Buttigieg Attacks Top Democratic Rivals on Tuition-Free College for All

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders want to make public college free for everyone, even the wealthy. But Pete Buttigieg, who wants an income limit, disagrees.

Comments: 218

  1. Mayor Pete is wrong about College For All. There are people who dropped out after elementary school and middle school but that did not make middle school and high school personal preferences. The difference in costs among the plans is minuscule. Don't make it about rich and poor. Education has been and always will be a vehicle for benefit and advance personally, for the country and for the world. It should be encouraged at all levels and for everyone.

  2. @bluecyan thats true & " there are others of us who are too old to try to go to college ".., i kno a person never stops learning things but i'm tryin to make way for my nephew & other younger members of my family to go to college should they choose to once they graduate HS " ..

  3. @bluecyan The difference is about 500 billion over 10 years. That is a lot of money that can be spent elsewhere.

  4. Free college for all may be a legislative reach, but he's wrong to say that it isn't a basic right like K-12 education. Not everyone finishes high school, and when free education was first established here, many didn't attend high school at all, but were forced to go to work. But the difference between these plans is immaterial: the ability of all qualified students to attend college is the real issue here, and any proposal will be modified by legislative realities anyway. The Democrats should stop squabbling about this nonsense and focus on the substantive matter: they want every student to have an opportunity to go to college, while the Republicans do not.

  5. College used to not be for everybody. In fact, secondary school used to not be for everybody. Times have changed, as has education, the workforce, and along with it all colleges. This is is a service based economy. The trades are important, but more and more, a basic BA is a necessity to gain jobs. It's not the bachelors that is not for everybody. Today it is advanced degrees that are not for everybody--more and more people who specialize have to get advanced degrees, while general education for the job market requires a BA.

  6. AOC was spot-on with her analysis on this issue. Excluding some groups hurts the overall program. We don't stop wealthy people from going to public schools. We want a diversity of incomes and backgrounds in our public offerings.

  7. @Keith My great concern is that the Democratic presidential candidates are competing to see who can make the most woke and socialist promises: Free college tuition. Medicare for all, including illegal immigrants. College loan forgiveness. Reparations for blacks and gays. Guaranteed basic income. Federal job guarantees. Federally mandated school busing to achieve integration. Green New Deal (eco-socialism). Voting and early release for prisoners. Open borders. All the fabulously wealthy US individuals and corporations together do not have the many trillions of dollars needed to pay for these goodies year after year, and even Bernie Sanders has admitted that taxes would have to be raised on the middle class to pay for Medicare for All, not to mention the additional trillions needed for the other items. (For perspective, the current US budget is about $4.4 trillion, with a deficit of about $1 trillion.) As Margaret Thatcher aptly noted, the problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money. Don’t forget that our (Democrats') goal in 2020 is to elect a Democratic president, and that will require appealing to the independents, undecideds and others whom the Democrats failed to reach in 2016. If all of these progressive (socialist) promises, or even a few, are planks in the 2020 Democratic platform we are doomed to a second term of Trump as president.

  8. @Keith If public colleges are free for all, they will be flooded with students who are even less prepared and capable academically than those entering college now. This will allow private colleges to maintain their low admission rates and high tuition costs, since private colleges will then be rightly known as institutions of higher quality than public colleges.

  9. @Mon Ray That would be awful; more kids attending college. Those less prepared flunk out early and quickly. Private colleges are unaffected either way. Universal programs last and are equitable to ALL. Means tested programs breed strife and resentment and are used to divide us, not unite. The rich will still be rich. The rich will still attend the schools of their choice. The rich don't take out and owe massive student loans. Private Uni's remain outside of the paid-fors. Hey, time to change the comment above. Copying and pasting the same comment ad nauseum is trolling and boring. It's bad form. Time to change it up.

  10. No, college is not for everyone. Make it affordable, but not free. Cap loan interest rates for any continuing Ed or trade. And work w lenders to lower all current loan interest rates and incl college debt in any bankruptcy filing. If you eliminate $50k or all college debt loans for each person, you penalize those who did it right by working jobs through college or attending a more affordable school. And penalize parents who scraped and saved to pay for their kids education without needing loans.

  11. @Meg Riley And the Emancipation Proclamation penalized ex-slaves who had managed to work their way to manumission, I suppose? In my view, we should be trying to make life better for each new generation, not insisting that they suffer as we did.

  12. The main point is, the richest will be paying the most tax for all of the students. Since the top 20 % will be contributing the most, they have a right to be part of an extremely well run education system. This will promote an equal admittance to all schools. As soon as we exclude any group, the programs will be subject to unfair rules and more needless regulating.

  13. Public college should be be free for all. Otherwise it becomes a stigma on the poor. Like social security it is a benefit from all to all. And indeed the wealthy are theoretically paying more taxes to support it anyway which is a form of “paying higher fees”

  14. @Nomi Silverman theoretically. the rich are theoretically paying more in taxes.

  15. I hate to be one who speaks up for the ultra-wealthy in this country -- they have enough champions in Washington as it is -- but their children have as much right to attend a public college or university (or trade school) tuition free as mine do. A basic higher education should be a right for all Americans who want one, not just for the rich and not just for those whose parents earn under $150,000. I also want to assure Mr. Buttigieg that the rich can still attend their elite colleges and universities and pay for it with their own private funds. As I'm sure they will continue to do.

  16. @avrds Exactly correct. It's the same reason that everybody who pays into Social Security -- from minimum-wage worker to Bill Gates -- can collect benefits.

  17. Indeed, the wealthy will still attend private and expensive colleges and universities rather than go to public institutions tuition-free.The mayor is just trying to attack reasonable and popular plans presented by Senators Sanders and Warren. His attacks on them as “elitist” and “regressive” are nonsense.

  18. I’m reminded of Anatole France’s witticism about how the law, in its fairness, forbids both the poor and the rich from sleeping in the streets. You want the program, in all fairness, to give monetary benefit to the poor and the rich equally. There is a facile equality to it, but it fails in real life. Post secondary education is part of what makes people rich. Giving rich people the means to get rich-er is fundamentally different from giving the poor the means to fully develop talents and become rich.

  19. Isn’t there already free college for financially challenged students? At what point do we make college worthless because everyone does it ? At what point is it too much, giving everyone everything ? Honest question,....how much is too much enabling?

  20. @Joe, make college worthless because everybody does it? Is that what public education is? Worthless because everybody does it? It is worth less because it does not go far enough. We started building high schools around 1910. We have added a bit of knowledge since then. College is no longer a prize, it is a necessary survival tool and our country would revert to third world status without it. Join the 21st Century.

  21. @Joe I guess that if you only see college education as a means to separate people into classes, making it so everyone can get one would diminish the value. But I’d say that there’s an intrinsic value to an education that accrues not just to the individual, but to our nation as a whole.

  22. @Joe Education is worthless if everyone is educated?

  23. “ It’s about whether higher education should be a commodity or a public service.” Both? My take is education is an important investment in our country and people, and everyone should have a path to be able to work toward a better future. Costs shouldn’t be so prohibitive that people don’t feel college is possible. On the flip side, students will take the experience more seriously if they have to work a little for it. I believe Yang may be the only candidate asking a different question. Rather than asking how much money the government should throw at the problem, he’s asking why colleges have gotten so expensive. I don’t know if his analysis checks out, but the best answer would seem to be reducing costs, low-interest loans, and an increased number of scholarships and grants for deserving students, especially those with financial need. For those already saddled in debt, there’s no fair way to deal with this, but maybe there should be some level of forgiveness and reimbursement for debt over $50,000 within a set period of time (possibly the past 10 years).

  24. @Chris, We just have to apologize to people like me who paid off their student loans, forgive those loans that are outstanding, and make tuition-free to students who can go to state colleges. It is time to move public education from K-12 to K-16.

  25. Mr. Buttigieg is wrong on this issue. The truly rich will always send their kids to an elite college and pay for it just like they send their kids to fancy private K- 12 schools. Including them in this program won’t cost much and raise this program to the level of Social Security and Medicare which are universally supported instead of turning this into a welfare program like food stamps which will be ended as soon as the Republicans get back in control.

  26. Come to NY, all rich kids are at Hunter College or at CUNY. Paying almost nothing Rich people love not to pay.

  27. @Zee Hopefully New York is getting some tax money from them then.

  28. As a proud graduate of Hunter College, City University of New York (1969) I feel the argument is moot. Despite Hunter's outstanding faculty, rigorous entrance requirements and comprehensive curriculum, and its location on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, an area occupied by wealthy New Yorkers, very few if any students were members of New York's upper socioeconomic classes. Why? One of the ways the rich maintain their wealth is networking with others like them, gaining access to lucrative jobs through their friendships with classmates who are tied to great wealth, and yes, marrying others within the same economic group. It's similar to a corporate merger. Sitting in class next to the likes of children of lower middle class and blue collar workers does nothing to enhance their chances of advancement. If this weren't the case, the frenzy to gain admission to the handful of Ivy League schools would not be fierce and hysterical, as it continues to be today. I wouldn't lose sleep worrying about this particular issue.

  29. @TM The choice to send a child to the Ivies and schools of similar repute has little to do with networking. It does occur, of course, but these kids are already networked thanks to their parents' social and work circle, and friends who are equally privileged. Parents send kids to the Ivies because they can get a better education there than at a state, and because they believe the degree is more useful when getting a job (in most cases, it is not).

  30. @TM I was a rich kid at CUNY not long after you were there, and I disagree: sitting in class and being friends with kids who lived in city housing projects and whose families were on welfare did me, who lived in a house with a backyard swimming pool and three cars up front, a world of good, including in employment, because I could relate to the students whose teacher I would become. It also helped me become someone who understood about economic inequality: something that actually ended up benefited me because of working in the nonprofit center and in politics.

  31. Why haven't any of the candidates suggested Free Tuition in exchange for compulsory public service? Four years free college in exchange for two years in the Peace Corps, Americorps, US Armed Forces, or the Public School system seems like a great deal for our citizens, and a political compromise that voters across the spectrum can get behind.

