College affordability has recently become the preeminent issue in higher education, as student debt figures have hit staggering levels.
A number of prominent Democrats have decried the excessive cost of college, and Hillary Clinton even proposed making college as “debt free as possible.”
But of all the Democrats calling for debt-free college — including US Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley — only Bernie Sanders has laid out a detailed plan that explains how he will finance the legislation, Inside Higher Ed reported on Friday.
Sanders will finance his plan by imposing a “Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street,” according to Inside Higher Ed.
In May, Sanders held a press conference in Washington where he called the US government irresponsible for allowing students to incur massive levels of debt to pay for college.
“It is unacceptable that in many instances interest rates on student loans are two to three times higher than interest rates on auto loans,” he told an audience that included student groups and a nurses union.
Sanders unveiled his ambitious College For All Act, which would provide free tuition at all public colleges and universities in the country.
He didn’t mince words over the substantial cost that such legislation would require, estimating that it would cost $US750 billion over the next 10 years. And he jumped into how he would finance the plan, striking out at the investment industry while doing so.
“At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, at a time when trillions of dollars in wealth have been shifted from the middle class and working families of this country to the top one tenth of one per cent, at a time when the wealthiest people in this country have made huge amounts of money from risky derivative transactions and the soaring value of the stock market, this legislation would impose a speculation fee on wall street investment houses and hedge funds,” he said.
His proposed legislation and tone surrounding Wall Street is certainly not surprising given Sanders is a self-described socialist. And it’s already drawn derision from Republican politicians. Chris Christie pounced on debt-free college proposals saying, “That is a typical liberal approach. It is wrong.”
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