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Bernie Sanders Is Right, Now Is the Time for Free College

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/07/16/bernie-sanders-right-now-time-free-college

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In my humble opinion the greatest mistake made by politicians (and so many others) that “any” education, whether lower or upper (college etc) education should be “free” is terrible.
Nothing is “free”.
Promoting education as public, public financed, thru the reality of taxes and the allocation of our gross tax base is key to understanding how “things” are paid for in our system.
Promoting “free” education only cheapens that which we wish to deliver.
Making education a priority in that allocation of taxes and educating the public is key.
Stop saying “free” when involving education.
Nothing is free.


Until this nation learns how to share its wealth, it will cease to be “exceptional”. Within its borders and beyond its borders.


Hope you don’t mind me saying that is a weak, unwarranted attack on Sanders - adapting and selling-out are two very different things - the DP & DNC sold-out and the public beginning with the sellouts in South Carolina supported that sellout, not Bernie - Corona nailed the loss of his candidacy.
disappointment? yes, but sold out? No. He didn’t “leave us” either but is still out there trying to energize people - what they do with it is them “selling out” - the DP and DNC are a hopeless case of collusion, cowardice and complicity. - put the charge where it belongs…


Bernie is and has been right about most all he does and says - perhaps most of all as he said “its not me, its us” - state funded - society funded aka “free” education, Universal NFP Single-Payer insurance, predatory education loan forgiveness (screw the lender scum!), Green New Deal, Climate Change action - all will save the nation and public billions in expense and grow a real “economy” not the wall street banker fraud. - the list of Bernie’s good and necessary ideas issues is very long of what Bernie is right about. His integrity and dedication to the Common Good remain intact!


Really, I thought he lost his bid. Not saying it was fair, but that shouldn’t stop his followers from improving his message.

Bernie has a lot of good ideas, but his actual plans need work.

If you want to argue that the way Bernie or others try to sell Medicare for All by saying that health care should be “free at the point of service” was not optimal for convincing all the US voters we need to overwhelm our corrupt politicians, fine (but I completely disagree with you). But this absolutist statement you make is the type of silly statement I expect from a libertarian (are you?) The word free is used quite often in intelligent discourse (e.g. ~https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/free-health-care-policies). Sorry you don’t like it, but you’ll have to get used to it.


Get use to it, sure if you want to sound like a used car salesman, and if your customers don’t look beyond that slogan. Slogans are not binding.

I am a strong proponent of M4A and I don’t view people who get health care as customers. I have no idea what you are talking about.


What are your reasons for supporting M4A? Using my analogy, you can get a test drive for free too.

Yeah, biden is a corporate banker wall street whore, not the kind of president or leader we need and want . trump is all that and a psychopath, pathological liar, destroyer, corrupt child, racist and killer - guess you are saying biden is worse than trump, and Sanders is worse than them both?
All the charges you make against Bernie are pretty weak jive, like Bernie “not being in it to win it”. Not “calling-out” biden or pelosi or chucky.
There may be two elections here; one to end the existential threat of trump and the republicons, and two, to build a new party right after the election to actually serve the Common Good - to build all the things that make a nation truly strong and I do not mean more obscene military police state fascism.

Criticize those that deserve it and work for the changes that are critically needed, but to focus on Bernie as the evil object we should loath is total divisive BS. Are there no bigger fish to fry and coalition to build to effect serious changes? or do you expect that a new representative party will happen without hard work?
“Team player”? what team do you play for Vlad?

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Sorry, I realize we are talking free college here, so I took a tangent - my point on customers should have been made about students in college - I went to 3 universities (only got a degree from U of M, though I had a lot of fun kind of trying to get a Ph D in the other two) and I don’t like being thought of as a customer by a business that runs advanced schooling either, but it is a different issue than health care.

Why do I support M4A? All the standard reasons:

  1. We can’t have health care tied to employment - that is just stupid.

  2. If everyone had to buy individual insurance plans with no cost sharing among people of marginal income, basically the lower middle class and poor would be under insured and under treated.

  3. Private insurance has caused ever more problems as time goes on - but they are always just in the way for everybody - for well meaning doctors, for patients, and for our political landscape on making rational decisions.

An article in the Hill by a doctor who recently changed his mind (~https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/507348-how-i-changed-my-mind-on-medicare-for-all) covers another important reason - we need as many people as healthy as possible for improving public health in terms of reducing the rate at which pandemics can run through this country.

