The United States created the model that showed the world how to educate their populace. The world came and stole the model from the United States and in the last few decades has improved upon it. It is time for us to steal it back and improve our education outcomes. Almost every other developed nation in the world recognizes that a highly educated population creates the raw material and the environment for a highly successful country. Every year our educational outcomes fall further from the top as our students test below other nations around the world.
It is not our “ideals”, “democracy”, “freedom”, or “constitution” that made us the greatest country in the world. It was the fact that we created the largest, most well educated, and most secure Middle Class that the world had ever seen in all its history. That is what made us the greatest nation the world had ever seen. Now we are ignoring what made us great as we dismantle the Middle Class, taking away its privileges and burdening it with the responsibility of shouldering all the responsibilities while all the privileges go to the 1%.
We can start to return the power back to the American citizens by once again ensuring that all Americans who qualify can receive a higher education that is tuition free. This would include not just a college education but also a trade education. For a successful and smooth running country we also need the carpenters, construction workers, plumbers, electricians, masons, mechanics, and all other tradesmen that perform the necessary tasks and jobs that keep the gears and systems running. The government would provide tuition free education to any public university or college and hopefully this would create an incentive for public universities and colleges to create and implement highly rated and effective trades programs.
I would refinance all student debt through the government at 1% interest rate, whether it was held by students or by their parents. The incredible amount of student debt is an albatross around the neck of our economy. When my generation came out of college we immediately began buying cars, houses, and all the other items that we don’t need but want, that drive our consumer oriented economy. Now, when a student today comes out of college they may spend the next 10, 15, or even 20 years trying to pay off their student debt. Most of which does not go into the local economy, creating economic growth, but rather goes to the banksters who take the money out of the local economy and in many cases may even take it out of the country.
I would also set up a forgiveness program for those working and paying taxes. If a student repaid at least $1000 on their loan I would give them a matching tax credit up to $1000.
Many people ask how would we pay for this program, believing that we cannot afford to do this for our children. I ask instead how can we afford to not do this. The damage we do to our country as we limit and price Americans out of a higher education is not just immediate but also has critical and disastrous long term effects as we lose out to other countries in terms of invention, research, engineering, medicine, and the development of new ideas and social advances. I have a plan that will pay for all of this and more and will have no effect on 90% of Americans.
Here is how we pay for this critical and necessary program to regain and retain our lead in the world for intellectual advancement, contribution, and control of intellectual property. The cost of this program would run between $80 and $130 Billion per year. Here is how I would pay for it. We place a transaction fee of .07% on all financial transactions. This would include commodities, currency, stocks, derivatives, loans, and any other exotic or common financial instruments.
This would be equivalent to a 7 penny fee on $100 of transactions. There would be a citizen exemption equivalent to two times the minimum wage. At the current federal minimum wage of 7.25 that would mean the average American could complete about $20,700 in financial transactions before they would have to pay any fees. This could produce at least $1-2 Billion a day. After covering all higher education cost, that would still leave $120-180 Billion or more to return to the States for K-12 education.