John Pence: Millennials be warned -- Democrats’ ‘free college’ won’t lift the burden of student debt

The Era of “Free” as a campaign platform is here, and millennials shouldn’t take the bait. In casting their hooks for the younger vote, the Democrat candidates at the first set of presidential primary debates showcased a platform of political bribery, including a radical push for “free college.”

Next month, I will finish business school. It’s the culmination of 10 years in higher education, which started with a bachelor’s degree, then law school, and now business school—all while working full-time. It’s not a story unique to me— it’s a story shared by millions of students and graduates across our country.

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That’s why I can relate when fellow millennials, Republican and Democrat alike, decry the astronomical costs of higher education. However, the Democrats are overlooking or ignoring the fact that the rapid increase in tuition and other expenses we’ve experienced in recent years has been fueled by Big Government.

For decades, the federal government has enticed students with subsidized, government-backed loans to fund their education, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that this reckless expansion in government-subsidized credit has led to the colossal rise in the cost of college.

Nothing is free, yet Big Government Democrats think we’ll take the bait in 2020. We won’t.

Adjusted for inflation, the cost of college has increased by over 300 percent in the last three decades, resulting in a combined $1.5 trillion of student loan debt. Still, universities continue to waste billions of dollars on amenities you’d only expect at all-inclusive resorts: water park-style lazy rivers, gaming centers, hot tubs, gourmet kitchens, and movie theaters. Meanwhile, crippling student debt is destroying millennials’ ability to pursue the American Dream.

These universities — which employ radical leftist professors and embolden heckling students on their campuses — strategically use administrative resources to enforce and indoctrinate others with their culture of political correctness. Today, a shocking number of public colleges and universities enforce “safe spaces” and “speech zones” that blatantly restrict students’ First Amendment rights in order to prevent them from offending each other. Because sometimes the lazy river is just too hostile, I guess.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see a college hire a Vice President of Rational Spending, or a Chancellor of Vocational Jobs? Unfortunately, that’s not something that mainstream Democrats are ready to accept.

Thankfully, President Trump is steering the ship back on course. He has signed legislation or executive orders supporting career and technical programs, STEM education, and apprenticeships. He has also advocated for simplifying student loan repayment programs and imposing caps on student loan borrowing.

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A good education isn’t about getting a degree just for the sake of it — it’s about investing in a better future. My peers should support President Trump’s agenda, which encourages affordable education that actually prepares students for high-paying jobs in tomorrow’s workforce.

Nothing is free, yet Big Government Democrats think we’ll take the bait in 2020. We won’t.