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credit: nationalreview.com

credit: nationalreview.com

Regular readers know I am less than impressed with Jeb Bush. Put aside all the talk of political dynasties, though I agree such things at least feel profoundly un-American, and there are still a great many reasons to be wary of a Jeb Bush presidency beyond his horrible, yet proudly and stubbornly expressed, tendencies on immigration. Democrats win in large part because they offer free stuff to everybody that will buy their line of bovine excrement.  A case is point comes from an August Hot Air article:

Jeb Bush has a fantastically awful idea when it comes to college education. He thinks community college students should get “free” tuition for two years. If that’s sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the exact same thing President Barack Obama proposed in January. Which shows how completely hypocritical Bush is because he came out against Obama’s plan in January. Oh, but Bush’s plan gets even more #headdesk inducing. He wants universities to PAY BACK students who don’t graduate in four years.

If kids can’t graduate with a four-year degree in four years, there ought to be some payback to their families or to them, or…some support for the loans they’ve taken out.

None of this should be surprising. Jeb, remember is a major supporter of Common Core, and is no less fond of mandatory, high stakes testing. Both education scams are inherently big-government statist boondoggles that provide at least some of the smokescreen of “accountability,” while all but obliterating local control and turning schools into little more than drill and kill academies for the testing companies that make billions, a substantial portion of which is flushed back into the campaign chests of politicians like Jeb.

Such thinkers invariably want teachers to be evaluated largely or entirely on the test scores of their students. For parents and students, this removes any semblance of personal responsibility. Teachers are solely responsible for the educations of individual students, regardless of whether they are willing to expend any effort or not.

Conservatism, once upon a time, held as one of it’s fundamental principles small government, and absolute local control in education policy. The very idea of a federal Department of Education was, viewed through the misty veil of the past, an abomination, and state departments of education were little better. Once conservatives bought into the idea of “accountability” in education, the donkey’s nose was under the tent, and the entire donkey followed moments later. It should not be forgotten that it was George W. Bush that pushed through the utopian, Socialist No Child Left Behind Act with the late traitor, Ted Kennedy.

Jeb’s proposal also exactly parallels Obamite thinking about college: everyone should go, the government (taxpayers) should pay for it–that’s where all the “free” money to pay for free stuff comes from–and when people who have no business doing actual college-level work inevitably fail and drop out without a degree and with massive, high-interest debt, it’s not their fault and the government (taxpayers) should pay for that too. And speaking of paying:

This is so fiscally irresponsible and reprehensible.. For one, it would cause major federal budget issues because the government has increasingly gotten involved in higher education over the last 50 years. Cato Institute wrote in 2009 how higher education federal spending hit $36.6B, not counting the $31.4B in research grants. College Raptor’s guide to financial aid shows the federal government covers 58% of student aid nationwide. This includes up to $5500 in Perkins Loans and up to $12,500 in Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans for undergrad students. This doesn’t count the Pell Grants or Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants available either. So it’s possible, Bush’s plan could end up making the federal government pay TWICE in both loans and the payback, because the universities sure aren’t going to use athletics fees to pay students back.

There’s also the problem of how student loans actually make college more expensive. Ex-Secretary of Education William Bennett said in 1987 colleges and universities are raising rates because the Federal loan subsidies help ‘cushion the increase.’ The National Association of College and University Business Officers released a study on Tuesday saying around 90% of freshmen are on financial aid. NACUBO President and CEO John Walda said private colleges and universities are increasing discounts and doing more grant money to students. This goes along with a Federal Reserve Bank of New York study in July noting the connection between student loans and the rise of college tuition. It found universities increased tuition around 65% due to changes in the federal loan program (emphasis mine).

From the second stage, when we control for all forms of aid, we find that each additional Pell Grant dollar to an institution leads to a roughly 55 cent increase in sticker price tuition. For subsidized loans, we find a somewhat larger passthrough effect of about 70 percent. We also find a loading of tuition on unsubsidized loans of 30 percent. All of these effects are highly significant and are consistent with the Bennett Hypothesis. We further control for changes in other revenue sources at the institutional level, and the possibility that certain institutional characteristics may be correlated with both these changes and with tuition changes. We find that the subsidized loan effect is quite robust across specifications both in magnitude and significance, while the Pell Grant and unsubsidized loan effect are less so.

Most of grotesquely high increase in tuition rates and related college costs in the last several decades are not due to increased spending on faculty and teaching materials. Most universities have decreased their tenured faculty, relying even more heavily on graduate student teaching assistants and adjunct faculty who have no futures or benefits, teaching only a few classes per semester for peanuts. The increases instead have been in administrators, and particularly in building massive diversity and victim group bureaucracies. Can Jeb be so uninformed that he has no idea of these destructive trends? If he knows better and wants such destructive Progressive ideas anyway, which is worse?

At the most recent Republican debate (09-16-15), Jeb called himself a “committed conservative reformer.”  This is what passes for a genuine conservative in Republican circles these days? It’s commitment, no doubt, but not to conservative principles. Lord help us survive the kind of reforms Jeb will enact. If Jeb is nominated, we may as well immediately coronate whatever corrupt lump of flesh the Democrats nominate. Actual conservatives will stay home on election day, and the fools and scoundrels running the Republic party—the eternally stupid party—still won’t get it:  there is no such thing as free stuff, and if enough Americans don’t understand that soon enough, the national debt is going to get very, very personal.