Thursday, January 22, 2015

Community College should be almost free again

President Barack Obama laid out his plan for free community college in his State of the Union address.  Photo by Mandel Ngan/Reuters
Are you listening to America, Congress?
As expected, President Obama outlined his proposal to offer two years of free community college tuition for students, first detailed two weeks ago in Tennessee. Or as he put it in the speech, “to lower the cost of community college — to zero.”
Modeled on that state’s guarantee of two years of free community college courses, the plan would provide tuition-free classes for students going to school at least half time who maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher and are making steady progress toward a degree or transferring to a four-year institution.
Forty percent of our college students choose community college,” Mr. Obama said. “Some are young and starting out. Some are older and looking for a better job. Some are veterans and single parents trying to transition back into the job market. Whoever you are, this plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy, without a load of debt.”
Under the proposal, the federal government would cover 75 percent of the average cost of community college. The plan calls for states to pick up the remaining quarter of the tab and also adopt reforms outlined by the White House, including providing more advising and student support services on community college campuses and better aligning high school and college curriculum to reduce the number of students enrolled in remedial courses.   PBS Newshour/The Rundown blog/2015 State of the Union/Kyla Calvert, 1/21/15, the article includes an embedded video, 2:30 minutes.  "Obama:  Community college should be 'as free and universal in America as high school'"
Background.  "In 1947, a group of education leaders recommended to then-President Harry Truman that education should be both universal and free, from kindergarten through the community college level, as a way to improve access and affordability to higher education. 
“It is obvious, that free and universal access to education, in terms of the interest, ability, and need of the student, must be a major goal in American education,” the commission’s report stated. “The time has come to make education through the fourteenth grade available in the same way that high school education is now available.”
.....  Between the 2002-03 and 2011-12 academic years, the average tuition and fees at public, two-year colleges increased by 38.5 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Another breakdown of the increases, from the College Board, shows the average tuition for full-time community college students increased by 29 percent in five years – from 2008-09 to 2013-14. By comparison, average tuition increased by just 4 percent during the prior five years, from 2003-04 to 2008-09."  US News and World Report/Allie Bidwell, 2/7/14. "Free community college not a new idea.  Free community college could increase accesss to job training and education, but experts question its sustainability."
Current local four-year effort.  ....  "Foothill and Skyline were among seven Bay Area campuses and 34 statewide in the running to launch four-year degree programs -- one each -- after the Legislature passed Senate Bill 850, loosening a long-standing restriction on community colleges.
Foothill plans to start a bachelor's degree in dental hygiene in the fall of 2016; Skyline aims to launch a four-year program that term in respiratory therapy. Others throughout the state will prepare students for such fields as industrial automation, emergency services, automotive technology and mortuary science.
Fees for the new degree will likely total $10,500 for all four years, estimates Linda Thor, chancellor of the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District. "You just can't beat that," she said.
By contrast, systemwide fees at the low-cost California State University total about $22,000 over four years.  San Jose Mercury News/Education/Kathy Murphy/1/20/15. "Two Bay Area community colleges to launch four-year degree programs."
Note:  photograph of President Obama by Mandel Nagan/Reuters from the PBS Newshour article above. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

You silly Liberals want everything for free.

How are we going to pay for this?

Oh wait, you forget to mention Obama added 7.5 Trillion in debt since taking office.

Anonymous said...

No education for the masses.
Keep them stupid.
Keep them malleable.
Big business and corrupt politicians are depending on it.

Kathy Meeh said...

909, you forget the country has been trying to recover from the great worldwide recession, the prior administration's war, a Congress without vision except for cutting taxes for billionaires.

College cost used to be "almost nothing", and in a country that values an educated population under a democratic republic, that's how it should be.

Besides, most jobs require higher level skill levels these days. Community colleges provide many of these skilled educations, as well as a basic advanced education.

How are we going to pay for this? Figure it out, the same way Congress used to.

Anonymous said...

Kathy your boy Obama who does no wrong in your book kept Bushes Wars going wayyy to long.

Plus he lied about Gitmo!

Kathy Meeh said...

1033, and "your boy" Bush lied about starting and continuing that elective war. Obama still wants "Gitmo" closed! Possibly others may comment about the need for "almost free tuition" higher education in this country. That would be "almost free" to you too.

Anonymous said...

