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Benefits for All or Just Some? Sanders Student Debt Plan Highlights 2020 Debate Over Universal vs. Means-Tested Programs

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/26/benefits-all-or-just-some-sanders-student-debt-plan-highlights-2020-debate-over

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Means-testimg creates big beaucracies that deny people benefits. Universal is the way to go.


I think Senator Sanders plan is a very intelligent one. Those who claim for disqualifying the rich kids are not really serious about tuition free college. The rich most likely will send their kids to private schools but if they choose to use the tuition free public system they should be encouraged not dissuaded or have to face stupid hurdles. After all all who pay taxes must be allowed to be part of the community.
Free for all is the right way to go.


The question that will be answered after the 2020 election will be:

"Will We the People Win Real Healthcare, or will The Duopoly Make Sure the Insurance Industry Wins the Right To Bleed Americans Drier?"


The other big add to this list should be equitable access to the Justice system. When people with connections like Epstein get a slap on the wrist and kids gloves treatment after having abused Children while poor people go to jail for unpaid traffic tickets , it obvious even Justice is pay for access.


Do we have means tested public high schools?


Rich kids don’t largely take out loans, their families don’t need them. In fact, the rich families often provide the loans that others must pay to them. There are tenured professors with PhD degrees that make more than Warren’s plan would cover that still have massive debt, or at least would still be in debt. I, myself, have fancy degrees and a decent job. With Warren’s plan, I would still owe tens of thousands. It is a means tested half measure and its lack of universality will make it so that an election or two could gut the thing. Universal programs have buy in and bring us all together, which is needed. They too can be gutted, look at what they have done to Medicare and the VA, but it is harder politically than programs targeted to groups that are easy to demonize. I think Bernie’s plan is better. Besides, if we acknowledge that whatever they want could be watered down, is it not better to water down a far more comprehensive plan than one that is already less expansive? Let us say that each plan, or Castro’s even smaller plan, is watered down by 20% after it goes through the meat grinder. Will the end result be better or worse if a compromised plan was the basis for the negotiations than a more expansive plan? The Harvard Business School likes Bernie’s plan.

By the way, his chief economic adviser (Stephanie Kelton) co-published a paper on the macroeconomic impacts of a total student loan cancellation, as well as the mechanisms of how it could be done. It was published last year and is very detailed.


Here is the plan. Kelton is one of the leading experts on MMT economics, was his chief economic adviser in 2016 and is back again. He hired her because of these things. Just saying, Bernie has a Warren type of figure in his campaign, a policy wonk, and she is amazing too. Was published in February of last year. Both plans are better than the status quo, but I again like Bernie’s more and I think it would be an easier sell because of its universal nature.



Free education is available in Europe. In fact even foreigners can get free educations. https://www.scoopwhoop.com/These-10-Countries-Offer-Free-Education-To-International-Students-Time-To-Pack-Your-Bags/ So why all the but this but that? Unless it’s to water it down, confuse people, and drag on forever through the legislative process.
Free education. Period.
Universal Single-Payer Healthcare. Period.


In a way. Since school funding (in most places) is based on property taxes…By your Ability to live in a rich district that can afford to pay…

Right. But they don’t charge tuition based on what your parents earn.


Well OK, but in a way they do because the Property taxes are higher in places where the schools are better. You’ve ‘paid the tuition’ up front.

As I recall, it was the great English philosopher, Eric Idle, who once said, “If you’re going to split hairs, I’m going to piss of.”

Taxes are not tuition.

Ok you can call it that.
And I’ll say that the higher tuition is embedded in how the local higher taxes are structured. The taxes are high in those areas because the better schools are THERE. You’ve paid up front.

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I would tend to agree with the universality argument, but only if wealthy recipients are paying their share for funding these programs through equitable taxation.

You can’t dine and dash on the buffet, then scream about not getting “my piece of the pie”.

It would be funded by a small transaction tax on stocks, bonds, and derivatives…the wealthy make a lot more transactions in those things…e.g. 50% of all U.S. stocks are held by the wealthiest 1% of Americans.

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Martin, I’m speaking to the broader issue of truly progressive
taxation, and effective enforcement of same. No one with immense
wealth is a “self made person”; such obscene accumulation is only
possible through the tools provided by the greater society, and, of
course, by an asocial gaming of the system.

Universality of benefits can only be justified in the context of a
concomitant inclusivity of contribution.

How about we “means-test” our Reps and Senators and award them salaries
based on what they are doing for the people –
and subtract for what they are doing for the corporations?

Presume Bernie will be appearing at debate in Miami tonight?