President Barack Obama took his State of the Union on the road yesterday, telling college students in Boise, ID that he will make two years of college “free” and “universal.” What he did not tell them, however, is that he wants to tax 529 savings plans to pay for those two free years of community college–which are already free anyway for poor students, under federal grants.
Essentially, Obama proposes to take money away from some middle-class students to subsidize others’ education.
Anytime a politician promises something for “free,” you know he is lying. But this Obama lie is particularly egregious. As the Wall Street Journal notes, the 529 plan–introduced as part of the Bush tax cuts–has allowed millions of middle-class American families to invest in their children’s education.
Few of these families can afford to invest in the market themselves, but through their 529 plans, their children have been able to take advantage of Wall Street’s prosperity.
The administration counters that its new proposed education tax credits would help make up the shortfall–i.e. would be compensation for what the government taxes away from the gains in 529 accounts, or would somehow compete with those gains.
That’s a ludicrous–and risky–bet against the stock market over the long term. And it will discourage savings and investment, when the right solution to rising college costs is to tackle the student-loan racket the federal government runs.
What Obama is proposing is the equivalent of Obamacare for education: taxing away plans people like, to replace them with inferior, government-run plans the left would prefer people (except themselves) to choose. It punishes responsible parents and high-achieving students.
Closing loopholes makes sense–but only in the context of broader reform.
For now, Obama is proposing to take away kids’ college savings–to give them “free” education. And they cheer. Wise up, kids.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak