Saving GET

As Goldy points out, we don’t actually need to save GET. But, much like Social Security, its solvency doesn’t stop critics from worrying about it. I don’t know, perhaps this is just concern trolling, but perhaps it’s legit. Better safe than sorry, so, here’s my plan to save GET for ever:

Free tuition. If a student has the qualifications to get into any of our institutions of higher learning, from the UW to our Community Colleges, they can get in. The state picks up everything up to a bachelor’s degree. We should make sure that money isn’t the thing that keeps people out of college. Ideally I’d say do it for everyone, but at the very least, free tuition for in state students.

Now, I realize that college tuition isn’t cheap for parents, so it won’t be cheap for the state. As much as dedicating a source of funding is usually the worse policy, I think that’s the way to go. You figure out how much it’ll cost to make college free across the state, and then figure out the source of money. That way if there’s a referendum to oppose the taxes, you can say that it is a vote against free college.

I know, I know, lots of people push for a high tuition and high financial aid model that many schools (public and private) have. Still our public schools ought to be that, public. And just as we don’t expect the wealthy to pay for public K-12, we shouldn’t expect them to pay a for public college education (outside of taxes). Surely just like the PTSA for K-12, there will be opportunities for wealthy people to pay more, but it shouldn’t be a requirement. There are some things that the market works great for, but education isn’t one of them.

Getting back to GET, the ostensible point of this post: there will be some people in the program who are out of luck. Parents sending their children to out of state schools who have this as part of their plan to pay tuition. We can figure out a way to accommodate them, at least partially. But for anyone in state, this is just as good of a deal as they would have got anyway.

Winners and losers aside, there is then a pot of money that people paid in. I recommend not spending it. I know, I know, in this economy and with my proposal of a major new spending increase, it’s hard to imagine the legislature not spending it down. But I recommend keeping it in place so that if and when future legislatures decide to increase tuition again, that we can revamp GET with that money.

Comments

  1. 1

    slingshot spews:

    I’m all for it. But as in the German system, we’d have to insist the wealthy pay (that is, their children don’t get a free ride). They’re asked to pay their respective fair share. And since stinginess and greed are still (I know!, how quaint) considered culturally innappropiate (even by the upper crust) it works out pretty well. Check out the current performance of the German economy if in doubt.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The wealthy won’t support this. They’re already getting a free ride on virtually everything, so what benefit would they get from it? The only thing they’ll get out of it is higher taxes. (cough-cough)

  3. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “Surely just like the PTSA for K-12, there will be opportunities for wealthy people to pay more, but it shouldn’t be a requirement.”

    Actually, Carl, I think this concept would work better if we applied it to military spending and wars. We should abolish the taxes that go for fighting wars and finance our wars by voluntary subscription. If you want a war, you pay for it! If no one antes up, then no war! Let the rich bastards who send other people’s children to die in foreign lands and make the rest of us pay for it, while they profiteer and pay nothing, pay for their damn wars themselves! This is also consistent with their ideology that government and taxes should be voluntary.

  4. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    GOPers Propose Raising Health Care Costs

    They won’t admit that, of course, but that’s exactly what they’re proposing in the budget proposal written by teabagger darling Rep. Paul Ryan, who wants to privatize Medicare.

    Yep, instead of paying doctors and hospitals directly, Republicans want to give everyone now under age 55 vouchers to buy health insurance when they turn 65.

    That can’t help but raise the cost of health care and reduce the health services available to future senior citizens, because it will vastly increase the amount of money being siphoned off the top to pay for bloated insurance bureaucracies, inflated CEO salaries, and corporate profits.

    To give you some idea of how big a hit today’s younger workers would take under Ryan’s privatization scheme, Medicare’s A & O costs are about 1/2 of 1% while the private health insurance industry takes about 30% of all our health care dollars — in other words, privatizing the functions now performed by government-run Medicare will cost you 50 to 60 times as much for administrative expenses that soak up money without delivering any health care.

    Once again, as always, Republicans are willing to sacrifice the working and middle class to more profits for the already-rich.

  5. 5

    spews:

    Unfortunately many families with GET will have no place to spend it, as even kids with a 4.0 GPA aren’t able to gain admittance to WA state schools due to the need to cut slots for residents.

  6. 6

    LD spews:

    Completely missing the reasons for tuition going up at 14% per year….I’ll give you a little hint…. U _ _ _ _ S

    Helloooooooooo

  7. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Public workers are getting fed up with Republican attacks on public workers. It’s about time.