  32. @Stokepoint, Can anyone get a decent job without college? Or better, what could our country achieve if hardly anyone went to college? We are not talking about free tuition at USC, Princeton, MIT, or Harvard. We are talking about free tuition at our land grant (State) colleges. We started Public education because our country needed educated people if it was ever going to be something. compulsory attendance laws were passed in the early 1900s by 1910 we started building high schools. Interestingly enough, they were being promoted by "Progressives." one hundred and twenty years later, we are long overdue to add another 4 years to our public education.

  33. @Stokepoint I think Delaney did?

  34. @Stokepoint It’s free, not “free”

  35. If we don't offer it to everyone, those who aren't included will try to destroy it. same with healthcare.

  36. This never have been proven that it will be ruined if it is not free for all. This talking point is going around without any explaination. How about people will never have children. Why do they have topay for all these? Free for poor seems is fair.

  37. @Zee I'd say the facts are the explanation. SNAP, heating and living assistance etc. are always on the chopping block when budgets are discussed. Medicare and Social Security get mere mentions because the masses rise up to protest cuts.

  38. @GFF I think you’re correct. Or if it’s not destroyed, free education will become substandard education, and expensive/ private education superior yet available only to those with money. Same with healthcare. Both need to be free for everyone.

  39. 150K is too high: I taught at one of the highly competitive public ivies that set its tuition low, and that benefited the wealthy who could afford good secondary schooling, not the needy in less well-funded school districts. I would set the bar at 85K for a family of 4, if the student qualifies for admission. I would then support steps up to about 125k, before the family had to bear the full cost of instate tuition. This isn't like health care: that's a right. A college education is not a right, and most students don't need 4 years of college to do well in life. 2-year degrees are a different matter: community colleges provide vital training for actual jobs. Above all, we should be funding public schools much better than we do. I would rather see any of this funding go for primary and secondary schooling, rather than a college education.

  40. And if it's free for all, how are college's going to set tuition prices? There will be no market force to hold them down. Will Harvard still be able to charge more than No Name College, and if so, by how much?

  41. @TonyD Private school will be able to charge whatever they want. Public universities will just be folded into the same system that pays for K-12 public schools now. What does a public high school 'charge'?

  42. @TonyD The proposal is only for public colleges so Harvard doesn’t apply here.

  43. @TonyD Back in the days I remember, when state colleges cost next to nothing, private colleges competed with each on price. There will still be a large enough pool of private colleges to make that possible. People shopping for private colleges expected to pay more and still will. It it true that private colleges were not as staggeringly expensive as they are now: my middle class parents could send me to one without having to go into the kind of stressed-out penury that is the norm today.

  44. I think college should be free regardless of income but tied to merit. Otherwise the universities will go the way of the public schools and sink to the lowest level. Not everyone is cut out for college/university. I think free trade schools should be available as should certificate programs that lead to employment.

  45. @Imkay Public schools suffer because of funding, racial inequality, infrastructure, and lack of support for teachers. Making a merit based system would disadvantage poor students who don't have the means or support to pay for things like SAT/ACT prep tutoring. Sure, not everyone will or is meant to graduate from college. But, everyone should be given a fair chance.

  46. It’s good we are having this debate, but I’m surprised that even the detailed plans linked in the article don’t really get to the nitty gritty. How are federal tax funds distributed to 50 states that run 50 different public higher ed systems with differing costs that need to be offset to make them tuition free? Should some of the new aid be voucher-like applicable to private colleges (if not, you spend a lot of federal dollars shifting students from private to public and make the plan more costly than it otherwise might be i. e., states save money when privates educate their students)? None of this means we shouldn’t develop a plan to make college as affordable as it once was, but eventually candidates will need to develop real policies. Perhaps the principle is enough for this stage of electoral politics.

  47. What seems to get lost in the rhetoric is the concept of "public colleges". At some point, early in our history, we recognized the societal benefit to providing publicly supported education through grade 12. Public education is not means tested. No one objects to its provision for all, rich or poor. Likewise, no one is suggesting that "elite" private academies, favored by the rich, should be publicly supported. We have now reached a point where it is recognized that our society benefits, perhaps even requires, a substantial cohort of citizens educated to grade 16. The "free tuition" proposals are a means of extending public education to a point necessary for the collective good of our society. Public colleges, as it is currently with K-12 public education, will be supported by society as a whole. They may be attended by rich or poor, without means testing. Those who can afford the Harvards or Yales or who choose to take out loans for private universities, will still have those options. Additionally, no one is suggesting trade schools or apprenticeships will be eliminated. Quite the contrary, parts of these proposals include augmentation of such programs for those who wish to pursue other paths. It boils down to what provides best for the future of our society as a whole. We ARE in this together.

  48. Personally, I don't think free public university should be for all. It should be based merit. It's already bad enough at some schools where you have freshmen who can't even write an essay well (complete with citations), but their parents can afford to send them there anyway. Also, what about books, lab fees, dorm room and board (or rent and food, if you live off campus), etc.? Even "free" tuition isn't enough for people who then still can't afford 4 years of the huge other expenses associated with going to college.

  49. Means testing excludes a few rich people. But much more importantly it excludes a lot of poor people who aren’t able to comply with the massive paperwork requirements. In addition Buttigieg’s suggested means test kicks in way too low and creates a massive marginal tax for middle class parents.

  50. Community colleges, trade schools and apprenticeship training should be free to all. The first two years at a four year public college/university should be free to all. Means test for the last two years. We’re talking about public institutions only; the private schools will still be in demand. Perhaps their costs will go down over time if they have to compete with the public system.

  51. Yes, free tuition at public institutions will result in private institutions being more careful about increasing their costs and, therefore, their fees to students.

  52. After 6 years of college, I noticed that many of the people attending were not capable of the workload or the actual learning of the material. Will they have to pay back what they used if they drop out? Secondly, if the problem is affordability, make rules to lower the cost of an education. Why should our taxes go up when a simpler solution is there? The same applies to the medical industry... Third, when will these candidates say how they are going to make it all happen? Congress is not a vacuum and neither is the Presidency. I keep hearing how one candidate or the other will "do this" or "do that" but none are saying how they will accomplish this in relation to passing laws.

  53. The free tuition idea must be an incentive for secondary school students to excel to be rewarded with that free education. It's a mistake to dedicate money based on money to pay for education. You want to reward good grades in secondary school. Imagine a program that dispersed the legislated funds to the highest scholastic achievers, not just based on financial formulas. A massive free education in college would incentivise greater effort earlier in secondary schools.

  54. Lots of people do not have the intelligence and motivation to study at the college level. According to the College Board https://reports.collegeboard.org/sat-suite-program-results/class-2019-results , "45% of SAT takers in the class of 2019 met both college readiness benchmarks, down from 47% for the class of 2018." Students and parents will make more informed decisions about college, and students will study harder, when they have some skin in the game.

  55. We have recently learned from past infusions of large amounts of money into education that the money didn’t make any difference. We discovered that unless the student was burning with energy to study and succeed, their grades did not improve. Asian students don’t succeed because of superior intellects. They succeed because they burn with the values they learned from their parents to succeed in education. Until American students receive this kind of drive from their parents they will not place high priority on doing well in school.

  56. One of the downsides of means testing is all the forms that have to be filled in and sent through the system. They create a barrier to students who don’t understand them (and have no help from parents) and they create a bureaucracy that costs a ridiculous amount of money to administer. Taking the cost of this bureaucracy into account I wouldn’t be surprised if the universal model is cheaper. As many point out, the truly wealthy will send their kids to private schools, anyway. Unless of course their kids prefer to make their own way without their wealthy parents breathing down their necks.

  57. Until Sanders and Warren and the likes of them advocate investigating why college education is so expensive - they’ll not get my vote. College boards and deans must be feeling mighty secure with their institutional treasuries and lush salaries when gullible citizens fall for government subsidies. Free education? Baloney! Education tuition credit for community service would be more acceptable. Many senior citizens living off of a monthly $1000 Social Security check must be cringing at “free” education when they barely can pay for housing, utilities, and food. How many seniors live isolated without family contact or an occasional outting? It’s time to focus on those Americans who deserve the focus of entitlements. Let those who want college assistance do something for those who end up pay for it.

  58. @Ray And many of these elderly get government funded housing which includes rent, heat, electricity and cable/internet/phone. Why are they entitled to this? I'm not opposed to helping to provide a roof over the heads of the elderly. It benefits all of us when we provide for society. Whether that is access to affordable health care, affordable housing, and yes affordable higher learning. I don't have a problem attaching some kind of public service to providing for a college education but it has o be attainable and readily available. Our daughter looked into Americorp. There was nothing available close to home, not even in our state at the time. If a stipulation of tuition free college is serving the nation it has to be an attainable goal. Working in the local library, helping out in the public school system or mentoring area students. But if it doesn't serve the student's community the requirement won't work. Not everyone is suited to living far from home. I would never have done this and none of our children will either. Family is important to them as in living close.

  59. The USA needs more Skilled Trades. How about we offer grants to VO-TECHs that cover all but 10% of the cost - on the condition that the people who get these grants complete the program. If they drop-out before they finish the course of study, then they are obligated to pay back the full amount. Cosmetology school - for example - costs $15,000.... which seems like a high price to pay for a job that has a median income of $35Kish. We need more plumbers and carpenters that are highly skilled and do great work.

  60. @Aaron Kinchen The Sanders plan covers trade schools and apprenticeships, too.

  61. When you make college free for everyone, you give by far the largest benefits to the wealthy. They go from paying full price ($60,000 ) to $0. Meanwhile, the poor go from paying, say, $10,000 to $0. I want my tax dollars subsidizing those who can’t afford college, not children of the rich.

  62. @CP what about all those college athletes! Who win big time scholarships to play sports! Big sponsors. No fair. My kids never became star athletes, they never played sports in college.

