Despite the state government being firmly under Republican control, Big Government-loving Tennessee lawmakers voted to approve a costly new scheme to provide “free” college tuition for adults in community college. But as I teach my high-school economics students, there is no such thing as a “free lunch,” ever. In fact, with the state now picking up the tab, studies show the cost of college in Tennessee will continue surging, while the quality declines.
The idea of “free” community college made its first appearance as a national issue in the United States when it was pushed by then-President Obama during a “State of the Union” address. Socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a totalitarian to the core, went even further, demanding that university education at public colleges and universities be entirely “free” for everyone, too.
Sounding like the failed Soviet planners of old, GOP Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam decided that he wants an arbitrary 55 percent of state residents to have a college education. “If we want to have jobs ready for Tennesseans, we have to make sure that Tennesseans are ready for jobs, and there is no smarter investment than increasing access to high-quality education,” Haslam said in a statement, touting his “Drive to 55” scheme.
But the data shows this to be absurd for multiple reasons. According to a 2014 study by the privately owned Federal Reserve Bank of New York, almost half of all recent college graduates are in jobs that do not require a college degree. “Making college free would do nothing to address these problems,” explained Preston Cooper, a policy analyst at Economics21. “In fact, it would worsen them.”
Other data cited by Cooper underscore how counterproductive the “free” college scheming will be. Consider, for instance, that just 40 percent of community college students actually graduate. The numbers are even worse at the open-enrollment four-year colleges that “free” tuition would boost. And making college “free” is certain to push those figures down even further.
Of course, there are already millions of open high-paying jobs across America that only require a high-school diploma — but which cannot be filled because the government “education” system is worse than worthless and has left so many of its victims unable to perform even the most elementary tasks. The idea that giving students two more years of publicly funded indoctrination is going to help matters is silly.
These days, college-level “education” is becoming increasingly irrelevant, anyway. Much of what students “learn” at college and university is pure indoctrination — fake history, “gender” theories, racialism, “privilege,” transgender ideology, Marxism, feminism, the LGBT agenda, and more. The notion that squandering more money in this will help anything is ridiculous.
The last thing Tennessee or any other state needs is another government boondoggle to squander public money on politicians’ dumb ideas. The government has all but destroyed real education already, anyway. So anyone hoping for a real education would be wise to shun the government’s indoctrination centers, even if they’re “free,” and order some books instead.