There are other reasons which I don’t think of as often like improving competitiveness of US companies against companies in countries with Single Payer Health Care.


Ok, I agree it is about education but the larger picture is public services.

Thanks for your response.

I’m with Sierra on the validity of her values. Whether these are tried and true tactics in Political Science terms or the Edward Bernays industrial marketing\PR methodology of selling cigarettes to women as Liberty Torches and selling our elected reps and their corporate-captured policies and legislation is another matter entirely.

Main problem I saw back in the 1980’s when I decided to go back to college at a nationally scaled U.S. State’s Public University system after leaving a Public City Commuter College system that morphed into another nationally scaled State University system following my peer generation’s benefiting from the 1960’s and 70’s sustained activist grass roots push via Open Enrollment and the Social Protest DEMAND to make college affordable (note: not free) for working class who had throughout American history been shut out of the Private Education system and the career boost that came from elite connective networks that flow from campus interactions with comfortable middle class kids and upper class kids whose parents could’ve afforded to send them to Stanford with more family sacrifice than University of California at Berkeley.

For me who was paying my way through and trying to find affordable rooms to rent and Work Study jobs on only a Pell Grant and student loans, I found the whole college campus environment to be frivolous, with many of my younger fellow students who hadn’t yet tried to earn their keep in the workaday world simply biding their time at a “social club” while they figured out which family connection they’d use to get a job or what direction they wanted to take with their studies. Higher Ed was place-keeping for them.

This change in my Cost\Benefit mental ledger felt like many dreams come true. I always wanted the luxury of being in an environment where exchange of ideas wasn’t limited to religiously doctrinal issues and there was a culture that encouraged that sort of intellectual open-ness and encouraged the deepening not just the widening of one’s perspective. I’d have gone into academics if I hadn’t stumbled through Statistics and found from friends who were junior faculty what a petty, vicious and cut-throat career path academia was back in those halcyon days before the Adjunct Bardo took over many young academic workers’ lives as the Neo-Liberal Bid-Net Model took over the already Imperial Campus.

I learned through my own interrogations of faculty from various backgrounds and political dispositions that those life-blood Washington contracts that ironically fed the right-ward lurch to a bi-partisan consensus on SHRINKING BIG GOVERNMENT a la Milton Friedman and the Chicago Boys of Cold War GREED IS GOOD propaganda fame and university accreditation market value system. Federal contract scholars on mostly public university campuses were meant to serve corporate needs and private beneficiaries like trans national mining companies or targeting labor leader students for assassination in non-aligned developing nation-states like Indonesia. Public subsidies paid by tax-payers (who already are the lowest earners since most unpaid taxes, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has quoted the figure of 70% of unpaid taxes are accounted for by the top 1% income and capital gains earners) go disproportionately to support the Private business interests, itself a doctrine of Neo-Liberal E-CONomics.

Disciplines that soak up the federal subsidies go to materially exploitable often extractive industrial programs of Engineering, and the soft engineering of Area Studies, Communications (see especially the decades long text-book with its top-down teaching hierarchy structuring of commercial and so-called state\public Telecomm Systems edited by Wilbur Schramm and titled MASS COMMUNICATIONS as published first in 1949 by the University of Illinois Press), Business, Cyber studies, Finance and Life Sciences. Not so generously subsidized for doling out tax-payer funds were the “pure sciences” which back then included molecular biology where almost all grant applications needed to show some military or cancer curing application or forget about your lab getting funded. Not much Public Interest Support in the way of federal funds went to Chairs or Departments in the Humanities, Political Economy or Marxist Studies, despite the Cold War Red Scare of Commies finding sanctuary on university campus careers.

As a post Watergate and post Carter malaise heading into the soothingly marketed if utterly reactionary Reagan-Bush Morning In America era’s all out war on labor and the gains slowly made over a century that allowed me to get to U.C.-Berkeley as the self-sustaining son of 2 refugee factory workers paying my own way after a few years working administrative office jobs that were enough to let me cover my rent in some pest-infested urban inner city apartments I kept as a north star in my mind the desire to find a way to make a return to college possible.

