Friday, August 20, 2004

THE TRUTH ABOUT JOHN KERRY'S COLLEGE PLAN

John Kerry, almost as soon as the primaries were over, set out to campaign on America's College Campuses. His pitch for students: Free college education. While this is more than his opponent, President Bush, has done to reach out to the ubiquitously neglected student voters, there is good reason to believe it is the last note of attention Kerry will give them.

To summarize the plan Kerry was pitching: The burden of college loans should fall on the banks, who are currently profiting too much from issuing these loans and making too much interest from them. Ironically, John Kerry's campaign pitch to college students quickly ended as the bank contributions started rolling. As of this writing, Citigroup is Kerry's Third Biggest Contributor, with nearly a quarter million dollars funding him. Bank of America, who students reading this will know to be a major supplier of student loans, is also among his current top contributors, with over $100,000 paving his potential road to the White House.

But now the let down for students: You're no longer important to John Kerry. He has visited your school, he has shook your hand, and he has eaten in your cafeteria. He promised you a detailed plan on how to provide free college in exchange for a few years of public service. But now that he has other hands to shake, including the CEO of Citibank and Chase Morgan (another major Student Loan provider who has given $116,000 to Kerry so far). All those promises appear to have never even been made. All JohnKerry.com says about college tuition now is:

"As president, John Kerry will offer a fully refundable College Opportunity Tax credit on up to $4,000 of tuition for every year of college and offer aid to states that keep tuitions down. And he will launch a new effort to ensure that all of our workers can get the technical skills and advanced training they need. "
Quite a turn around from "Free college tuition" promises, isn't it?
First, let's look at the numbers. According to CostofCollege.com the average college tuition in a public university for 2003-2004, for in-state students, was $4,694. Deduct Kerry's College Opportunity Tax (COT) and you are only paying $694, which isn't too bad. Unless you are struggling to just find money to eat and your job has been shipped overseas as a result of Kerry's vote on NAFTA. But, figure in that tuition rises an average of 8-10% every year, and by the time you graduate John Kerry's COT just isn't doing what it used to.
And what sort of aid is he going to give states to keep tuition costs down? (In fact, why would that matter at all under his originally proposed Free College Plan?) States keep tuition down by providing money to the schools, which comes from tax money. And where will this tax money come from? From John Kerry's plan to give 99% of corporations a tax break (Wonder if Citigroup & Chase & Bank of America will be among them)? By giving 98% of all Americans a tax break? Where is this money (or this aid) coming from?

John Kerry needs to be honest with the students whose votes he is conning: After 4 years of John Kerry, students will still be poor, still be struggling to finish college, still complaining about perpetually rising college tuition costs. The Senator also needs to realize that some students are not as stupid as the millions of Americans voting for him: We know he will not forget the hundreds of thousands of dollars that the Student-loan banks are giving Kerry to help him "make America stronger at home, respected in the world."

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