Stupid is as stupid does.
Accessible and abundant education for all is what made America great.
Don't raise our kids to be fodder.

Anonymous said...

Telling kids who want to go to college to go into debt or forget it and go to work is not a plan for a competitive America. It's a tad elitist for a government of well-educated politicians and bureaucrats to oppose making higher education more available to the masses. Hey Congress, instead of go to war how about go to school? In this country menial jobs historically have gone to recent immigrants and minorities. In 25 years will an under-educated, non-competitive America provide menial labor for the Chinese, Indians, Arabs etc.?

The Local Libertarian said...

Rob Peter to pay Paul.

"Free" anything is distribution of debt at mass scale. That is instead of individual student owning the debt, the debt is now owned by the all the tax payers.

But since the economy can only at a certain percentage, any excess expenditure is funded by what is called deficit financing.

Which is, the US Treasury prints the bonds, the Fed buys them up and releases "new money" into the system. Or the monetary base is increased.

If you consider the demand and supply mechanism, what is more in supply suffers from lowered demand. Therefore, as the monetary base is increased, the value of money is decreased.

Which means your savings, especially those who are subsisting on savings and are not actively earning (50+ and above) will be first to pay for this free education.

Then eventually, the working masses will also pay because the salary they earn is not as valuable as it was before the freebie was made available.

So the working masses will inevitably demand increased wages and in effect increasing the cost of production. You can see this can be downward spiral since increasing wages can lead to increased cost of production which can in turn fuel demand for higher wages.

To break this cycle of inflation, production is outsourced to an overseas destination. Be it China, India, Mexico or which ever other sucker country who will exchange their valuable goods for decreasingly valuable green back backed by an increasingly expensive American production supported by American consumer masses with regressive incomes.

And on and on it goes, until one fine day there emerges a competitor for the American green back (typically gold or some other currency or commodity) which makes it lucrative for the Chinese, Indians and/or Mexicans etc to exchange their hardwork for that currency.

This obviously poses a challenge for the pre-eminence of greenback. Enter "Team USA: World Police"

They will literally decimate/blow competition back to bits all in the name of saving "Our way of Life".

At which point, more free money is released into the system thus instantiating an another inflationary cycle.

Rinse, repeat.

This game will last for as long as USA maintains its military super power status. The day a real challenger emerges and does in a substantial manner. The opponent was USSR. But they didn't last. The next opponent is "supposed" to be China. We'll see.

In the meanwhile we have a country or few to export freedom and democracy to.

If you've read this far, you are a patient, virtuous, thoughtful human being who deserves a cookie.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I stopped reading Local Lib at "distribution of debt". I think in this case we're talking about a distribution of wealth. Intellectual, cultural, societal and, of course, personal wealth. Scary stuff in America.
I'm going to read the rest later.

The Local Libertarian said...

@ 4:03

There hasn't been any real distribution of wealth since about 1913. I can get into the real specifics of it over a breakfast at a restaurant of my choice with your money.

Anyway, with regards to wealth distribution today, if you have been following the recent Oxfam revelations about wealth disparity, here is a link:


If you want to lip gloss mass distribution of debt as if it were mass distribution of wealth, I have to gently but firmly reinforce that you like numerous other Americans suffer from cognitive dissonance as a result of RFD (reality field distortion) effect.

I will also remind you what largely happens in America may be best summarized by an Italian phrase "La guerra dei poveri" (which by the way is also the name of a work by Nuto Revelli -- an Italian author from Piedmont).

Meaning: "The war of the poor"

Do you know what happens when two poor people fight?

Anonymous said...

I want to live in La-La Land along with Kathy: Free education, free healthcare, free Obamaphones, free housing, free meals, etc. Why work? Sounds great. And how do we pay for it, you ask. Kathy's got the answer: "Have Congress figure it out". Brilliant. Absolutely the way to fix Pacifica: spend money and let City Council figure out how to pay for it. And if they can't pay for it, blame it on Bush as Kathy does. (of course this will not be printed by the cowards who run this blog)

Anonymous said...

Mamma Mia Local Lib! You gonna breaka the internet!

Kathy Meeh said...

Libertarian 251, 427, a more skilled and educated population earns higher income; pays higher taxes, particularly while working; and potentially affords a better economic base, with an opportunity to achieve a good life.