  63. @CP I’d argue that the marginal value of the $10k to the poor is far greater than the marginal value of $60k to the wealthy. I’d also point out that you ignore the middle class, who also get very little financial aid, that most wealthy kids go to private colleges, and those who don’t are such a minuscule part of the population that the amount of money saved by not giving the actual wealthy free college is not worth giving up the benefits of a universal program.

  64. My great concern is that the Democratic presidential candidates are competing to see who can make the most woke and socialist promises: Free college tuition. Medicare for all, including illegal immigrants. College loan forgiveness. Reparations for blacks and gays. Guaranteed basic income. Federal job guarantees. Federally mandated school busing to achieve integration. Green New Deal (eco-socialism). Voting and early release for prisoners. Open borders. All the fabulously wealthy US individuals and corporations together do not have the many trillions of dollars needed to pay for these goodies year after year, and even Bernie Sanders has admitted that taxes would have to be raised on the middle class to pay for Medicare for All, not to mention the additional trillions needed for the other items. (For perspective, the current US budget is about $4.4 trillion, with a deficit of about $1 trillion.) As Margaret Thatcher aptly noted, the problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money. Don’t forget that our goal in 2020 is to elect a Democratic president, and that will require appealing to the independents, undecideds and others whom the Democrats failed to reach in 2016. If all of these progressive (socialist) promises, or even a few, are planks in the 2020 Democratic platform we are doomed to a second term of Trump as president.

  65. When my grandfather went to public school, it went as far as the 8th grade (K-8). It served him well, he retired Comptroller of Buick. When my parents went to public school, it went to the 12th grade (K-12) and they did well, also. When I graduated in 1960, college was just becoming necessary. We were beginning to shift from graduating f high school, getting a job, and getting married to going to college. That was 60 years ago. Since that time we have invented the computer and walked on the moon. Today you cannot get a job without college. It is long past time that we move fro, K-12 to K-16. A college degree is not just a nice thing to have, It is an investment in our nation's future. It has to be free for all. It has to be part of our public education. Will the rich use it? I seriously doubt it. They want Ivy League. But, their taxes will pay for it, too, and they should have the right.

  66. @Ken Sayers "Today you cannot get a job without college. Elitist, much? My husband earned a very good living in the trades with no college degree but a boat load of basic "smarts" and a lot of ambition. He was college material but couldn't afford to attend. He got a job in the HVAC trade and provided a comfortable life for me, a stay at home Mom, and our five children. We built a custom home in 1985, owned new cars, motorcycles and dined out regularly. All on a single income. And all without a college degree but with a lot of mechanical aptitude. He was service manager of a multi-million dollar home heating oil company for 14 years. In comparison my childhood friend attended one of the premier business schools in MA. AT 60 he lost his comptroller job and has not been able to find a job since. Another friend, an accountant, lost his job this spring at age 62 and has no been able to find meaningful employment since. Yet my husband with just his lowly high school education is now making a low 6 figure income and has been offered a teaching position in the company he works for. Another friend owns a highly successful automotive repair business. It take weeks to get an appointment for a basic oil change. His wife is employed by the business. They have a custom built home in a bordering CT town. Another childhood friend has his own electrical company. He employs several electricians and has a custom built home in the same town. All done without the "necessary" college degree.

  67. @Ken Sayers Could it be that K-8, K-12, and K-16 are just the dumbing and watering down the standards?

  68. no college should be tuition free (unless someone qualifies for a need based scholarship)...all students/families need to have some "skin in the game"...however, community and public colleges should be much more affordable (say, tuition/books limited to what a student could earn working a summer job)...also, canceling student debt is simply an absurd idea...lower interest rates on student loans, maybe, but Warren will have a tough time getting 100% of Democratic votes if she keeps proposing such plans (as well as Sanders with his canceling Medical debt)...please stop all this "free" stuff...

  69. @Jim One’s future employability and earning capacity isn’t “skin in the game”?

  70. Free college? No. How about price controls on the greed of college and university administrators and boards of control?

  71. Nowadays college is high school. Government funded public college, and government subsidized private college and trade and vocational schools for non-college kids makes some sense.

  72. @MIKEinNYC , so in a nutshell, you think both sides of the argument are correct. Would be great to hear your views on the question of whether millionaires should pay or benefit for this new program?

  73. Mayor Pete is a Conservative/Democrat. Conservatives like class division. America needs unity, our country thrives when we are equal. Spiritually, educationally, compassionately. God, I love this country when we live up to American ideals.

  74. @s.whether I love our country. Period.

  75. @s.whether I love our country. Period.

  76. @s.whether, thank you for standing up for my human rights. I am one of those multi-millionaires that Buttigieg is attacking and greatly appreciate those who would put an end to his means-testing efforts. I have the first of 4 kids that will start college in the coming year and why should I pay for something that is a right (public education!). Just this past winter I sold one of our boats to try and prepare for the kids college costs. As this happens across the country, it hurts the common man working in the yacht industry and undermines our basic freedoms.

  77. "A new policy debate is brewing between the left wing of the Democratic presidential field and Pete Buttigieg, a more moderate candidate, over eliminating public college tuition — and the dispute has scrambled the usual rhetorical lines." Why is this policy clash characterized as a left wing vs. moderate debate? Much of Western Europe has a free tuition, presumably because students' parents and their political rulers don't want to burden their future leaders with oppressive debt. Was this a left wing conspiracy or just plain, old fashion sound planning and common sense?

  78. The most obvious reasons why all programs must be universal are quite simple: by separating Americans into those deserving and those undeserving, we are further dividing this country; and unless a program is available to all, cynical politicians will try to play some voters against others in order to dismantle the entire thing. That's why Medicare is much, much more popular than Obamacare. On a different note: I find it curious how Buttigieg is criticizing Bernie et al. for being too generous to the rich. I am sure his secretive billionaire backers in Silicon Valley and beyond are giving so generously to him, because they are opposed to preserving the privileges of the rich. War is peace, and peace is war.

  79. @David Nonsense. Free eventually becomes a commodity. Look at so many of our public schools.

  80. Bernie - I dislike billionaires. There shouldn’t be any but I’ll pay for their kids to go to college. Warren: Yes, whatever Bernie says but I’ll make it sound bright and shiny. Buttigieg: Excuse me?

  81. @ArtM As if a billionaire is going to send his/her child to a publicly funded school.

  82. @ArtM you got it wrong. Kindly visit Canada New Zealand Australia and ask them how their kids get a college education, for free, mostly. Only in America do kids carry albatross like weights of college loans around their necks for their entire adult lifetimes. And if they went to medical or dental or law schools, forgetaboutit!!

  83. Why does it matter?

  84. It should be free for poor not free for ALL.

  85. No it should be free for all poor and all working class citizens. Billionaires don’t send their kids to public college anyway. But I also want the program to have wide popular support because otherwise it will never hold against a republican onslaught. I am with Warren and Bernie on this and so should you if you want this to hold.

  86. Pete just lost me on this one. The reason that there's a student debt crisis in this country is because middle class students don't qualify for aid other than loans. Low income students get extra aid. I know from experience, I was one myself. Upper class students can afford college as it is. It's the middle class that's at a disadvantage, not getting enough aid and yet not being able to outright afford it. Access to higher education should be a right in the "greatest nation on Earth", especially if it wants to maintain that title. As with so many other measures of social and economic wellbeing, the US has fallen behind. Be aware, Republicans oppose free access to education because an educated populace is harder to fool and harder to control.

  87. @D , Buttigieg is proposing, what if implemented, would be the most revolutionary Federal act for higher education (largely a state responsibility) in US history. It has a small chance (compared to universal programs with no chance) at passing the rural-(read Republican-controlled) America controlled Senate. If by a miracle we get it through, your reaction is that it should never be attempted, because those making $150,000 per year would have to rely on public university endowments for their kids financial aid.

  88. @D The reason is that there is a student debt crisis is that there was easy access to loans without credit checks which allowed schools to raise tuition to very high levels and not lose any students. Throwing more money at the problem only will increase the prices the schools charge the government/taxpayer. The cost at the universities has to be attacked first. You could easily do this by eliminating all loans, when they Universities don't have any paying customers they will need to react and figure out how to educate at a price their customers can afford.

  89. I'm a recent college grad and one thing that has erked me is that while Pete says not everyone goes to college I believe he is ignoring the fact that most don't go because they can't afford it. For many of the people I grew up with that was exactly the case even when we tried saving up all our money from jobs in high school. I worked five nights a week throughout all of high school and during the day in the summer and I couldn't afford going to my public university without taking out loans. A friend of mine who lives in New York's parents are both teachers and collectively they make over 100k a year. From what he told me they're just scraping by because of where they live as the cost of living is so high. By making the program means tested not only are you cutting out large swaths of the middle class, you're making that class divide more noticable and when people view a program as essentially being welfare our history has taught us that conservatives will fight to dismantle it. The reason K-12 became free for everyone is because it was necessary to have an educated populace. As most centrists like Pete want to give everyone a "choice" in terms of getting medical care shouldn't Americans all have the right to choose to go to college without crippling debt? One last thing is that had I chose to go to a trade school and become a carpenter or plumber like some of my relatives guess whose modest plan that isn't for millionaires wouldn't cover it?... Pete. Whose does? Bernie.

  90. @Max, so you think Pete plans to ignore trade school? South Bend has made a name for itself in supporting the apprenticeship / community education route to employment. Pete is a hard charging, policy wonk that will almost certainly move in most of these directions. He does not have decades experience giving speeches and achieving nothing on the ground. Moreover, no universal plan is going to be approved by the US Senate in Bernie's lifetime!!! Anyone who thinks Bernie is the route to implementing one of the largest new program's in American history..... has not read much history.

  91. History shows us that the only social programs that are durable and gain widespread support are those that are open to everyone equally—Social Security and Medicare. AOC, Warren, and Sanders are right. Create a solid social safety net and make it equally open to all Americans. This is the only way forward.

