Ever since announcing his long-shot presidential candidacy, Bernie Sanders has been lighting fires and taking names, including raising over $1.5 million from over 35,000 people in the first 24 hours of his presidential announcement. Sure, that number is not a drop in the bucket compared to the $2.5 billion Hillary Clinton expects to raise, but Bernie could freaking care less and that’s why so many progressives love him.
Proving once again that he’s indeed a firm believer in upward mobility and economic advancement, Senator Sanders intends to introduce a bill (Republicans will kill it by the time I finish this sentence) that aims to make public college tuition-free in the United States:
We live in a highly competitive global economy and, if our economy is to be strong, we need the best-educated work force in the world. That will not happen if, every year, hundreds of thousands of bright young people cannot afford to go to college, and if millions more leave school deeply in debt, the Vermont senator and presidential candidate said in a statement released Sunday. (Bloomberg)
George Bush famously once said that he wants our children ” learnin’ better,” and there’s really no better way of ensuring they never utter that profoundly botched statement then with tuition-free at public universities. We already know about Germany’s plans to offer free college tuition, which has been extended to Americans.
Countries like Germany, Denmark, Sweden and many more are providing free or inexpensive higher education for their young people, Sanders said in the statement. They understand how important it is to be investing in their youth. We should be doing the same. (Bloomberg)
Back in the heady days of the 1970s, public college could be paid for with a part-time job. However, the fact remains that the cost of public university has skyrocketed over the years. In Arizona, a CNN Money report found that tuition in Arizona has risen by 83.6% since 2008, or $4,734 per student, after adjusting for inflation. Of course Republicans love fighting against higher education reform since it would mean their voting base might actually learn something and no longer vote for them.
With Bernie largely viewed as a the viable Democratic alternative to Hilary, or at least one who can keep her away from the corporate elite as much as possible, the bill could put added pressure on Hillary to take a strong stand on higher education. Hillary has yet to make such a pronouncement, although her campaign manager did use the phrase “debt-free college” when discussing the issues important to young people. So time will certainly tell.
Featured image via Daily Kos