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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Countless leaders on the left are now arguing that removing President Donald Trump from office won't be enough — they're now calling for the president's "cult-like" supporters to be "deprogrammed." And it's not just fringe politicians.

During an appearance on "Real Time with Bill Maher" last week, former NBC anchor Katie Couric said, "The question is, how are we going to really almost deprogram these people who have signed up for the cult of Trump."

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi questioned whether the nation needs "a 9/11-type commission" to determine whether President Trump was colluding with Russian President Vladimir Putin "the day that the insurgents invaded our Capitol." Clinton also made sure to include her favorite "deplorables" in her unsubstantiated conspiracy theory:

"But we now know that not just [Trump] but his enablers, his accomplices, his cult members, have the same disregard for democracy," Clinton said to Pelosi.

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson and New York Times Magazine's Nikole Hannah-Jones agreed that there is a need for "millions of Americans, almost all white, almost all Republicans" to be deprogrammed and punished, during an MSNBC interview last week.

Now, a story from the Washington Post is also preaching that narrative and even added that we need more restrictions for conservatives on social media and in the broadcast industry.

"So now we have to be deprogrammed? We've heard this over and over and over and over again, for months," said Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday. He read through the shocking details of the Washington Post op-ed and discussed the extraordinary dangers of the latest anti-conservative movement in America.

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As calls for censorship and restrictions against conservative voices get louder, Glenn Beck said he feels an "awesome responsibility" to speak, not the words he'd personally like to say, but those he believes the Lord would want him to share.

"It's an awesome responsibility, and one that I am not worthy of," Glenn said. "I want to say ... what He wants me to say. And I have to listen very carefully, because I feel the same way you do. But that will get us nowhere."

Glenn said it's time for Americans who are awake — not woke — to come together, no matter which side of the political aisle you're on, and stand with the truth.

"We are the Alamo, we will stand. But we desperately, desperately need you," Glenn said. "We need the people who are awake — not woke — awake. You may disagree with us. We are your allies, not your enemies. And if you will not stand with us in our hour of need, there will be no one left to stand with you in your hour of need. We must all come together, anyone who is awake."

Watch the video below to hear more from Glenn:

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The incoming Biden administration plans to waste no time in overturning much of the progress achieved by President Donald Trump.

On his radio program Monday, Glenn Beck ran through 10 executive orders President Joe Biden plans to announce on "day one" of his time in office — including rejoining the Paris climate accord, canceling the Keystone pipeline, mask mandates on federal land and during interstate travel, and a proposed federal minimum wage of $15 an hour.

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Eric Weinstein, managing director of investment firm Thiel Capital and host of "The Portal" podcast, is not a conservative, but he says conservative and center-right-affiliated media are the only ones who will still allow oppositional voices.

On "The Glenn Beck Podcast" this week, Eric told Glenn that the center-left media, which "controls the official version of events for the country," once welcomed him, but that all changed about eight years ago when they started avoiding any kind of criticism by branding those who disagree with them as "alt-right, far-right, neo-Nazi, etc.," even if they are coming from the left side of the aisle. But their efforts to discredit critical opinions don't stop there. According to Eric, there is a strategy being employed to destroy our national culture and make sure Americans with opposing views do not come together.

"We're trifling with the disillusionment of our national culture. And our national culture is what animates the country. If we lose the culture, the documents will not save us," Eric said. "I have a very strongly strategic perspective, which is that you save things up for an emergency. Well, we're there now."

In the clip below, Eric explains why, after many requests over the last few years, he finally agreed to this podcast.

Don't miss the full interview with Eric Weinstein here.

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