  92. @617to416 , it appears that you are half right. Social Security and Medicare are widely supported because they did NOT replace any existing benefits by the public. There was no safety net in the 1940s and no state or NGO stepped in later as the government had it covered. The current proposals need to be enacted in a far more complicated world. Millions of Americans make a good wage working in private health and insurance industries; while public universities have mastered charging a high tuition to provide the world's large army of "administrators overseeing student welfare" and learned to gain billions in donations from alumni to assist the less wealthy in paying tuition. The new universal proposals do not arrive in a vacuum and the chaos that results will be ugly. If you think Obama care did not last long wait until the voters strike back at the (still very unlikely) prospect of a Senate voting in a universal plan. This is all pie in the sky and why I will be voting for the progressive with a head on his/her shoulders in Buttigieg.

  93. @DoctorRPP - You might find this hard to believe, but I think few people believe that the folks " working in private health and insurance industries" should have a make work job whose main purpose is to drive up health care costs. Similarly the main purpose of world's large army of "administrators overseeing student welfare" is should not be a make work program whose main purpose is to drive up the cost of higher education. Surely we can find better things for these fine folks to do.

  94. Buttigieg is very dishonest and not a friend of the working class. It now turns out that his social programs will likely all be means tested. So what choice will people really have? While we are on the topic, his healthcare public option plan will be means-tested too? Best way to ensure lack of popular support and a republican onslaught. Buttigieg: time to show us your plans in detail and stop posturing on other campaign’s ideas for political gains.

  95. The fact that the wealthy don’t generally send their children to public colleges and universities, makes this a non-issue, but it gives the corporate-media an opportunity to burnish Buttegieg’s moderate image, so a whole article is devoted to something of minimal importance to voters. Just as the establishment of public universities in the post-war era fueled the innovation that made our country great (back when higher education was affordable), free public universities could provide another boost to our country’s economy and well-being. Who would argue against the prospect of a new generation of intellects focused on the challenges of renewable power generation, robotics and other areas of great need? But apparently, corporate America does not have those concerns very high on their agenda.

  96. Voters don’t (as you said right off the top). Why wouldn’t corporate America want the employee/employer dynamic entrenched to the point of socializing lucrative specialized training?

  97. @Big Barka Voters economic concern are a bit broader than the topic at hand. "Why wouldn’t corporate America want the employee/employer dynamic entrenched to the point of socializing lucrative specialized training?" Why would they when they can avail themselves of talent educated abroad? And obviously, the brain power they need can be harvested at private universities.

  98. @Ed Watters : Low-cost college predates World War II. The land grant colleges in the Midwest had very low tuition when my father attended a state teachers' college and the University of Minnesota in the 1930s.

  99. Clearly Pete doesn’t have college age kids!!! Both Bernie and Liz know exactly the took it takes to put kids through college when they have done everything right, worked hard made them grades got into good colleges. Now these same brilliant kids are saddled with tuition loans. They have no hopes of ever owning a home (and we tell them its not worth the headache lawn maintenance snow plow etc etc). They have no hope of having kids or even adopting because they know their kids will face the same problems..all over again. America never learns lessons.

  100. At the least there must be means tested interest free loans.

  101. I agree with universal free public college. Besides the fact that it will be more popular and politically durable over time you also save on administrative costs. How much money does it cost to do all the work of ensuring that people meet the income thresholds and determine who qualifies for what? Lots of paperwork and verifications. Do parents income count or not? What if parents don’t support their kids or won’t provide their income info? What happens to the kids with no parental help who struggle to complete all the paperwork by the appropriate deadlines? Let’s keep things simple, free and open to all.

  102. If you have more than $150,000 and bright kids, most likely you are sending them to private school which will not be covered by Bernie and Elizabeth's plans. Only publicly funded schools would allow this provision. Think of the competition to private schools by providing free tuition to public schools. The privates most likely would be forced to compete with this large pool, thus lowering costs to fill their campuses. Furthermore, the masses would be educated. Currently, over 50% of U.S. citizens cannot read on an eighth grade level. How very sad. Investing in education will help the income and wealth inequality gap, provide much needed innovation to solve our biggest crisis, climate change, and lift millions out of poverty into the middle class (remember, the middle class should be the backbone of a society). There was a time when only the rich and influential put their kids in school to be educated and become our future leaders. It's time to level the playing field and allow for all to have this opportunity. Trade schools, traditional universities and colleges, and all other schools that provide an education to make one a better, more prosperous person will lift all boats. The time has come!

  103. @Sue Salvesen I am not sure why everyone seems to think that people earning more than $150,000 will not send their children to public schools. Here in the Bay Area, everyone I know with kids in that income bracket has sent their children to a University of California school, or has seriously considered doing so. That said, I think making public universities nearly free for all who are academically qualified is a good idea. Charging a nominal fee so that students have skin in the game and would not be interested in becoming perpetual students would be a good idea. (Cal Berkeley used to charge around $400 a semester in the 1960s I believe.) The devil will be in the details. How to make public universities almost free without encouraging spiraling spending by the schools.

  104. @Guesser I agree. $150K doesn't cover private schools for a couple or three kids. I'd say 75% of my colleagues (I am attorney) send their children to state schools.

  105. Yeah,sure. I'm all for free college ... provided every citizen in the country with a college degree gets reimbursed for their undergrad, associate, trade school or whatever schooling. Heck, my college degree is long paid for, but I wouldn't mind the cash now and my house needs a new roof among other things. I know we're not supposed to mention the Russian/Republican Asset from Hawaii also running for president, but her "free college" plan is far more inclusive calling for monies also to be available for people right out of high school who want to start their own business, instead of getting just another degree. I'll take her idea over these three any day. Historically some of the nation's most successful companies were started by people without college degrees. Company founders, at the time, certainly would have appreciated some free cash to help make their start-ups go forward faster.

  106. I'm with Pete on this one, primarily because their is a finite amount of tax money that can be extracted from anyone, including the wealthy -and an infinite number of uses to which it could be put (universal access to healthcare, climate change, infrastructure, etc.). Taking any of that tax money and using it to sponsor wealthy kids' college is nowhere near the top of the list. Will some resent the program because they don't directly benefit? Sure, just as some resent every social program that redistributes wealth. But of course we all benefit from a society where opportunity is equal and everyone has a chance at success.

  107. @Jeff they aren’t advocating for paying for Harvard and Columbia. The rich will still send their kids to private schools. And on the off chance some billionaire decides to send their kid to U of A or whatever, who cares? If they paid their fair share of taxes then they paid that tuition already many times over. Caps build resentment. Is 149k really different from 151k?

  108. Setting a single income cap figure nationally is problematic. Setting it at $150k is misguided. With higher incomes generally comes higher expenses. It costs more to live where you can make more. There's quite a bit of debate about whether the "millionaires and billionaires" need this assistance. Fine, exclude them. If we must have a single national cap, set it at $1 million.

  109. All three candidates are wrong on this issue. If a student doesn't have skin in the game, they will likely not care about their academic performance. I am a college professor and I've already seen what loan packages do. young students don't understand what they will be paying back when it's all over with and they often don't seem to care about the classes they're sitting in. Democrats need to forget about this issue. Or we'll be looking at another Trump victory

  110. I replied to that. When it comes to elite education, your comment about people not valuing what they get for free is plain wrong. It’s very hard to get into elite schools on merit. You may not pay in cash but you will pay in effort and sweat and talent.

  111. @R You're talking about elite schools. What about the 99% That's what I'm talking about.

  112. I am beginning to think that many of the proposals put forth by Democratic candidates address the symptoms of critical issues but not the causes. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems that policies implemented by past and current Republican administrations create the problems, and rather than fundamentally fix them Democrats are trying to patch them with a band aid while Republicans stick their heads in the sand and claim there is nothing wrong. For me, some basic questions are: Why is a college education so prohibitively expensive when compared to 30 years ago? (Are tax policies to blame? Diverting public money from public schools to charter schools? States diverting or changing funding sources?) Why is medical care much more expensive now and unaffordable for many people? (Is it the cost of new technology? The way tax dollars support research? Patent laws?) Why isn’t environmental pollution being addressed? (Is it the gutting of environment regulations? Tax breaks and incentives bestowed on oil companies?) Why do so many Americans get stuck in debt and can’t afford housing? (Is it income inequality due to Republican income and corporate tax changes? Is it the union busting started by Regan? It is the federal minimum wage increase that has been blocked by Republicans?) Rather than accept the causes of these problems as a given, we need to reverse the clock and rescind many of the laws that created them in the first place.

  113. I've been a community college teacher for over 30 years. I still believe in the mission of the community college movement as a uniquely American answer to many problems that confound other countries: lack of access to higher ed except for the elite, lack of a second chance or restart in life, the lack of a means for lower achieving students to transfer to a university, etc. The mission has become muddled by inept administrators, many of whom have never taught, who want to foist an array of ill-conceived, expensive guidances upon faculty, making the colleges top heavy and expensive. I don't think making it free is the solution; people don't value as much things that are just given to them. I teach ESL to immigrants, who pay only $25 in tuition. Most take advantage of this and really try, but there is a notable percentage who attend only sporadically, don't turn in work, fail repeatedly. Perhaps if they had a little more "skin in the game" they would try harder. (Though to be fair, many are juggling jobs, families, and school). As a counter point, I also teach international students whose parents pay an unsubsidized tuition of thousands of dollars. Many of these students exhibit the same behavior--laziness, lack of interest, repeated failure. This is really just a different face of the same problem. For these children of wealthy parents, college IS free. We need GI Bill-like programs, national service, scholarships, grants, and low but not free tuition.

  114. I don’t generally disagree with you but be careful throwing broad judgements into your analysis, as in “people don’t value what they get for free”. When it comes to elite education you are plain wrong. Wether in Europe: Cambridge University, École Polytechnique or École Normale Supérieure are essentially rivals for Stanford or Harvard and are more or less free. And I can tell you these institutions are very respected. But in the US too: rich kids don’t pay themselves for access to Ivy League universities. Their parents or their trust fund does. Nobody disrespect these schools.

