Bernie Sanders on Education: Give the Grifters More

Bernie Sanders on Education: Give the Grifters More July 14, 2015

If college was free: standard computer.
If college was free: standard computer.

Socialism has this going for it: it sees a problem and it proposes a very direct solution. Kids are struggling to get the schooling they need and Bernie Sanders has the solution: free college. This jolly solution has the advantage of being easy to understand, free is a simple concept, but immoral in practice.

Sanders would help the poor by paying off the educrats already robbing them of quality education. Cutting out the middleman and just giving these grifters in academic gowns their money is less painful, but no less morally repulsive.

Sanders is right about one thing: Higher education costs are too high for graduate and undergraduate students. First, schools have taken to hiring more administrators and paying them more. You may think your tuition is going to Professor Love-Joy, but it is probably going to a Vice-President for Studying Helping Students Learn. Second, government money poured in to help the problem of affordability has driven up costs.

If a student gets free government money, the school can raise the base price while still getting the maximum return on each young “cash cow.” Graduate education is as bad with on-line programs and Christian schools leading the way in getting students to borrow for degrees that the Post says charitably are of “uncertain” value. Christian colleges have aspired to make top twenty lists for years, but those that make this list should not be proud. When Jesus threw the money changers out of the Temple, they evidently went into higher education.

Don’t believe me? Try this trick: take any non-profit school and Google the 990 and find out what the top administrators make. Then check the average faculty pay. Try running down local State U and discover the number of people employed there that are not directly in education or research.

You will not enjoy the process. There are great people and leaders out there in higher education, but many non-profits are quite profitable for a few at the top. It’s like multi-level marketing for educrats: the top tier is all diamond, while part-time adjunct professors try to sell the soap. Worst of all is the on-line for profit (or sort of non-profit) where hundreds of students are less likely to have their work graded by a real professor than they are to meet Bernie.

Bernie: don't feed the grifters.
Bernie: don’t feed the grifters.

Bernie travels around trying to meet people. The professor has had his credentials serve a class for hundreds like a chicken bone passed through water in a poor man’s soup. The call center does the work and the main work is recruiting and retention.

Sanders wants to send these people your money …albeit for now only at state undergraduate programs.

Let’s be blunt: borrowing huge amounts of money for an on-line grad degree from a second or third tier school is foolish. The schools that churn through students to do it should be ashamed and the government money cut off, not increased. Read this chart to see one list of shame.

And here we see the problem with Sanders solution: the very people who are milking the system to multiply Vice Presidents, administrative positions, exploiting part-time professors while hiring full time staff and ballooning Presidential salaries will now get a huge windfall. Sanders will reward the grifters by just giving them your money. He will solve the problem by rewarding the creators of the problem.

Saunders will give state schools, some of the worst offenders in terms of bloat, more free money. This will not go to hiring professors. Costs will not go down, but up, and the government will pick up the tab. With luck, private schools also will get a subsidy (as they do in states like California) to equalize the system and so everyone will profit except the taxpayers.

Bernie Sanders is an amiable chucklehead when it comes to money. “Educators,” already abusing the public dole, will be given more money. They can then spread their abuse from their students to all the citizens of the nation. This will be less painful to the students, and never as painful to any given citizen, but is a foolish idea.

Sanders would end the looting of Rome by the barbarians by simply cutting the barbarians a check.

Students will not have to borrow money to go to school, but may have to borrow money to pay the taxes required to pay for more administrations, more dubious on-line experiments, and more junkets disguised as conferences. Spending the week talking to Phillip E. Johnson, retired Berkeley law professor and Socratic gadfly to the academy, reminded me of all of this. He reminded me that whatever happened in regards to quality in legal education in his time in higher education, one thing certainly happened: costs and numbers of administrators exploded.

I am sure of this: Sanders will get the votes of the millionaires that run our public universities. They are charged to raise money and Sanders will give them money for nothing. Like anything “free” the product will be devalued and homogenized. Out of fear of abuse of this “free money,” regulations on education will blossom, dissent will be stifled, and dissident schools choked off.

The Christian colleges that have been the worst abusers of the present regime will bring scrutiny on all our heads. The grifters will be the excuse to get rid of the politically incorrect and the just schools will be punished with the unjust.

This nightmare case will, of course, not happen if Sanders does not win and since Sanders is as likely to be President as I am, worries need not be too great.

And yet.

The only system worse than the one we have is the one Sanders proposes. Money has corrupted the system and more money is not the answer. What is the answer? I am working on it.

But until then, don’t send the thieves money.

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