Op/Ed: To End Unnecessary Student Loans, Use Free Market to Help Education

By Robert Taylor of PolicyMic.com*

The Occupy Wall Street protests began in New York City almost two months ago, and the movement has spawned protests in 70 cities and 600 communities across the country and the globe. Protesters have generally expressed frustration and anger over income inequality, unemployment, student loans, and other issues, and it has been millennials who have appeared at the forefront of the movement.

Young people’s participation in the movement makes sense. Only 55% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 were employed last year, the lowest since World War II. In the last decade, the incomes of Americans between 25 and 34 have dropped by 12%. And barely 14% of 20-somethings are optimistic about the future.

The protests have drawn opposition from both Democrats and Republicans, but these critiques fail to address the root of the problem by ignoring the damaging effects of interventionist government economic policies in education for young Americans.

Under the guise of providing education, both Democrats and Republicans have encouraged the expansion of easy credit, federal student loan guarantees, and subsidized university education, resulting in the exact opposite of what they were intended to do; costs have skyrocketed, while the quality of education has gone down.

Instead of “reform,” a drastically new approach is needed in education that is based on individual liberty and the free market. Instead of paying property taxes to fund their education, families and individuals should have the freedom to choose their path in the assortment and competitive prices that the market provides.

Since the creation of the GI Bill in 1944, the federal government has encouraged millions of people, through the combination of loans and subsidies, to go into debt in order to attend college. The Federal Reserve made the borrowing easy with interest rates below market levels, and federal institutions guaranteed the loans. In the same way that the housing sector was distorted by a Fed-induced boom that eventually burst in 2008, this has similarly created an education bubble. Now about two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loans, and the average college student graduates $25,000 in debt. Tuition has risen by 900% since 1978. Combine these factors with a stagnant economy, and it is no wonder the “Occupy” protests are spreading through this country and around the world.

Thanks to government subsidies, many graduates hold “cheap” degrees that have little market demand. Because of this, over one-third of all college graduates end up taking jobs that even don’t require a degree, like waiters, cashiers, and janitors. Without the pricing mechanism of the free market to guide the education sector, colleges lack the proper incentives to prepare students for the future. As Michael Ellsberg argues in the New York Times, “American academia is good at producing writers, literary critics, and historians. It is also good at producing professionals with degrees. But we don’t have a shortage of lawyers and professors. America has a shortage of job creators. And the people who create jobs aren’t traditional professionals, but start-up entrepreneurs.”

The alternative to this lies in the free market. Without government subsidies and loans, multiple years of college would be only for scientists, engineers, and doctors who need certification and intensive training. The rest of the education sector would provide trade schools and institutions with courses aimed at providing people with practical and marketable skills and talents. Any loans or assistance would be completely voluntary, thus keeping costs low. A free market in education allocates resources in order to build entrepreneurs, wealth, jobs, and prosperity in order to attract future customers (students) and build their reputation. No longer would students have to bear the burden of debt that many OWS protesters claim they carry.

This means we need an end to federal student loans, grants, and subsidies. The competition of the market would bring costs way down, decentralize education, and allow much more diversity to a system that for too long has been dominated by a failing one-size-fits-all policy.

The problems fueling the frustration of the protesters will no doubt continue long after the protesters disperse. The best possible solutions to the protests lie in the expansion of individual liberty and the free market.

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On Monday's episode of "The Glenn Beck Radio Program," Glenn opened up about the tragic death of his brother-in-law, Vincent Colonna Jr., who passed away unexpectedly on April 5. He also shared some of the important thoughts and insights he's learned through the grieving process.

"Last Monday, I was sitting in this chair ... the two-minute warning comes and Stu said to me, 'You ready for the show?'' ... And that's when my wife [Tania] came to the door of the studio here at our house and said, 'I...' and she held the phone up. And then she collapsed on the floor in tears," Glenn began. "Tania's brother had passed. To say this was a shock, is an understatement."

Glenn described his brother-in-law as having "a servant's spirit."

"He was always the guy who lit up the room. He was always the guy helping others. He would never stop, because he was always helping others," Glenn said of Vincent. "He was on the school board. He was a little league coach. He was the soccer coach. He helped build the church. He took care of the lawn of the church. He was constantly doing things, raising money for charity, working over here, helping to organize this. But he was never the guy in the spotlight. He was just the guy doing it, and you had no idea how much he had done because he never talked about it.

"We also didn't know how much mental anguish he was in because he never talked about it. And last Monday morning, after spending Easter with the family ... he killed himself. This is now the third family member of mine that has gone through this. And I keep seeing it play out over and over and over again, in exactly the same way."

Glenn described his thoughts as he, Tania, and her family struggled to come to grips with the devastating loss.

"I learned some really important things as I was watching this wake. I'm seeing these people from all walks of life ... the people that were there, were there because [Vince] made a difference in their life. He was a true servant. As I'm watching this, all that kept going through my mind was, 'by their fruits, ye shall know them.' The fruits of his labor were on display. He was a servant all the time. All the time ... he found a way to love everybody.

"There are two great commandments: Love God with all your heart and mind and soul. And love your neighbor. So those two great commandments boil down to: Love truth. Because that's what God is," Glenn said.

"Love thy neighbor. That's where joy comes from. The opposite of joy is despair, and that is the complete absence of hope ... and how do you find joy? You find joy by rooting yourself in the truth. Even if that's a truth you don't want to accept. Accept the truth," he added. "But we have to stop saying that there's nothing we can do. What are we going to do? Well, here's the first thing: stop living a lie."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:


Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

After imprisoning a pastor for refusing to follow COVID-19 restrictions, Canadian officials barricaded his church. And when some church members retaliated by tearing down part of the fence, Canadian Mounties arrived in riot gear.

Rebel News Founder Ezra Levant joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to give his insight on the crazy situation. He described the new, armed police presence surrounding GraceLife Church in Edmonton, Alberta, and how it not only encouraged hundreds of protesters to stand with the church in support but forced congregation members underground to worship as well.

What's happening is eerily similar to what occurs everyday in China, Levant says, and it must stop. Who would have thought this type of tyranny would be so close to home?

Watch the video below to hear Ezra describe the religious persecution taking place in Canada.


Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Enough prayers? Why is supposed Catholic Joe Biden suggesting that Congress ought to stop praying for after someone commits acts of gun violence?

On Friday, Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray filled in for Glenn and discussed President Joe Biden's remarks during his speech on gun control. "Enough prayers. Time for some action," Biden said. Stu and Pat were surprised how dismissive Biden appeared to be on the idea of prayer.

Watch the clip to hear more. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Just days after Canadian pastor James Coates was released from prison for refusing to bow to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, several police officers showed up at another church to ensure restrictions were being followed. But Polish pastor Artur Pawlowski of the Cave of Adullam Church in Alberta, Canada, knew his rights, telling the cops not to come back until they had a warrant in hand.

Filling in for Glenn Beck on the radio program this week, Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere played a video of the interaction.

"Please get out. Please get out of this property immediately. Get out!" Pawlowski can be heard yelling at the six officers who entered his church.

"Out! Out! Out! Get out of this property immediately until you come back with a warrant," he continued. "Go out and don't come back. I don't want to talk to you. You Nazis, Gestapo is not allowed here! ... Nazis are not welcome here! Do not come back you Nazi psychopaths. Unbelievable sick, evil people. Intimidating people in a church during the Passover! You Gestapo, Nazi, communist fascists! Don't you dare come back here!"

Watch this clip to see the heated exchange:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.