  115. Germany has largely free college education but: No highly paid football coaches, fancy dorms or nice campus settings Only ~ 1/3 of the eligible people go, the rest are sent to skilled training or other vocational schools. You have to really compete to get to a University People don't value anything that they get for free, offering a college education to anyone who wants it is a waste of money. Some people need to be steered to skilled trades or other vocations that don't require a college education. The most logical thing to do is to address the cost situation at the current educational set up now. 50 years ago it was much more affordable than it is now. Start by eliminating all of the athletic programs at any state univerity with a direction in the name.

  116. I recently traveled to Denmark, where I talked to a variety of people about the differences between their country and the U.S. They all agreed that one of the key components of their success is that all members of society contribute in the form of taxes, and all citizens benefit from social programs. This allows for social cohesion. Otherwise, you have the resentment which comes from one group feeling like another is benefiting at its expense. Interestingly, this was why many of them were unhappy about increasing immigration to their country. Rightly or wrongly, they felt that immigrants were taking advantage of the system.

  117. My father could afford to send his nine children to college. He had three degrees and a comfortable salary and he and my mother were very thrifty. They had to be thrifty, with nine children. But Dad made one stipulation: that I had to go a Catholic college. And even then, there were a couple colleges that were off the table because Dad thought they were too secular. So, as a 17-year-old high school senior who was in honors classes and in the top ten percent of her class, if I didn't want to be burdened with debt, I had to choose amongst a few Catholic colleges. Even if I had applied to go to a state university, they would have asked to see my father's tax returns and I would have been given very little or no financial aid. Mayor Pete - is that fair?

  118. By opening schools to all, regardless of income, it becomes like public education. The truly wealthy will send their kids to private schools anyway, where they will pay tuition. Makes free education part of citizenship, not a welfare program for the have nots.

  119. We act as if tuition free college is some wild plan imported from Mars. How quickly we forget that only a few decades ago there were free tuition colleges and many that charged only a nominal fee. In the early 1960's one could go from junior college to graduate school in the California university system for about $200 a semester. The University of Wisconsin was accessible for similars costs. Most notably, the City College of New York (later the City University of New York, CUNY) was founded as a "free academy" and was tuition free up until the early 1970's. So as far as tuition free college is concerned, we've "been there, done that." Doing it again is simply recognizing education as a social investment that produces multiple dividends to society as a whole A CUNY study showed that for every dollar spent subsidizing education the city got back four or five times as much in increased tax revenue on the increased income that comes with a degree. In todays world where college education means the difference between economic opportunity and economic stagnation, free tuition makes even more sense. And on income testing, Mayor Pete is wrong. We don't have different rates for most public services, like freeway tolls, bus fares or recycling fees. The place for income differentiation is in a progressive tax system, not college tuition fees.

  120. As a retired professor from Stony Brook University, one of New York State's top-tier public education institutions, the old principle that public higher education should be free for those who pay taxes in a state still holds. We have a progressive income tax system where the wealthy pay more so why should they be singled out? It makes no sense except for Mayor Pete to draw another line between him and the progressive Democrats. Pete, as a graduate of an elite private university, Harvard [Disclosure: I'm a Yale grad.], is out of touch on this issue. Public universities have been underfunded for decades by both Democratic and Republican governors including Andrew Cuomo and his late father Mario. we don't need to add an income quota to admission standards that are already under attack on other grounds. It's time to fully fund public higher education, and as they do in Europe, make it free to all would qualify on academic, not income, grounds.

  121. It is not true that “The reason why people aren’t going to college is because not everybody can afford to go to college.” For some that is true but for many, they do not want to go to college. They would rather learn a trade, something that's often done through non-traditional educational structures like internships and journeyman training. Further, the US higher-educational model is heretofore designed to allow everyone to start (to go to some college or university somewhere) and then to fail. Not everyone is suited, interested, or motivated to go to college. One must ask what is the point of making higher education easily available to the masses? If it's a technically trained workforce you want, there are better more cost effective ways to achieve it.

  122. Two things to think about. 1) What's the cost of creating and maintaining the system required to decided who makes enough or not enough to get free tuition. Will it be based on yearly income, value of assets.... etc? Once we factor in that cost, is it still cheaper to keep millionaires out? 2) Is education a human right? If it is, does that entail it should be free for everyone?

  123. I do wonder sometimes if Bernie and Liz think these things through before promising free stuff for everybody. We already tax back a number of 'universal' benefits because we don't believe the 'rich' should benefit from them. Guess what woke folks - we are already doing it.

  124. It's disingenuous for Mayor Pete to imply a populist stance in his criticism of Sanders and Warren's plans. Pete's argument is not in any way about sticking up for those who don't want to go to college - it's about maintaining roadblocks. Mayor Pete is committed to the elite remaining elite. Full stop. That's his game.

  125. One of the objectionable features about New York's "Excelsior" program is that there is an income limit. As someone whose family is very slightly over that income limit, I'd like to let Mr. Buttigieg know that we are not millionaires, and that college tuition is going to hit our finances like Hurricane Sandy. More broadly: we're not talking about Harvard. The harm from income disparity does not come from the fact that Joe's family makes 500 times what Bob's family does. Rather, it comes from the fact that Joe's family moves in circles that are entirely separate from Bob's. Bob can't afford health insurance, so every time his children are sick, he faces a wrenching decision that no one in Joe's circle has ever faced. With this in mind, if scions of billionaire families wanted to go to a public college and mingle with those attempting to climb the socioeconomic ladder, they would be more exposed to the trials and tribulations of those not born in the billionaire class. Rather than giving billionaires another handout, it would in fact result in (some) billionaires voluntarily surrendering their privilege, and approaching the world like the rest of us.

  126. If the feds raise taxes on wealth then Mayor Pete’s idea is moot. They’re already paying that way under Warren’s overall plan.

  127. Pete Buttigieg would have far more credibility on his position that he doesn’t want the millionaires and billionaires kids to be funded for a social good if he weren’t taking their money and advocating for positions that benefit them. The Pete Buttigieg of April who said Republicans would tar the Democrats as socialists no matter what they did is not the Pete Buttigieg of December who uses a Republican talking point to falsely attack his own party on deficits. What’s changed since? Pete Buttigieg used to release the names of his bundlers in Q1 and he has stopped doing that since. Also, Pete’s climate advisor served in the fossil fuel industry, his national policy director is a Goldman Sachs alum and Mark Zuckerberg has been advising Pete on hiring decisions (and God knows what else). Pete needs to get transparent about his bundlers and open his large dollar donor events to the press so there is transparency on why his positions are evolving from what they were a few months earlier, other than for political opportunism. Sanders and Warren fund college by taxing the rich. It’s a fiscally responsible proposal - they don’t bear gifts to the rich under the guise of fake populism.

  128. Bernard and Warren's plan to use our tax dollars to pay for the college costs of the super-rich is an example of how blind they are. I don't want to pay for some millionaire kid's education. Let them pay; they can well afford it. Likewise, I want to keep my private healthcare insurance. So do 150 million other Americans. Anyone who tells us that we must surrender it will not only lose the midwest but the general election.

  129. @Simon Sez Congress crafts and passes healthcare legislation. What we have now is on a crash and burn trajectory. Changes are coming, in so many areas. The question is, will we get ahead of them, or allow ourselves to be steamrolled? Healthcare should not be for profit. There are many examples of arrangements that are both more effective and cost-effective than ours. We should not be afraid to learn from the experience of others.

  130. @Simon Sez The super rich aren't going to public schools.

  131. With such a me-first logic there is no way you can truly be a Democrat. Medicare for all basically will pass if there is enough of a collective sense of fraternity and looking beyond one circumstance. As an aside I have yet to meet anyone who says they like their health insurance. You really love copay and deductible?

  132. If you want to understand the degree to which the candidates and journalists have greatly underestimated the administrative and ethical dilemma that issues like free healthcare or free tuition entail, here is a great example from the article text: .......That’s because low-income students are likelier than high-income students to attend two-year colleges, and also because with need-based financial aid, they pay less tuition on average than high-income students..... I love how nobody is paying attention to the ridiculous nature of these cost estimates. They assume that orphan Annie will continue to take out the $10,000 in a student loan and $15,000 in a 20-hour a week work study to reduce the burden on the government. Meanwhile, the millionaire's child that had $0 in financial need under the FAFSA form (therefore, not qualifying for the student work study or a subsidized loan) will get the entire tab paid for by the US taxpayer and assume none of the assistance obligations. Moreover, where does a University of Michigan or University of Virginia get their $20,000 a student (average) in assistance to provide their students????-- from donors who suddenly have to ask themselves, why should I donate my income to a university to pay toward students while others just rely on the government now picking up the tab. The whole system breaks down. Anyone who thinks that a new Fed program just has to "make up the difference" has failed Life 101.

  133. so now we're expected to not only pay for wealthy peoples' kids to go to college but also those who spend "their" tuition on "studying" in europe or elsewhere overseas. give me a break.

  134. I was neutral on Pete Buttigieg but I now think of him as an entitled white privileged kid who’s never actually done anything in his life to reduce inequality and who has been obsessed since his birth about politics. What, if anything, does he actually stand for, other than another 4 or 8 years of Clinton or Obama like presidencies, the kind that built up inequalities too and brought us Trump, and turned away working class from the Democratic Party? Elizabeth Warren knows what she is talking about here: she had to find solutions in her own life to find affordable childcare while studying for degrees with very little money, she actually suffered the plight of what we today call working class stress. But mostly I resent Pete argument that Warren and Sanders are elitist and helping billionaires. As in, really, billionaires are sending their kids to state or public university? Really? They are not advocation paying into private learning institutions here, it’s pretty controlled. What on earth has Buttigieg actually ever done for working class? I don’t really support Biden either but his argument is intellectually sound: free community college. I would have understood that argument.

  135. Anything free is not of value. Too many kids using tax payer help who do not have the ability. Make the system more fair. Prosecute the for profit on line snakes. Start in community colleges. The price should be fair to those who can succeed but not free. We are not all intellectually equal!

  136. Tuition isn’t the same as food stamps. Social democracies work in Europe because they benefit everyone. 150k isn’t the same in San Francisco as Omaha. AOC is absolutely right.

  137. @Nadera Most of the U.S. electorate don't view themselves as being born in the wrong country or strive to catch up with their "betters" across the sea. The biggest argument for Sanders' point of view is a cringeworthy Europhilia that Pete rightfully identifies as a turn-off for voters.

  138. @Nadera Social democracies don't provide free college education for all citizens, only the top students go.

  139. @Hugh G Sorry did I miss the part where Warren & Sanders said everyone should be admitted to college regardless of qualifications?

  140. In the 60s I went to the City College of NewYork. Free. Books and assorted goodies were the only things I paid for. More Nobel laureates have graduated from CCNY than any other public college in the United States. How did they manage the fine faculty? The payroll? The general administration? There are no miracles. There is only competence. I’m for community college for everyone free. College admission discounted for CC graduates, and free college for those with high high school grades.

  141. @David J I also graduated from public colleges in California in 1970. It was almost free. It was certainly affordable for a student with a minimum wage part-time job and a free bedroom with Mom and Dad. I do wish people would stop acting like this has never been done before.

  142. @David J Finally common sense on this issue. It was done in NY before and it is currently being done here in Santa Barbara. #1 Community College in the country is Santa Barbara Community College. It is FREE for our residents. After completing a two year degree or trade program, students have the option to transfer to our state university UCSB which is highly affordable. It is a viable program and it works. It is not based off of income limits. Community college should be free and seen as an extension of public school. The high price of college is greatly attributed to inflated salaries for faculty and sports coaches. States, such as CA and MI, have exceptional state universities, that are affordable.

  143. @David J, I ,too, graduated from City College (in 1955). I and most of my friends at the time had no other choice. It was a great long-term investment for the country, as over the years we paid far more in taxes than if we had not gone to college.

  144. Pete is not using “populist” rhetoric. He does not identify millionaires as complicit in college being unaffordable or call to make college less affordable to them. He’s just implying that college affordability isn’t relevant to them to illustrate the “common sense” nature of targeting college affordability.

  145. No single candidate will decide this issue by mandate. If there's legislative support, a bill will be proposed and negotiated. I don't get these arrows being fired by candidates (and their supporters) at one another. At this point, no one has final say. The most common question in organizations these days is "What's the right number?" That's the system, that's politics. These fights over fine points at this point among the Democrats are ugly and destructive, and they need to stop. We are our own worst enemy.

  146. @Chris Late . . .exactly! All these plans and such will all have to be adjusted, argued over and scrapped. Look at how long the Obama administration had to mess around with the health care plan, and it got a work over, because it did indeed have some problems. All this attention to plans seems to be a digression from what I think is the real issue: Who will be an ethical leader who can unite the country around making this a better, stronger country where we work out problems together and make compromises for the better good of the largest groups of people?

  147. @mouseone Why are you both acting like A. Democrats aren't suppose to debate each other in a primary (just accept we all can't be friends in politics and stop trying) and B. That Obama didn't go out of his way to work with the GOP. It was his fault for thinking the GOP would not gut medicare. Pete and Liz would do the same.

  148. The Sanders/Warren plan for “free” college tuition for all is just more welfare for the rich. Period.

  149. Free college for every student!! Of course!! Right after they get their guaranteed, automatic high school diplomas. Who cares if they can’t read or add 2+2, discriminating against them would signify that they’re not equal. OMG!! Sorry, but there has to be a mechanism that selects those who can succeed in college from those who will simply waste everyone’s money. Whatever the mechanism is, it should aid those who deserve aid.

  150. @stevevelo That is what we have no more or less. If you deserve aid you get something, if you have good test scores and you shop around. The issue is that the base prices are outrageously expensive. The cost has to be attacked first, throwing more money at the problem only makes it worse and more expensive. The medical industry is a prime example.

  151. @Hugh G - don’t disagree, but WHY are costs so outrageously high??

  152. @stevevel You're right, of course! Students will have to apply for acceptance to college, submitting their high school grades, etc. just as they do now. If, and only if, they are accepted, then their tuition will be free.

  153. If you want the best and brightest for America then America needs educational opportunities for every American, not just the best and brightest rich Americans. If your poor and a genius there are tremendous hurtles for you to make America great and the richest country in the world suffers because of it. Yes the top 1% poor smart kids get scholarships and are falsely brought up as examples that anyone can do it. But the bottom 99% are falsely labeled as lazy. Make America Great Again like the socialist program the GI bill and make College trade schools free to the children of richest country in the world

  154. Butigieg is making a fake argument. The mega-rich don't send their kids to pubic universities. Means testing would probably cost more to administer than it saves.

  155. @McGloin This. Surprised so few are talking about it. Having to arbitrate membership would in and of itself be a huge cost. One big way to eliminate the bureaucracy that so many decry is to offer universal programs that don't require deciding who's in and who's out.

  156. The funny thing about Bernie and Liz Warren they have both been paid by the student debt problem. By far the most egregious recipient of Student debt cash is Bernie Sanders via his wife and Burlington College where only 17% ever matriculated but almost everyone left with 35k in student debt. Ironic that Bernie has demanded a student debt jubilee, and a demand that the tax payers payoff the debts that flowed to his summer home and his children's bought and paid for homes. Jane Sanders used the student loan business like her own personal checking account. Lliz Warren made 13 million feeding off the student loan business. Do either of these candidate s want to repay the lucre they collected from desperate students ? I highly doubt it. Ask Bernie to donate to charity and he will laugh in your face and lecture you about how he doesn't believe in charity.

  157. Have any of the candidates said what happens to all the money saved in 529 plans if their free-college-tuition plans pass? Lots of people have detrimentally relied on the existence of those plans to save for their kids' college because they've been told, repeatedly, that college costs will continue to out-pace inflation in the coming decades. Seems to me parents who have done this should be permitted to convert those funds to Roth IRAs (or something similar) if college suddenly becomes free. Also, has anyone looked at what will happen to the small private colleges that are already teetering on the edge of non-existence if these plans pass? What happens to the people who work for those colleges? Will the public college systems grow enough to absorb them?

  158. All this talk about 'means testing'. What about academic qualifications? Subsidies/full payment should be based on achieved levels of performance otherwise a lot of money will be tossed away as those who can't 'make the grade' drop out. And, being someone who lives in the NY Metro area, who ever said $150,000 was a lot of money to earn and then have to pay for the average public college education (which I understand can cost $60,000 and more)? There would need to be a regional sliding scale. Once again, a politician is inventing a 'talking point' to get attention without proper vetting.

  159. This is, of course, a non-issue since millionaires generally don’t send their children to public universities, but it is illustrative of a crucial aspect of elite thinking. The corporate media only entertains the notion of class consciousness when it pertains to the wealthy. When tax increases on wealth are proposed, it’s denigrated as “soaking the rich”. But the right of the wealthy to avail themselves of the social programs that their politicians try to cut at every opportunity must be vigorously defended.

  160. What should be done is force the universities with HUGE endowments to use this money and reduce costs significantly. Either through tax code or other regulations we can not allow universities sitting on billions of dollars and increase tuition costs year over year.

  161. For years we've heard industries opine that the US doesn't have the trained work force they need to fill the vacancies in their businesses. Isn't it in our national interest to provide an educated workforce? Let the government pay for college and trade schools. It's for our benefit as a country in the 21st century.

  162. Free college?!? How about free trade school? We need people with skills. The labor shortage is in HVAC, electrical, mechanics and graduates get immediate employment opportunities. Big miss from the Dems to focus on college - as if that guarantees a job. Lol.

  163. In the same breath Buttigieg talks about university being "affordable" for everyone, while his opponents want it to be "free" for the wealthy. "Affordable" and "Free" are very different words , and the vast majority of Americans shutter when McKinsey- billionaire pawns like Buttigieg use the term in regards to a necessary public service. Buttigieg is grandstanding on this like everything else. Deep down I dont believe he really cares about anything but power. His "Douglas Plan" is a similar cringe worthy joke.

  164. If you think we shouldn’t pay for rich kids’ education, shouldn’t we also make them pay for kindergarten through high school?! Education is a public good and should be free for all. The simple solution is to tax accordingly.

  165. I pay over around $1200 a semester (plus hundreds in books) for my son to attend a Community College. We are doing it this way because it is less expensive than the 4 year, and we can transfer credits over when he exhausts the classes at his current school and moves over to a 4 year University to finish up his bachelors. I was a single mom through much of my older son's college years and he worked through college to help pay. He'll graduate from a University this month, but it will leave him in about $35,000 of debt. This is after I paid thousands in tuition, and he applied all the Pell grant money he could get. It this how you think our children can get ahead? Give us a break. If we want to see our country educated and successful, we need to do something about this. I'm sorry, but the argument that people wouldn't appreciate money to help pay for education is absurd.

  166. We put away $4k per year, per child in a 529 for 15 years. That is $8k after taxes every year for 2 children. It takes $12k to get that $8k. Each child now has about $90k now. You would think that would have covered all the bases. It does not. That will barely cover 3 years of in-state tuition/room/board/fees. At $160k a year, a family needs to put away 7% of their gross income every year to cover 75% of in-state tuition. The child still leaves with $30k in debt (good-bye house down payment for 10 years) So I ask, how can doing everything right (i.e. saving a large percentage for college) still leave a well earning family, short on tuition? Should we have saved more? How can anyone earning 45k a year send their child to college? Worthy children of poor families have no chance. Colleges have become black holes for money. Rather than throwing money blindly at them (via tuition subsidies) maybe colleges should rein in their spending on things not related to learning. More commuting to college and less living on campus. UConn wants $1k per month for a room that houses 2 people and is the size of a prison cell. Replete with concrete walls and cockroaches. The units were built in the 1940's. I lived in one. It cost $125 per month in 1978. Nothing has changed but the price. If college is as essential today as a high school diploma was in the 50's, then we should find a way to minimize that cost as much as possible. For everyone.

  167. Look, I’m all for upper middle class and wealthy families to pay their fair share but come on. How can you expect people to pay more into a system that they don’t get to share the benefits from? In the end, if those people are so rich then they’ll send their kids to private school anyway. If they decide to send them to public school then they should get they same benefits as everyone else.

  168. It has to be universal. The number of families making over 150,000 is not large enough to make much difference except to create a perception of unfairness. The program must apply to everyone regardless of income.

  169. As someone who was a member of the last tuition free graduating class at Brooklyn College I can tell you that my classmates came from a wide variety of ethnic and economic backgrounds. While some were from upper middle class professional families (doctors, lawyers etc.) most had parents who were teachers, cops, office workers, etc and some came from poor families from the city's worst neighborhoods. The one group who was not represented as far as I know were the children of millionaires who tended then as now to go to the elite private schools. Had some bigshot Wall Street type decided to send his kids to CUNY however I see no reason why they should have had to pay tuition. Their family paid taxes to support the school after all. When someone pays for something that they can't take advantage of it creates resentment. If universal education beyond secondary school is essential (and by that I include trade school and apprenticeship programs) for someone to live a decent life and for our country to compete in the world market then we should as a society foot the bill.

  170. I’m a great believer in the Law of Unintended Consequences. By making college free, do we risk devaluing the product? If I have to pay something, I value it more than if it’s handed to me on a platter. If students don’t have some skin in the game, it will not have the perceived value to anyone.

  171. @CEH So on that basis we should charge for K-12? And all roads are toll roads? And you pay the police and fire departments every time you pick up the phone? And I guess in Europe nobody values higher education? Where do we Americans get these preposterous ideas of ours?

  172. @jrd I’ve read a lot of thoughtful comments on this story and as a result, I’m coming around to the position of free public college for everyone. It was pointed out by another reader that excluding groups breeds resentment and opposition. Prime example is SNAP benefits. Social Security, for example, is a program which benefits everyone and it has universal support. For this to work, maybe free college for all who want it is the way to go. However I still believe in the Law of Unintended Consequences.

  173. @CEH The answer to your question is "yes"

  174. I don't know why the candidates aren't focusing more on Community Colleges. First of all Mr. Buttigieg is right when he says not everyone chooses to go to college. I would add or is suited for college, but everyone could benefit from vocational training and two year certificate programs. If we made two year programs affordable people could get job training or get their gut courses out of the way without it costing a small fortune. It would take an investment in the community college system but I would rather see that money spent in local economies than funneled into the so called top tier schools. Speaking of fortunes: while an income limit may or may not be a good idea, $150k is way too low. That may be a king's ransom in South Bend but here in the Bay Area not so much. Good luck to you if you're trying to raise and educate kids on $150k around here.

  175. If a person is not ready after high school, and the government should aid post high school, then community colleges, technical training, even apprentice work should be subsidized along with four year colleges. That and income limits have the same idea: avoid limiting government aid to people destined for elite status regardless.

  176. I'm not the biggest fan of either Sanders or Warren but in this case they are right. College is an extension of high school. Public colleges should be free for all. You want to go to a private college? Do it on your nickel. That said, this issue will be decided by the respective state legislatures. The feds can influence this by assisting with public college tuition in those states where it's not free but this raises other issues regarding unequal treatment of the various states. As for Buttigieg, his tenure with McKinsey which he won't discuss leaves us in the dark as to his real thoughts, but McKinsey's orientation is around productivity and cost savings. Paying public college tuition, even in the case of middle class families, can be a challenge to afford without student loans which put young people under the yoke of crushing debt.

  177. It is outrageously unfair and regressive to have general tax dollars supporting institutions whose primary purpose is to turn out graduates with higher earning power than the general public. Those graduates get 90% of the benefit of that education; they should be paying for at least 90% of the cost. How to do that fairly and without burdensome debt? Let's look to the UK, Australia, and to a pilot program at Purdue University. Students sign a contract that pledges a set fraction of their income above a lower limit for a set number of years after completion of studies. At Purdue the fraction of income and the number of years depends on the major, because different majors earn different amounts on average, so if you choose Art History you'll have to pay a bigger fraction for longer than you do if you're a Chemical Engineer (which is fair, as long as the system is transparent). The upper middle class are not entitled to free college for their kids. Nobody should be. College is tremendously lucrative to graduates, but it is expensive and does represent an investment of time and money. By signing a contract upon entry, students will be aware of what that investment is. Those same contracts will be an incentive for colleges to cut costs, reduce dropouts, and for students to choose good public schools rather than pricey private social clubs as the place to earn their degrees. Public tax dollars should be for the poor and the sick, not those on the path to privilege.

  178. Prior to the Reagan administration, four-year public college tuition was affordable to most middle-class students and their families. But the Reagan administration led and encouraged an effort in the states to do away with most tax-supplemented higher education incentives in this country. IMO, this led to much of the polarizing income-inequality problems we have today. It seems that now only wealthy people (or their wealthy parents) can now afford to pay the higher tuition for a four-year college degree, or students go into crippling debt with student loans.

  179. I don’t buy the idea of “free” college. Reduce the cost based on need, okay. But when people don’t have skin in the game, they don’t properly value what they are getting. And not everyone should, nor needs to, go to college. There are many people in “the trades” doing quite well, sometimes better than “college-educated” folk. Future electricians, plumbers, mechanics, hairstylists, chefs...they don’t need college to succeed, but they do require training to gain the skills needed for these jobs. Why shouldn’t they also receive “free” or discounted tuition for the type of educational programs they need?

  180. First, note that Buttigieg uses a right wing think tank, the Urban Institute to back up his arguments. that well to do families would benefit more than middle class and poorer families. (That of course would be true if you use the current incomes of families sending children to college!) Second, note that at least in Warren's case we are talking about free tuition for public universities. Buttiegieg, backed up by Wall Street funding in effect endorses a system reflecting the same basic inequalities where the really well off 250K + families send their kids to universities, leaving millions of middle class families stuck with rising tuitions to fend for themselves. And who today can seriously argue that post high school education shouldn't be a universal right when the income gap between a high school vs 4 year college degree is nearly 20k/year (many sources). How do we pay for it? With Warrens's about time claw back 2% of the trillions the super rich have robbed the nations in tax avoidance AND the rising productivity from more well educated people. (Remember in 2016 Trump told us he loves the poorly educated.)

  181. This issue is a prime example of why Pete Buttigieg is doing so well: He's undercutting Warren/Sanders by staking a more viable and, importantly, popular position. This is why the knives are out for him. Many commenters have noted that "the kids of millionaires don't go to state school." This is disingenuous or naive. Having a net worth of 1 million dollars does not equate with fantastic wealth, but it does connote ability to pay. I went to a state university and there were PLENTY of students whose parents had a net worth of at least 1M. Kids of millionaires most definitely attend state schools. And they or their parents should pay for it, not the rest of us.

  182. Mayor Pete understands reasonable approaches that won’t alienate. That’s why he is the best Democratic candidate and best alternative to President Trump.

  183. College is ridiculously expensive and I can certainly see a case for reducing the cost of going to college, but college should not be free for anybody (unless they have earned merit scholarships that cover the entire cost.) People appreciate things more when it is not outright given to them. Plus, I do not see how revenue from millionaires and billionaires alone would raise enough money to pay for everyone to go to college free. And even if it did raise enough money, is it even moral for someone to get a total free ride just because they are not a millionaire or a billionaire? I don't think so.

  184. Make trade school education and updates, for tech changes, free also. Taxes should pay for this and the better off will pay a lot more-maybe even some tech people who strike it rich.

  185. Why should college be free for anyone? You have to have a legitimate basis for that. If a college education is a fundamental right (which I don't think it is ) than it should be provided for everyone. If you can create classes of people who are excluded from access to such rights than every group who is currently disfavored can be targeted. How about free for everyone but: smokers, football players, registered Republicans, smart Asians, students who come from metropolitan areas of more than 5 million people, etc.

  186. We need doctors—and more doctors. We don’t need more sociology majors. This doesn’t mean Sociology majors and Creative writing majors don’t have value. It just means it would be foolish to require taxpayers to have to pay to educate them. We should pay for what we need, not what we want.

  187. College is not for everyone. I think that everyone should have a bit of skin in the game. The current debt levels that students are taking on are ridiculous. But requiring everyone to pay a few thousand dollars a year for college is not unreasonable. That is not an unfair amount of debt to have people take on, and the amount can ramp up very gradually so that the wealthy still aren't paying a lot, but are paying a bit more (say a cap of $10,000 a year). Readers of the NY Times are by nature highly educated. But there are countless good people in America who don't want or need college, so the amount that they are subsidizing those who do want college should be controlled. A small contribution like the one I suggested would do this and make sure that those who are going to college are truly motivated to be there, rather than just effectively getting welfare and delaying becoming an adult.

  188. Not sure I favor free tuition for all, but I will say that a ceiling based on income is unfair to coastal Americans. A Midwesterner making $149,000 is much more well-off than a Californian making $151,000.

  189. How about ‘free trades school’ for every one? Learning a trade is a guarantee of financial success. Ever tries to get something added or changed at home? Contractors make a killing. Electricians, plumbers, etc, we cannot live without them. And they make a fine profit too. But Liberal Arts college, Gender Studies, Greek Philosophy, etc, those should never be free. These studies do not result in a livable paycheck or an education any one would consider when you attempt to get a job, therefore you do these as a choice, not as a tool to improve yourself. There is no reason why these waste of time and resources should be free. An education should be the tool you get to improve your lot in life, people need help with that. Other than that, other schools that do not result in you making a living from your education should be completely optional, and not something the rest of us get taxed for so you can go discover your confused sexuality on my dime. That money can be spent in things that benefit us all, not just Liberal Art college professors.