    “We make $35,000 a year, and they want to throw stones at public workers,” said Roland Bell, 44, a sanitation worker in Wilmington, Del.

    “This isn’t the career that my mom went into 35 years ago,” said Greta Voit, 27, a high school physics teacher in New Berlin, Wis.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42.....s-careers/

    It sure isn’t. And what it means is, people will be deterred from public careers in the future.

    Republican liars peddle a myth to the gullible and uninformed. This myth is that public workers are lazy, unproductive, highly paid, and enjoy cushy lifetime jobs with fabulous benefits. None of that propaganda screed is true. The lot of most public workers is to be overworked, underpaid, unappreciated, and not infrequently, abused by a public that thinks paying taxes gives them a license to mistreat people who work for public agencies.

    Now, Republicans are trying to cut pay, take away benefits, and deprive public workers of any say about working conditions. Inevitably, this will drive people away from already-unattractive public careers. Which is exactly what Republicans want, because when public services collapse, their contractor cronies will be more than happy to fill the vacuum — at double the cost to taxpayers.

    (Note to moderator: I tried to post this ocmment on the Open Thread but couldn’t; that thread is rejecting my comments for some reason.)

  8. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @6 Tuition is going up because state support for the university from general tax revenues is going down.

  9. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Public support for higher education is only one of the public services we’re going to lose because of our inability to reform this state’s antiquated, Rube-Goldberg, dysfunctional tax system. I’ve been saying for years that nothing is possible without tax reform, and we’re seeing that now — you can’t keep raising the sales tax or otherwise loading more tax burden onto low-income people forever. Until Washington voters regain their senses and show a willingness to tax the two severely undertaxed sectors of our population — big business and wealthy households — we’ll continue losing public services and the quality of life in Washington will continue to degrade. Eventually, it will adversely affect our state’s economy, too, and then the non-taxpaying rich won’t be so rich anymore.

  10. 10

    Steve spews:

    U _ _ _ _ S

    Helloooooooooo

    That’s about the dumbest fucking thing I’ve ever encountered and I’ve been to two hog callings and a county fair.

  11. 11

    Richard Pope spews:

    Carl — your proposal is very impractical and very poorly thought out.

    First of all, there will be a MASSIVE REDUCTION of federal financial aid revenues (especially Pell Grants) to the state higher education system with free tuition.

    A Pell Grant is federal gift financial aid. Students have an entitlement to a Pell Grant, based on family income. The maximum Pell Grant is $5,550 per year for students or families with relatively low income. However, the Pell Grant can only be used on tuition and books.

    Right now, UW and WSU have tuitions of about $8,000 per year for full-time in-state undergraduate students. So a student getting the maximum Pell Grant is able to turn the entire $5,550 per year over to the institution.

    If you make UW and WSU tuition free, the Pell Grant money can only be used for the standard book allowance (based on calculated average costs), which is currently $1,035 per year at UW. So you are basically giving up over $4,500 per year in federal financial aid money in exchange for nothing.

    Secondly, free tuition is an unjustified subsidy to wealthier students and their families. It doesn’t help poorer students at all, since they usually receive enough in grant financial aid (Pell Grants, plus several other grant programs) to make their tuition totally free already.

    Instead, wealthier students and families, who could justifiably afford to pay the entire amount of tuition — will simply be paying NOTHING.

    Likewise, students and families who aren’t that wealthy, but could at least afford to pay SOMETHING will also be paying NOTHING.

    It has been really tough to get the state to provide the relatively inadequate amounts in recent budgets for higher education. Free tuition is obviously a political non-starter. In any event, free tuition would massively squander and waste state moneys, while providing no real benefit to students who actually would have trouble paying tuition in the absence of existing aid programs.

  12. 13

    Michael spews:

    I say fuck the kids, let’s spend the money on tunnels! Tunnel some express lanes under I-5 for traffic that’s just passing though the Puget Sound region. Tunnel though the cascades so we wont have to worry about snow in the pass. And while we’re at it, fuck the ferry system, let’s put 3 or 4 tunnels under Puget Sound.

    Tunnels are the answer, regardless of what the question is.

  13. 15

    spews:

    Richard @10:

    The point of the piece isn’t really the proposal itself (although I do support no tuition for public colleges in principal). It was a look at the other side of the ed boards and legislators demanding we “save” GET but who mostly ignored the rising cost of college and potential legislative tinkering that are the reason GET is in the ostensible trouble it’s in.

