billion in grants to the students themselves, and an additional $65 billion in “Direct Loans” subsidy allowances. In addition, the federal government pumps about $40 billion into the system for research, at least $10 billion of which, and perhaps more, could be eliminated without serious consequences. (Approximately $600 million goes to Harvard University, which has an endowment now of $30 billion. About $46 million goes to Brandeis University, which reversed its decision to grant an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, for which behavior alone its grants should be cancelled.)