"Free money" for a higher public education (which you may consider inflationary) is in reality another across generations "win, win" investment for people living in a better America. Public elementary and secondary education are also "free money", as are many good benefits in any civilized society.

A global blog article about the World Economic Forum and Oxfam research was posted here yesterday: "The least well-off 80% currently own just 5.5%" of the world's wealth. Now those odds are probably deflationary, but not that desirable for humans.

The Local Libertarian said...


Let me ask you a rhetorical/hypothetical question:

Lets assume a society where everybody is educated to be a doctor. Would this society be better off without someone to sew clothes or farm food or build houses?

Wealth is created because of differences in value of labor.

My eggs are more valuable than your metal nails.

And thus the exchange rate is determined based on the relationship between value, demand and supply.

The real problem here is cost of education. The harder question to ask is why is it the cost of education so high that students have to get into debt?

Other wise, creating more social debt to uplift social welfare is like a dog chasing its tail.

You have more welfare and more debt. Somebody takes burden. Its certainly not the rich people regardless of all demagoguery we are subject to every election season.

The velocity of technology in today's society is much more than the speed at which Universities can revise their curriculum. The problem of student debt arises precisely because of this.

The students today are saddled with debt and useless degrees that make them unemployable.

You have good intentions, but I don't think you are asking the right questions.

Your stance will perpetrate the current default of transferring wealth upwards.

Let me also tell you something, I am a college drop out. And I am actually glad I never went to college. It is a qualified waste of time in my opinion.

Kathy Meeh said...

449, as I said "almost free" higher education existed prior-- and that's good for this country. People benefit from education personally and professionally. Sorry, guess you missed that advantage; otherwise, possibly your commentary with regard to my view would be less idiotic and fictionally described (then again maybe not).

Congress didn't have to lower higher wealth capital gains from 28% to 25%, that could be fixed. Gaining an advantage for taking corporate jobs and higher wealth monies out of the country could be fixed. War avoidance in favor of dialog when practical and possible is a fix. Pension equality for all workers (not just government workers) is a retirement fix. Immigration reform could be a social and to some extent a revenue fix. Removing more monied interest from politics would a be a welcome odds on better legislation fix. Like that, its not rocket science.

And BTW I'm glad more people have access to health care, but the enactment of narrow networks, a complicated and cumbersome bureaucracy, and additional expense to the middle-class (businesses and individuals) stinks.

enough is enough said...

Hey Local Lib,
Do you drive on our freeway system, cross bridges, fly in airplanes?
Do you drink our water, eat food purchased from a supermarket, use medicines prescribed by a doctor?
Do you flush a toilet, live and work in structures that don't collapse in earthquakes?
Did you go to public school?
The things that we do for ourselves as a society are not all bad nor do they all portend the great evil of socialism or communism or fascism.
Pooling our resources for comfort, convenience and safety isn't all bad either.
Of course stay alert, hold politicians accountable and participate in our Democracy but how 'bout throttling back your fucking predictable pessimism and paranoia.

The Local Libertarian said...

Where does "OUR" come from?

Unless you mean that "OUR" is the majority and minority be damned?
Are you suggesting that might is right?

And that all moral imperatives are sub-judice to might?

Why are you polluting my earth with your Freeways, trains, planes and wanton unbounded consumption fueled by debt?

What gives you the right to impose a social good?

And what qualifies you to qualify an action as being necessarily beneficial to society?

You do understand that there are limits to how debt a society can handle yes? Because debt is not free. It accrues interest.

And when you borrow so much more that you effectively have to borrow to pay the interest you would be in default (which co-incidentally is the state of affairs in this country today).

And when you are financially bankrupt, the only way to stave off your creditors is by display or exercise of strength. Which goes to my earlier point, are you suggesting that "Might is Right"?

And why are you feeling hostile? Its not good for your mental and physical health.

Kathy Meeh said...

Libertarian 552, the average IQ was 99 in America, last time I checked. Hence, there may be no need to consider the hypothetical question: what if "everybody is educated to be a doctor".

The fact is "the high cost of education", and possible incumbering debt for decades causes some individuals to opt out. That's unfortunate. There is a society and individual benefit to people who are able to contribute their efforts and are trained to process information, ideas and think at a higher level. Exceptions exist from both life experience and intelligence. And, whereas you thought college would be a waste of your time, I thought college was a valuable use of my time.