  14. 16

    rhp6033 spews:

    Pope @ 10: I think Carl’s proposal is easily adjusted so that the state benefit kicks in after federal grants are exhausted.

    I experienced something similar when I had to take an ride in the fire dept. ambulance almost a couple of years ago. My insurance paid it’s share, but then because of a county levy (Snohomish County) the remainder (deductable & co-pay) was no charge to me.

    Finally, I think your assumption that the poor can get their education fully funded through Pell grants, etc., is a bit dated.

    When my wife and I went to school in the 70′s, she came from a very poor background and recieved enough in BASIC grant to cover her tuition, books, room, and board. But now the Pell Grants only cover a portion of the total expense of attending college.

    The remainder is in student loans, of which the parent is expected to take a portion and the student the larger portion. Of course, over the last decade those student loans were largly privitized, so the days of 3% loans with payments and interest deferred until months after graduation are now long gone. Now student loans carry considerably higher interest rates, and start earning interest immediately, and most even require payments while the student is still attending school.

    The end result is that for a student from a very poor background, their only realistic option is to attend community college for a couple of years, as the Univ. of Washington would be out of reach financially. Then assuming they could get admitted, they would have to race through the last two years of work and try to get out of school before they rack up 100K in loans.

    One further point – when I was in school tuition stopped at the 16 credit level. That meant if you were willing to work your but off, you could get an extra 2 or 4 credits for free, by taking 18 or 20 hours worth of credits each quarter. I don’t believe that is the case now, especially at the U.W. – you pay for each credit hour.

  15. 17

    Michael spews:

    @13
    Every now and again some idiot brings up the idea of building a bridge across the sound that crosses the northern end of Vashon Island. The new I-90 tunnel gets a different set of backers and shows its head about once a decade. While he was running against Patty Murray, George Nethercutt brought up the possibility of capping I-5 and putting a second set of lanes on it.

    I’m just cribbing off of what the Republicans have already said.

  16. 18

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 12: I know you were being sarcastic, but….

    When I first moved out here, I asked a Ferry Engineer why they don’t have tunnels under the Sound, or bridges on top. He patiently explained to me the geography of the region, and how it made tunnels and bridges impractical. I appreciated his willingness to educate a newcomer without being condescending.

    Of course, shortly thereafter the Hood Canal Bridge collapsed in a windstorm, and a freighter knocked out the West Seattle Bridge. Point taken, with emphasis.

  17. 20

    NPR keeps getting PWN3D spews:

    Carl,
    Are you going ask all the college and university staff to take a pay/benefits cut so we can afford this? Have you asked Darwhyle how much of a pay cut he is willing to have to we can have “fee”(LMFAO) college eduation?

    just more pie in the sky BS if you asked me.

    why stop at free college? how about free food, free gas, free house, free lunch,

    fuck it- lets have free EVERYTHING!

    but who’s gonna pay if its “free”? lol

    economics fail.

  18. 21

    Michael spews:

    @19

    Colleges ARE taking huge cuts.

    You seem to want everyone except you to be dirt poor.

  19. 22

    Blue John spews:

    It’s a great idea, but after 30 years of conservative relentless indoctrination that “Greed is Good” and “I got Mine, to hell with you” we cannot get our neighbors to pay for K-12 education for other people’s kids. People just cannot conceive of the good it would do.

  20. 23

    Emperor Max IV spews:

    @20

    quite the opposite…the better off people are actually works better for me.

    I just think some things need to be earned, not given.

    you want a house? earn it
    you want a car? earn it
    you want toys? earn them
    you want to have nice thing? earn them
    you want a college education? earn it

    if you have the grades, almost ANYBODY can get into college, but people dont want to make the sacrifices that it sometimes requires.

    face it, this “the govt owes me free shit” mentality has turned many people into lazy, worthless assholes that mope around thinking that the rest of us “owe” them something for the simple fact we have our shit together.

    Trust me, I have sacrificed a whole hell of a lot to get here, and I will be god damned if someone else is gonna walk up to me and tell me that I owe them “free” anything. fuck that.

    having “free” college will turn the college system into the joke that the primary educational system is in.

    earn it. period.

