by Andrew Malcolm (Investor’s Business Daily)
Some really big news coming from President Obama today: He’s got an idea of free community college for everyone for two years.
Like many exciting Obama ideas, it sounds too good to be true. Remember the $2,500 health insurance savings he promised on every family’s health insurance costs under ObamaCare?
But according to a video teaser POTUS taped sitting at — no, wait — sitting on his desk aboard Air Force One, Obama’s going to outline the plan today at Knoxville’s Pellissippi Community College as part of his State of the Union preview tour.
Then, as we described here earlier this week, he’s going to describe it again on national TV during his State of the Union address on Jan. 20.
“Put simply,” Obama explains, “what I’d like to do is see the first two years of community college free for everybody who’s willing to work for it.”
Wait, there’s more!
“That’s right, free for everybody who is willing to work for it.”
If you’re one of the youth legions who fell for Obama in 2008, you might wonder why your hero waited on this sweet freebie until 75% of his two terms were gone and you’d accumulated in excess of $100,000 in student loans. But that’s your problem.
“Under President Obama’s new proposal,” his White House website excitedly touted, “students would be able to earn the first half of a bachelor’s degree, or earn the technical skills needed in the workforce — all at no cost to them.”
“Responsible students” would get free community college tuitions as long as they attended class at least half-time and maintained a 2.5 average during steady progress toward a degree. This would save each student about $3,800 a year, Obama said he figures.
Obama also figures all 1,100 community colleges in all his 57 states would want to participate.
It’s somewhat surprising that the Democrat would announce such a major giveaway on a Friday, a day usually reserved by his administration for document dumps of bad news timed to gather minimal attention. But he’s competing for media time and space with a new Congress that thinks it’s an equal branch of government.
The president’s cost totals are typically a little vague. But the federal government (meaning, you if you pay taxes) would fork over 75% of the tuition subsidy’s price tag and states would ante up the remaining 25%. Obama sees no problems there.
Like many Obama plans, this new spending idea equals a sum total exceeding the digits available on my calculator. But that doesn’t matter right now because none of this is ever going to happen.
Remember Obama’s similarly-financed idea for universal pre-K back in 2013? That swell-sounding, $75 billion idea went nowhere in a Congress half-controlled by Democrats. Although, as planned, the proposal did help Obama control a few news cycles, a couple of Sunday talk-show segments and provided him a tasty, if hopeless, talking point ever since.
Today, Congress is totally controlled by budget-conscious Republicans. So are 31 governorships, two territories and most state legislative chambers.
Other than that though, President Obama’s generous plan for free college for everyone today is a clear Go.