Libertarian 642, you are not alone. We are all right here with you. And just as Enough 618 says, we all share in the "common good" and the common bad.

Ignorance is blasphemy. said...

Local Lib: "I can get into the real specifics of it" This is code for " I'm more intelligent than you are so let me explain.. "

And yet you say "I am a college drop out. And I am actually glad I never went to college". Well, which is it? Did you go and drop out, or never go at all?

I know who you are, and I remember your raving at me on the street about how evolution is a lie because dinosaur toe nails were hoaxed (!!) And how proud you were to be teaching your kids.

May I humbly suggest you get a passport and see how the world (it's spherical by the way) is. You'd be surprised at how well things work out there.

The Local Libertarian said...


Common "good" or "bad" is not a foregone conclusion based on the face value of the idea or how it makes one feel.

It is composite and rather complex.
Morality is not absolute. And more often than not it is uncomfortable, dreary and not obvious. And it is certainly not a statistical average which drives at expected outcomes.

You still haven't considered the question of inflation. Why is the cost of education high?

You are accepting the fact of higher cost of education and supporting the supposed remedy of free education.

But you are not making a study of the situation that got us here in the first place.

You are dealing with outcomes and prescribing solutions (or supporting) without the consideration of causes.

It means your approach is unscientific and bound to fail.

Improve your revenues before you go spending. Fix taxation. Not all taxes are bad. But unfair taxation is bad for the entire system. We need to fix that before we spout ideas for more expenditure.

The Local Libertarian said...


Or it could be code for "Hey, here are my facts and this is my process of collecting the said facts and here are the conclusions and these are the historical trends of such conclusions having manifested."

I am a college drop out. It went something like this:

I enrolled in college. But never attended any days except for those days on which to attend the exams.

I passed with 2.x GPA. During that time I was supposed to have been attending college, I started a company, sold it and was also a freelance consultant.

I learned nothing of value in school other than earning a piece of paper that everyone seems to want to attribute some subjective value based on their view of the world.

Technically, I suppose I am not a drop out -- since I did actually in a technical sense graduate from the college. But also technically, I never went to college.

No, I am not smarter than anyone else. I am open to being questioned. I deal in facts. And I do change my positions in light of facts.

Now, I also traveled to 3rd world. And here is a perspective for you:

What makes America different?

I can find every technology/service/good that is made in America at a better quality, price around the world. I have worked with some brilliant minds who have had nothing but basic education. I have also worked with highly qualified people from around the world.

So here is the conclusion: There is nothing special about America or Americans.

And, also the fact that the rest of world accept US$ as the preeminent currency of the world is the only reason Americans have the luxury of demanding social welfare at the cost of huge social debt. Yes, social welfare in this country is underwritten by rest of the world.
(Especially now -- since the delta between revenue and expenditure so wide and hopeless that deficit financing is the only way).

The day the world starts to doubt the status of US$ and/or the ability of America to service its debt, I can assure you the hard truth will hit you in the face.

Because there really is nothing special about this country or its citizens.

Kathy Meeh said...

Libertarian 927, now you deal with "facts", while omitting the type of business you started and "freelanced" as a consultant. Some of us can only hope you were working with widgets, not humans.

You claim to have taken college exams without attending classes? That must have been a first in the world of higher education, unless the class or classes were delivered by a computer. Come on, tell us how you're the only student on the planet that only showed up for exams.

Libertarian 552, whereas you bloviate financial strategies as if government should affect predatory business practices-- you degrade other rational view points (including mine), and at the same time refer to "useless degrees that make them (college students) unemployable". SERIOUSLY!

Of course I recall the good 'ol days (last year) when your solution for the poor people of Pacifica was to give them a one-way ticket to Modesto. Nope, no change in your enlightenment since then.

Local Librarian said...

Going to Penn State is pretty much like not going to school.

Anonymous said...

Sly 616.

The Local Libertarian said...

I am not completely without concern for my fellow being.

But doesn't mean that I should help him while pushing him into more debt.

The danger of using debt to solve the problem of debt is circular reasoning.

Simply because I am pointing that out doesn't and shouldn't imply how I feel about fellow beings.

Jesus went to fight with the Pharisees (or the money lenders).
I am no Jesus. But at least consider the case of a supposed man of God who went to fight the money lenders and not the Romans. Think about it.

