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Published On: Tue, Jun 25th, 2019

Bernie Sanders details ‘free college plan,’ to spend trillions to payoff student loans

To maintain his status as the true “Democratic socialist” among the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced Monday morning that he plans to introduce legislation to forgive the student loan debt of around 45 million Americans — a plan which Sanders says will cost upwards of $1.5 trillion.

The plan, titled “The College for All Act” — at a press conference early Monday, adding that Sanders plans to pay for the massive handout with a tax on “Wall Street,” though Sanders and his team revealed only a general outline of the tax plan.

The plan would go on, Sanders said, to include free two- and four-year degrees at public colleges and universities, in case any college-aged student were to miss out on the opportunity to help the federal government acquire more debt.

The plan also features a handful of sub-proposals, according to Vox Media, that operate as separate, though associated, handouts to students.

Sanders is proposing funding streams to states, tribes, and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to allow them to eliminate undergraduate tuition and fees. The bill would also increase spending on work-study programs and build up federal grant programs for low-income students for additional costs related to getting an education, from housing and transportation to buying books.

“This is truly a revolutionary proposal,” Sanders reporters. “In a generation hard hit by the Wall Street crash of 2008, it forgives all student debt and ends the absurdity of sentencing an entire generation to a lifetime of debt for the ‘crime’ of getting a college education.”

Sanders and his co-sponsors, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), claim that the program’s $1.5 trillion price tag could be paid “by a new tax on financial transactions, including a 0.5 percent tax on stock transactions and a 0.1 percent tax on bonds.”

Sanders’ claims fail to take into account the cost of making college free going forward ($1.2 trillion, at least), as well as ongoing relief for those who still insist on taking out student loans (approximately $200 billion).

That brings the cost of Sanders’ plan far closer to $3 trillion than $1.5 trillion.

It also doesn’t take in account the price tag for individuals who may seek compensation for paying off the debt previously.

Brian Reidl points out that there are extraneous economic factors to making college free, as well. An educational institution often supports the industry and survival of an entire town.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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