It’s no surprise that liberals want to make everything free. Joe Biden’s Justice Department just argued before the Supreme Court in favor of forgiving hundreds of billions in student loans. Bernie Sanders and AOC have been screaming for years about the need to make college free.
In Sanders’ home state of Vermont, they followed his something-for-almost-nothing advice and created a statewide single-payer healthcare system in 2011. It was heralded as the future. Instead, the state had to completely abandon it three years later, citing the crushing taxes it would impose on small businesses.
Oregon is going through a similar reality shock. In 2015, at the behest of President Obama, it made Oregon’s 17 community colleges tuition-free to high school graduates.
Eight years later, the program may be dismantled. The state’s Higher Education Coordinating Committee just found that the program “has not led to lasting increases in enrollment, momentum, completion, or equity.” Only an additional one percent of students have found it made college more affordable. It turns out that “free” education actually ends up costing more. Tuition costs don’t go down; instead, the cost is diverted from the student to the taxpayers.
We recall the words of the late, great satirist P.J. O’Rourke: if you think it’s expensive now, just wait until it’s free.