Regardless of what I think, this free education will be funded. But Economics and reality will catch up.
If not today, some other day.

The Local Libertarian said...


With all due respect, your views are not rational.

They are opportunistic and transactional. This is not unusual. This is the human condition.

If I were in your position, I would probably do the same.

I think you feel hostile towards me. For someone who hasn't met me in person that is a rather strong reaction. I must really bother your sense of propriety. That is not my intent though.

Kathy Meeh said...

Libertarian, 1123. well, let me see: you brag about being a college "drop out", and rant against the worthlessness of education.

"Inflation" is more important to you than the lives of people, as you adversely link higher incomes to education (oh terrible). Then there is that "do not buy on credit" theme from you. Yet, many large purchase are financed in the American economy, (houses, cars, businesses, other improvements, education). The alternative is not getting ahead, not living better, potentially not accumulating wealth while being more at risk to adverse conditions.

You throw-out a lot of big words I think you don't understand, nor do I think you've studied much other than possibly some ideological libertarian funny book. Further, without knowledge, your "you know nothing" slurs at me are beyond STUPID! That's what I think of your asinine comments.

Anonymous said...

Me thinks Local Libertarian is Chris Fogel.

The Local Libertarian said...

you brag about being a college "drop out", and rant against the worthlessness of education.

Irrelevant to topic of discussion.

"Inflation" is more important to you than the lives of people

Inflation is what degrades lives of people. And you are suggesting more inflation. To which I am saying the net effect will be overall degradation.

as you adversely link higher incomes to education (oh terrible)

I gave my example. But you are drawing conclusions to fit your narrative. That said, there is no proof that higher education will lead to higher incomes. However there is proof that higher education hasn’t lead to higher incomes for residents of erstwhile USSR for about 60 or 70 yrs. You must know USSR citizens where among the most highly educated in both professional training and general sciences.
And yet their economy collapsed which led to the unwinding of their entire way of life and country.

Then there is that "do not buy on credit" theme from you. Yet, many large purchase are financed in the American economy, (houses, cars, businesses, other improvements, education).

You can buy on credit if you have way to pay off the debt. It is simply good Economics.
For instance, one can secure their debt with a savings CD, property and or other items. If you borrow debt based on some future expected event (which may or may not transpire) — the debt will go bad and both the debtor and the creditor are worse off for it. Let me give you an example: Housing Crisis 2008.
People borrowed money with the expectation that housing prices will rise — future expected event.
But it turned out that the market didn’t inflate enough before the interest differentials kicked in. It was a disaster from which the economy hasn’t recovered. And everyone suffered because of stupidity and greed of some.

The alternative is not getting ahead, not living better, potentially not accumulating wealth while being more at risk to adverse conditions.

The alternative is savings. Living within your means. Living smartly and prudently and creating wealth.
Savings are the true capital and measure of spending power.

Not your capability to create debt. And especially not if the said debt is created by diktat based on fantasy.

You throw-out a lot of big words I think you don't understand, nor do I think you've studied much other than possibly some ideological libertarian funny book. Further, without knowledge, your "you know nothing" slurs at me are beyond STUPID! That's what I think of your asinine comments.

Ad Hominem. Reductio ad absurdum. Irrelevant.

Fred Flintstone said...

Local Libertarian, I do believe that you are truly the Great Gazoo from the Flintstones. Yes, you are a little green man from the planet zoldar, who appears at inopportune moments to chastise us and call us "dum dums". You sound and talk just like him. I should know....

Chris Fogel said...

"Me thinks Local Libertarian is Chris Fogel."

That's a low blow.

Sorry, but I'm not really big on the Randian worldview of the typical bootstrappy libertarian.

This is mildly entertaining reading, but it's fairly predictable -- get ready for a diatribe on gold currency, fiat money, and the federal reserve system.

Steve Sinai said...

"Me thinks Local Libertarian is Chris Fogel."

Nope. Local Libertarian is a habitual teller of tall tales who moved out of California years ago because he couldn't make it here.

Anonymous said...

What a relief! Thanks, Sinai.

Kathy Meeh said...

Thanks Steve "Blogmaster" Sinai (425) for busting another reprehensible fractured personality characterization from "the not so local troll".

A "stay in school" article has been posted, hopefully to avoid any misinformation and confusion caused by that farcical charade.