We as a nation succeeded. When I got up to Berkeley and largely through the good fortune of being spared rent by finding a work-study gig as a janitorial residential care-taker with on premises apartment in a declining Methodist Church complex of three Arts Ministry buildings with chapel and leased-out private high school getting through the next 3 years of U.C.-Berkeley education and the cultural milieu of the city and ferment just before journalism went into total decline in relevance seemed like a dream come true. Even with that advantage and modest cost of course fees rather than the outrageous tuition faced by Public College and University students over the last three decades of piled on debt hang-over to the federal government on student loans (defaults of which do not disappear from one’s credit record after 7 years, they follow the subsidized student to the grave, earlier graves as suicide rates and youthful mortality figures attest) my day jobs which were dreams compared to today’s job market in terms of job security and benefits via union protections also long since gone as are the newspapers I worked for took me nearly a decade to re-pay.

Bay Area rents with rent-control gutted even in civic-minded Berkeley eventually forced me out of state to follow a job offer in PoTown, Ore for a global and TARP bailed-out trans national violator of the lending laws and FAIR HOUSING ACT of 1968. My employer’s execs and their board of directors would not face any criminal charges. Even though they used the tax-payer bail-out in 2008 intended to keep small business lending going and save the rolling up of MAIN STREET, USA by Bush-Cheney-Paulson and then carried through with more QUANTITATIVE EASING by the Larry Summers’ led (as Chief Economic Advisor to get Wall Street back on its off-shored feet) Obama-Biden-Geithner reform presidency of a cabinet filled with Wall Street’s Apex Predators to buy a criminally cited narco-trafficking financial services institution on the east coast named WACHOVIA BANCORP. That got little attention in the U.S. news media, but turned heads in other Finance Centers around the world who noted the INTERPOL criminal investigation into:

All this to say that if Sierra is judged on her statement “Nothing is ‘free’” isolated, then she leaves herself open to criticism. But if she can start a discussion about why we need to face how Public Interest tax-payer subsidies are allocated, especially given the lack of affordability of now necessary for basic economic survival of Public Higher Education and that discussion deepens our public understanding of the real cost of education then some of the high living and corporate pay parity wage structuring by the Private Industry\Public University nexus then some real reforms in budgeting and policy legislation with teeth for enforcement could begin to privilege our Public Interests instead of the Cold War Robber Baron modeling of weaponized propaganda BLOWBACK that our U.S. laws specified were never to be used to target domestic educational or media organizations.

Just so happens that Washington and its Corporate Caliphate clientele were wanting the Soviets and New Mandarins of China and Victorious Commies of Vietnam to play the Global Market Game according to Robber Baron Feudal Lords of Finance rules. We’ve been victimized by our propaganda success and how, in the phrase of Chomsky and Herman who were studying Walter Lippman and the early 20th Century’s newborn PR industry “ideologically service-able” our Mighty Wurlitzer of the Cold War’s weaponized propaganda for consumerism was to the Private Interests and the Corporate Caliphate’s own profit margins and aspirations of concentrating wealth even further.

Mitch Ritter\Paradigm Sifters, Code Shifters and Song Chasers
Lay-Low Studios, Ore-Wa
Media Discussion List

It is utterly ridiculous that $6,000 is considered a bargain basement price for a student. The USA will continue to fall behind the rest of the 1st world countries as long as we place the cost of the education on the backs of students. All of society benefits from an educated population. Business in particular benefits and should, therefore, be paying the cost of educating the workforce from which it benefits.

Your response is not unlike many to others you have demeaned and criticized in an obnoxious manner - a voice of little understanding or nuance, even if some of your comments hold some kernels of truth, like any good propagandist/provocateur or divisive troll - truths most here on CD know.to be accurate without your vapid quips and name-calling; I am amazed so many here fall for your dialogue.

My first response was the shallow and often repeated points of your attacks and total absence of anything positive, or how we may combat the PTB and other true enemies to effect radical change at this particular time - silence on that, preferring instead constant attacks to inflame the rubes that state the obvious, not inform or energize - sure signs of ulterior motive - loud mouth troll vitriol.
My second response was the strong desire to have a personal conversation on how to treat people; utterly pointless in this arena with such a one-trick-pony.
The last is what and who you actually represent and motive - domestic or off-shore provocateur? - the lack of wisdom and attacks for their own sake point to a pro-trump operative, not a voice of any substance worthy respect or attention.

It isn’t that he just sold out, but that he didn’t fight for US, instead he tried to salvage His Political career within the Democratic party, during an existential crisis that none of us are likely to survive (re: climate change). This change impacts his career going forward, as he has now demonstrated that he is unworthy of our trust and support.