Government Policy Disconnected from Human Beings

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I mentioned this during my regular Tuesday, 2:00 p.m., appearance on John DePetro’s WADK 1540 AM today, but it’s definitely worth a post.  Ponder this, from AP reporter David Klepper’s article on New York State’s new “free tuition” law:

The tuition initiative, which [Democrat New York Governor Andrew] Cuomo said is a national model, covers state college or university tuition for in-state students from families earning $125,000 or less. Students must remain in New York for as many years as they received the benefit. They must repay the money as a loan if they take a job in another state.

“Why should New Yorkers pay for your college education and then you pick up and you move to California?” Cuomo said during a call with state editorial writers. “The concept of investing in you and your education is that you’re going to stay here and be an asset to the state. If you don’t want to stay here, then go to California now, let them pay for your college education.”

Those of us who think this “free tuition” idea is foolish will surely sympathize with the requirement for students to remain in the state for a time, but think about Cuomo’s construction here.  If you’re a student heading from high school to college (or the family advising that student), he expects you not only what college you want to attend, but also what area of study you’re likely to pursue and in what state you’ll find work.

How realistic is that?  It’s as if the policy has been put together with actual people as not even an afterthought.  What we need are policies that give people the flexibility to live their lives.

Under this progressive vision, like the “Life of Julia,” the government promises you Easy Street, provided you stay on the paths that central planners have envisioned for you.  Talk about the “welfare cliff“!  Under the Cuomo scheme, a young New Yorker deciding between an OK job in the Empire State and a huge opportunity elsewhere — even a hop over the boarder into a neighboring state — would have to factor in not only any differences in risk or immediate pay, but also the prospect of adding a student loan to the monthly bills.

How many opportunities to help themselves and the world will the up-coming generations skip for this reason alone?



  • Guest

    In validating a Hawaii Department of Education program that pays for FREE college credit classes in middle and high school I found out where the funding is actually coming from, the Federal Government 7-year grants
    under the “Gear Up Program” with matching state or private funds from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Gear Up Program was signed into law and established under President Bill Clinton.

    I wondered if Rhode Island was taking advantage of the matching grant as Governor Gina Raimond wants to offer all in state students FREE college with no stipulations after they graduate. Rhode Island is receiving “Gear Up Program” funds but has changed the program name to make it sound and look like a State of Rhode Island Program called “The College Crusade of Rhode Island” thereby masking the funding sources which leads to confusion. We are talking about a college program over 16 years old so why is Gina talking about FREE college now?????

    BTW: My wife attended Rhode Island College back in 60s and received a BS degree in Elementary Emotionally Disturbed Education (after observing her class room of children a couple of times, I would never wish one of these children on any parent even my worst enemy and my wife worked
    without an aide) for FREE under Federal college loans which she had to work in a disadvantaged neighborhood elementary school for close to 20 years to payback the loans (if she didn’t teach she was on the payback cash hook for the loan). She also had to pay out of her pocket 100% cost of obtaining a master degree to keep her Rhode Island teaching certificate.

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