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There’s no such thing as a free lunch, or free college. But that reality hasn’t stopped Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts from touting her trillion-dollar-plus plan.
Step one of her plan would cancel most or all of the student loan debt carried by nearly 45 million Americans, up to $50,000 per person as long as their household incomes don’t exceed $250,000. This step alone would result in a one-time cost of $640 billion.
Step two is ensuring students don’t accumulate loan debt ever again by making college “free” like K-12 public schools. Officially dubbed the Universal Free College program, the estimated cost of this part of her plan is a jaw-dropping $1.25 trillion over the next 10 years. But never fear: Warren will pay for it by imposing an Ultra-Millionaire Tax on the rich.
There are several flaws in Warren’s free college scheme, starting with the fiction that her proposed tax on “ultra-millionaires” will actually raise enough money to pay for it.
For example, most European countries have ditched their wealth taxes in large part because they generated so little revenue. So, when the free-college coffers come up short, average taxpayers will be stuck making up the balance — a very real possibility, especially since Warren also has vowed to bankroll her $70 billion-a-year “free” Universal Child Care and Early Learning plan with the same Ultra-Millionaire Tax.
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