We Should Immediately End Nationalized Funding of Student Tuition
“Well, I guess the Communists know that the old people living in America today are not going to make the revolution. They are not the people who count. They count on the young people, and those who control the youth are the people who control the future of this country.”
—Former Communist Bella V. Dodd, before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, 19531/
In 2010, President Obama nationalized student tuition loans by making the government the “sole provider” of government-backed college tuition loans. By doing so, Obama effectively eliminated banks as the conduit of choice for government-backed tuition-loan financing. Similarly, when Obama pushed for the government to make Obamacare the “single-payer” a nationalized health care system, the obvious consequence would be to eliminate employer-sponsored and insurance company-provided health insurance from the market.
On March 30, 2010, Obama signed the Health Care and Education Act charging the U.S. Department of Education to make 100 percent of all government-funded college loans, effective on July 1 of that year. In 2010, student loan debt totaled $760 billion. In 2022, the total outstanding student loan debt will more than double to a record $1.7 trillion. In 2017, a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York concluded that “more federal aid to students enables colleges to raise tuition more.” Raising U.S. higher education tuition costs to a level middle-class families cannot afford is not a problem as long as the government makes the taxpayer pay the price.
Meanwhile, colleges and universities have utilized the increased tuition revenue to flourish into today’s bastion of critical-theory-driven neo-Marxist political correctness. In 2018, Mitchell Langbert, an associate professor at Brooklyn College, published a study concluding that the political affiliations of faculty members at 51 of the 66 liberal-arts colleges ranked by U.S. News in 2017 were decidedly left-leaning. Langbert found that Democrats dominate most faculties, with none of the 51 colleges having on the faculty more Republicans than Democrats, and over a third having no Republican faculty.
As one-time communist Bella Dodd made clear in her 1953 HUAC testimony, revolution starts by indoctrinating the youth. Obama appears to have understood the operative principle here: namely, what the government funds, the government controls. The Supreme Court memorialized this principle in Rust v. Sullivan, 500 U.S. 173 (1991). In Rust v. Sullivan, an abortion case, the Supreme Court held organizations receiving federal grants under the Public Health Service Act could not refuse to support abortion as a method of family planning, despite First Amendment free-speech protections. But the corollary to the precept that “What the Government Funds, the Government Controls” is this: “Absent the Trillions of Taxpayer Dollars the Government Wants to Spend, Student Tuition Loan Programs Wither and Die.”
In a 2016 paper entitled “Student Loans as a Pressure on U.S. Education,” Elizabeth Popp Berman and Abby Stivers, University at Albany, SUNY, made the point succinctly. “A large majority of U.S. student loans are made or guaranteed by the federal government, and without federal backing, the student loan system would collapse,” they wrote. As all Marxist-trained radicals understand, keeping the youth indoctrination system of the U.S. higher education system in the hands of a federal bureaucracy is essential. The system functioning as a form of ideological reprogramming is critical to the Gramsci-style Maoist cultural revolution’s goal of destroying the fundamental values inherent in American exceptionalism.
Since the student protests against the Vietnam War in the 1960s and ’70s, college students have been able to get degrees in Hispanic Studies, Women’s Studies, and African American studies. The developing theme was that the United States is a racist, imperialist state that has colonized minorities by denying them equal rights.
Today, the Neo-Marxist critical theory classes that dominate higher education have indoctrinated a generation of students into a hate-America agenda. In 2017, the governing board of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) adopted the following theme for their annual conference: “Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization.” Talking points prepared for the ACPA’s meeting included: “Racism and colonization are real, present, enduring, intersectional, and systematic forms of oppression,” and “Advocacy and social justice require us to work to dismantle racism and colonialization in higher education.”
The intolerance of radical leftist students subjects their conservative counterparts to constant allegations that their “offensive speech” is an unacceptable “micro-aggression.” Why? Perhaps the conservative student committed the unforgivable sin of using the wrong pronoun in referring to a person’s “gender identity.” Data compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2021 found exceptionally high unemployment rates among recent college graduates. With some one-third of recent college graduates underemployed, working in jobs that did not require a college degree, we might consider that a “social justice” college degree is inadequate preparation for lucrative employment in an advanced post-industrial society.
Despite Obama’s dramatic increase in student tuition loans, radical socialist Democrats like Rep. Bernie Sanders (Independent, VT), when he campaigned for president in 2020, argued for eliminating existing student debt to provide a free college education for everyone. “I believe that education is the future for this country, and that is why I believe that we must make public colleges and universities tuition-free and eliminate student debt, and we do that by placing a tax on Wall Street,” Sanders said in the first round of the Democratic Debate in Miami, Florida, on June 27, 2019. While President Biden has not endorsed free college for everyone, he has considered forgiving $10,000 of student debt to mobilize the Democratic Party voter base in the upcoming 2022 mid-term elections. How did we come as a nation to this point in American history?
In 1965, Herbert Marcuse, the champion of the radical student protests in the 1960s and ’70s, wrote an essay entitled “Repressive Tolerance.” That essay was seminal to the intolerance of today’s critical theory neo-Marxists dominating higher education campuses in America today. In “Repressive Tolerance,” Marcuse concluded that “the realization of the objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions that are suppressed.”2/
Marcuse argued for a different standard, one of “liberating tolerance.” Marcuse’s new standard required censoring policies, attitudes, opinions, etc., that supported what Marcuse saw as the dominant repressive and alienating nature of advanced industrial societies such as the United States. By this twisted logic, the neo-Marxist accusation of “white privilege” became violently intolerant. After Marcuse, all subjects taught at the university level, including mathematics and the hard sciences, have been politicized as “racist.”
In medical triage, the first principle is to stop the bleeding. So, too, ending the government-funding of student tuition loans will begin the process of killing off the student loan program. Without this funding, higher education institutions will not as quickly indoctrinate future generations of American youth into critical theory neo-Marxist ideology. If we do not cut off the budget now, American exceptionalism will undoubtedly fade among future generations, perhaps beyond recovery.
1/ “Testimony of Bella V. Dodd, June 17, 1953,” Investigation of Communist Activities in the Columbus, Ohio, Area, Hearings Before the Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, Eighty-Third Congress, First Session, June 17 and 18, 1953 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1953), p. 1769.
2/ Herbert Marcuse, “Repressive Tolerance,” in Robert Paul Wolff, Barrington Moore, Jr., and Herbert Marcuse, A Critique of Pure Tolerance (Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press, 1965), pp. 81-117, at p. 81.
Since 2004, Jerome R. Corsi has published 25 books on economics, history, and politics, including two #1 New York Times bestsellers. In 1972, he received his Ph.D. from the Department of Government at Harvard University. He currently resides in New Jersey with his family. His next book, entitled The Truth About Energy, Global Warming, and Climate Change: Exposing Climate Lies in an Age of Disinformation, will be published on June 28, 2022.