Hillary Clinton has launched an aggressive campaign for her new plan for financing higher education, in which she proposed a $350 billion program of aid spread out over ten years, which could result in the complete elimination of debt incurred during college for millions of Americans.
Taxes for Education
Clinton chose New Hampshire, the state with highest average debt per student, to present her plan. At a town hall meeting she proposed making studying for two-year community college qualifications completely tuition free. The plan also includes incentives to reduce the cost of a full degree and lower interest rates on student loans.
Within this plan military veterans, lower-income students and students who complete a national service program such as AmeriCorps would get free education, while other students would still incur costs for their schooling and living expenses at public universities.
The bulk of the plan hinges on up to $200 billion in federal government funded incentives for states that increase their investment in college and university education and cut costs for students. The funding for this is from an even more controversial area, restricting the total tax deductions for a family to 28 percent, including deductions for charitable donations and interest paid on mortgages.
Surprise, surprise, Republicans have unanimously rejected the plan, claiming that it will create new taxes for the job creating class which is outrageous. Presidential candidate Marco Rubio sad that this will make doing business in the U.S. even more expensive, with raising taxes and consequently pouring all that money into an outdated higher education system.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Democrats think the plan is too little too late, as it would help current and future students, but still leave millions with enormous student debt left to fend for themselves.
Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s opponent for the Democratic nomination has proposed a alternative plan of $70 billion per year, financed by taxing transactions made by hedge funds and investment houses as well as other Wall Street firms, which seem equally unlikely to pass, as it would face the same opposition by the ultra rich as Hillary’s.
As usual, the presidential candidate’s proposals and promises are more about sound bites than dealing with the reality of pushing through any reform that affects the wealthiest 20 percent of Americans.