  190. Buttigieg's plan is terrible. My household would be just barely frozen out by it and we are by no means wealthy. So first of all it's unfair, and second of all you will not have broad-based support for it. I would support a plan for everyone but if it's a plan that specifically leaves my family out in the cold, no thanks. This is the very reason why Social Security and Medicare apply to everyone, among other similar types of plans. You won't have a strong consensus in favor when picking the haves and have-nots within it. Frankly I think Buttigieg is smart enough to know this and his position is in fact a crass political move. It's stuff like this that makes me wonder if he is trustworthy--obvious political talents aside.

  191. An income limit or sliding scale is a vote killer to me. I don’t even have a kid anymore. It should be based on aptitude. Maybe everyone gets first two years free. That would include trade schools and Jr colleges.

  192. The idea that on 150k you can easily pay for college is ludicrous. And god forbid you have more than one kid in college at the same time. We either have a society that functions properly or we do not.

  193. @Dan B As a person who makes more than $150K and has two children in college, I agree. I know that wages are stagnated and that I am much better off than many folks, but I still have massive grad school loans that I am paying off, and tuition and housing for two children (in public colleges), is about $70k per year.

  194. @Dan B They're talking about community or public colleges though. Aren't those a LOT cheaper, and therefore more within reach of $150K income? Of course private institutions at $60K a year (or more now?) are impossible to pay for with $150K income.

  195. @JoPi Yes, they're less than $60K. But the cost of attendance at flagship public colleges in many states is around $30K, even for in-state residents. Look it up. So let's say at best, after taxes the $150K person takes home $90k, paying a third of that to college is a massive hit, and then if you have a senior and a freshman? Look out.

  196. Buttigieg either doesn't know that means-tested programs get little sustained political support, or he's using that fact to make for a weak program because, like lots of center-right Democrats, he actually hates the idea. It's the inverse of the right's American Puritanism -- that unbearable conviction that somebody, somewhere, might be eating an unearned steak provided by "my tax dollars", which is enough to ruin any right-thinking person's life, apparently. Real liberals, meanwhile, do not develop gastric disorders at the prospect of a millionaire's daughter going to South Jersey State Agricultural College for free.

  197. @jrd I'm sorry but parents who make 250k per year have no business geting a taxpayer-financed bailout package.

  198. Buttigieg’s claim Sanders’ plan is “elitist” falsely attempts to make his own much narrower plan look more populist; in contrast, Biden’s claim Sanders “goes too far” is an honest perspective. Education after high school is essential for middle class jobs. Sanders’ plan applies to public trade schools and community colleges, used by the working class and veterans. Taxes on wealth will cover much of the cost. Covering professional class and wealthy kids, even though most go to private schools, makes education a universal right, not a privilege. Buttigieg made a name for himself honestly admitting in the first debate he had made mistakes with the black community in South Bend. Now that he smells victory, he’s taking the low road. When voters catch him in a lie one time, his honest, young, fresh-face mask will fall and he’ll dive in the polls.

  199. This is where Buttlieg loses me. If you’re going to raise my taxes, significantly by the way, let me participate along with everyone else in the shared resources. It’s what’s fair.

  200. Although I agree with Buttigieg that not all want to go to college, and not all are college material, I still agree that public college should be an extension of our tax payer funded primary schooling. Just because it is offered as an extension doesn't mean every child in America will either want to go to college or qualify to go to college. We fall in the income category where tuition would be government provided yet I think it is grossly unfair to limit this by income. Most higher income Americans don't send their children to public colleges but they do pay taxes like the rest of us. Limiting the government tuition coverage to public schools limits the cost of the education. If parents prefer their child attend elitist Ivy League colleges then the parents should fund that tuition. It is basically no different than sending one's child to a private primary school. No one keeps their children from attending primary public school, no town charges the wealthy tuition for their child to attend primary public schools. Why shouldn't a wealthier family benefit from their tax dollars if they or their child choose to attend a public college? This pitting the marginally financially comfortable against the rest is just contributing to the bitter divisions we're seeing in our country. Another point is that $150K may be a lot in South Bend, IN but it's not in high cost of living states like MA, NJ, NY, CT, CA, etc. where $150K is just basic middle class. It isn't a one size fits all.

  201. It is striking that none of the candidates proposing free public higher education schemes are considering the likely impact of such schemes on private liberal arts colleges and universities. In Iowa, e.g., where such institutions are a sizable part of the higher education landscape, most such institutions would likely be devastated. And along with them the communities in which they are located. It is irresponsible to ignore this aspect of the problem.

  202. I have been teaching in the university system on both coasts for 30 years and one thing I've seen more often than you would imagine are students taking on costly and life-impacting loans only to waste their time in college. Make it free and that will compound. College prep and admission is seriously in need of over-haul. Many students wander into college that shouldn't have made the choice to come. Universities don't run on air. They need tuition to keep going so they are only too have to have I would say 30 to 40% of these rudder-less students running up a huge college loan for themselves that they have no idea will haunt them into they 40's. Free community colleges make sense. Free technical and trade schools make sense. Scholarships that are earned by will and high achievement make sense. Free college for all? I don't get it.

  203. @Florence Agreed. I for one would not want students in my class who have paid nothing for the experience. If something is free, it is worth about that much. People complain about K-12 public education and how poor they are. We want to add Universities to that? Enlisting in the army was my ticket to college and when I arrived I took it very seriously. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

  204. @Florence I don't understand your logic. Free college for all would eliminate students taking on massive debt that haunts them into their 40's. That's the point. Just because you think they are supposedly "rudder-less" does not mean that they don't deserve the chance to attend higher education.

  205. @Liz Students often attend college because it's the thing to do, or that their friends are going, or because "they're interested in...", or they don't know what else to do and they've been told college is a place to find out. I respect true vocation. The others need to finds themselves in another way, and not use (and abuse, I might add) the environment of higher education to do that.

  206. Why is this issue being presented front and center? There's not much use for a college education when our world is on the verge of one climate disaster after another. Do any of these candidates understand the snowball effect where things actually go from bad to extremely bad in a short time? There is not much future for anyone in a world that is not predictable anymore. Lets concentrate on the most serious issue of our time instead of trying to figure out every possible niche to get a few more votes.

  207. @Bella To solve climate change we need more scientists and engineers, and we'll need every scrap of talent we can get. Removing barriers to college and maximizing our available talent is going to be critical in defeating climate change.

  208. @Bella As a parent, if I did not feel so much panic to be able to save for kids' higher education, I think I could have lived a much more green life rather than pinching every penny. Making higher education accessible to all relieves many expenses that come with living in a society where so many people are anxious about the future. Maybe it would even ease the pressure of standardized testing. The current method of financing higher education and the very expensive application process is not good for students and probably worse for the planet too.

  209. @Bella You say that as if it’s impossible for us to concentrate on more than one issue at a time. We can.

  210. Not everyone needs or wants a college degree. I’d be willing to allow tax dollars to pay for trade schools. We need more electricians, welders and plumbers, not programmers or philosophy majors.

  211. @J Marie Bernie's plan covers trade schools.

  212. Exactly, @J Marie. The skilled trades pay well and have far more utilitarian value for the larger society than the millions of non-specific bachelor degrees churned out every year. When Buttigieg says, "College is not for everybody,” he is not only telling the truth but he is also appealing to tens of millions of non-college grads -- many of whom also voted for DJT. I've taught hundreds of kids who have gone on to the most elite schools and I've also taught kids who have used the word "torture" to describe what a four year college program would mean to them. It's this latter group that needs government attention and if you're trying to win over the preponderance of the non-college crowd who voted for Trump, then appeals to that group should be first on your list. By shooting far left, Warren and Sanders are funneling primary voters and also general election votes directly to the surviving moderates ... Mayor Pete is the best of that lot and gaining momentum b/c the socialist Democrats have either misread the tea leaves or they are more concerned about spouting an ideology than winning an election. Yes, Pete is young and lacking much life experience, but when it comes to political savvy he's either the wise old sage or the far left is incredibly self destructive. Take your pick.

  213. @J Marie Many community colleges gear their curriculums to training trade peoples and in NY State, we have BOCES that trains electricians, welders and plumbers. Community colleges are the new trade schools.

  214. I do agree with Buttigieg's idea that millionaires can pay for their own college, but his cutoff too low. Depending on the cost of living in your area, a combined income of $150,000 isn't a family that can easily send their kids to college, especially if they have more than one. He should probably raise his cutoffs by another 50-100 grand, IMO.

  215. Free college for all would only devalue the value of the college degree. It would not make people stop wanting to get a leg up on one another, after all, everyone else is their competition, and this would lead to graduate school being the new college, which - in order to make up some of the revenue lost by colleges- would be made to be far more expensive than it is now, resulting in a tinier slice of the population being able to afford the leg up that was once college and is now a graduate degree. African Americans and poor people who get scholarships for athletics would suffer. No longer would we be able to get a cheaper means of attaining elite status through excellence in extra-curricular. Furthermore, the potential earnings of those who would require more schooling would decrease due to the more years they would have to spend in schooling for the same leg up they would have received in the current system. If college is free we would all have to wait longer for that leg up, and many of us would never attain this leg up due to the closure of the alternative routes that were once presented to minorities like myself. All three candidates are disappointing on this issue and show a very superficial level of thinking and abstraction in their approach. None have experience solving problems, only talking about bad solutions. Bloomberg is an entrepreneur. That is what entrepreneurs do. Forget these cosmetic semantics. Let’s get a problem solver, realist and pragmatist in the wh

  216. @nickgregor If your argument were right, free public schools would have destroyed our economy long ago.

  217. If everyone pays there fair share of taxes, everyone should have access.

  218. If there's an income limit then it's a welfare program. Give it to everyone, it's becomes a right. Hard truth is that if you can afford a private school, that's what you'll do, if anything for the benefit of a smaller class size. Not to worry Pete, the public colleges won't be overrun by millionaires' kids in search of a cheap deal.