NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Watch Out Higher Education, Obama's Coming

September 11, 2013

President Obama has identified yet another sector of the economy in dire need of government help: higher education.  And it seems he wants to use ObamaCare as the model for improving education quality and lowering cost. The one problem is that ObamaCare will do neither, says Merrill Matthews, a resident scholar at the Institute for Policy Innovation.

  • The president wants bureaucrats at the Department of Education to set up a college ranking system and peg federal financial aid to those that follow government guidelines.
  • Those colleges that adhere to the bureaucrats' vision of a good education will get more money, those that don't will get less -- or none at all.

The U.S. higher education system is in dire need of reform. As Professor Richard Vedder has recently argued, college is very expensive and the value proposition (i.e., the prospect of higher earnings compared to the money spent) is increasingly questionable.

But as Vedder points out, the high cost and diminishing returns of college are largely results of federal government involvement, not the lack of it.  And now the president wants to double-down on the government's role. To paraphrase humorist P.J. O'Rourke, you think college is expensive now, wait until Obama tries to make it affordable.

Source: Merrill Matthews, "Does the President Want ObamaCare Death Panels for Higher Education?" Forbes, August 29, 2013.


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