  21. 24

    Blue John spews:

    @22. I agree with you. the best social program is a job. So what are we going to do about making more well paying jobs to be able to afford homes and educations and toys? Seems your kind is hell bent on getting rid of them in Wisconsin and Michigan and Louisiana and Alabama.

  22. 25

    Emperor Max IV spews:

    @23

    first off, you dont know me or “my type”, so keep your assumptions and stereotypes to yourself.

    and for what its worth, a job is not a “social program”….its a JOB.

    and to answer your question – I good start would be to get manufacturing up and going again. But for that to happen, two things need to be done first:
    1. We have got to control our border. It does nobody any good to get manufacturing restored in this country if it gets torpedoed by illegal aliens undermining the labor rates. Kick them the fuck out – and anybody employing gets jail time. simple.
    2. Its time for tariffs to be placed on goods coming into the country. tariffs on foreign goods will also provide a needed infusion of money for the govt WITHOUT taxing its citizens. it also gives american workers a fighting change against people overseas who work for pennies.

    its a start.

  23. 26

    Blue John spews:

    I agree with you about borders. Along with better enforcement, when we start punishing employers who hire illegals, the demand will dry up and they won’t come here.
    I very much agree with you about tariffs.
    So we agree on two things. We found some common ground.

  24. 28

    Blue John spews:

    @27 Man. that sounds sooo good. But alas, unless our kid is on a sleepover, I don’t go out much. Priorities. Have a second one for me.

  25. 29

    Emperor Max IV spews:

    Well Blue, we may not agree on a lot of stuff, but at least you got good taste in beer.

    I know what you mean about the kids..

  26. 30

    Chris Stefan spews:

    @25
    high tariffs just let the protected industry become complacent and engage in rent-seeking behavior.

    I don’t think tariffs helped the US consumer electronics industry, the auto industry, the textile industry, or really any industry facing foreign competition.

    Besides hourly labor costs aren’t the be all and end-all of manufacturing. Even when paying high wages and benefits sometimes you come out ahead due to higher worker productivity and a better skill set.

    Furthermore those who bemoan how “we don’t make anything in America anymore” fail to realize that even if not a single manufactured good was imported there would be a far lower percentage of the workforce employed in manufacturing than say 30 or 40 years ago. This is mainly due to increased automation and productivity.

    They also ignore things like IT and biotechnology which tend to be very high wage industries as well as producing one heck of a lot of export revenue.

  27. 31

    NPR keeps getting PWN3D spews:

    @30

    the difference between what export and what we import would seem to defeat your arguement on its face.

    Sure, we make some big ticket items- but cmon, they simply do not employ enough people.

    The fact of the matter is that everyday items: TV’s, microwaves, pots and pans, CD players. are ALL made overseas – ALL OF THEM. Even ones owned by US companies, because of cheap labor overseas. period.

    IT?? Biotech? fucking really? are you serious? those are great if you have a lot of education – what do you do about the millions people that dont have those degrees? you know, the people(or class of people) that were working in the factories…and really- a couple hundred thousand IT and tech jobs hardly are a replacement for millions of factory jobs.

    and in case you had not noticed, IT is heading overseas too…

    all this “fair trade” crap that was foisted on us over the last 20 years is the single worst thing ever foisted onto the US citizen.

    US workers and factories simply cannot compete with people making $3 a day in facilities that wouldnt meet any code here in the US.

    fact.

  28. 32

    NPR keeps getting PWN3D spews:

    @30

    the difference between what export and what we import would seem to defeat your arguement on its face.

    Sure, we make some big ticket items- but cmon, they simply do not employ enough people.

    The fact of the matter is that everyday items: TV’s, microwaves, pots and pans, CD players. are ALL made overseas – ALL OF THEM. Even ones owned by US companies, because of cheap labor overseas. period.

    IT?? Biotech? fucking really? are you serious? those are great if you have a lot of education – what do you do about the millions people that dont have those degrees? you know, the people(or class of people) that were working in the factories…and really- a couple hundred thousand IT and tech jobs hardly are a replacement for millions of factory jobs.

    and in case you had not noticed, IT is heading overseas too…

    all this “fair trade” crap that was perpetrated on us over the last 20 years is the single worst thing ever foisted onto the US citizen.

    US workers and factories simply cannot compete with people making $3 a day in facilities that wouldnt meet any code here in the US.

    Ross Perot was EXACTLY right(when it came to NAFTA)…and now we get to deal with shitty ass mexican truckers running around our roads in their POS trucks..putting US truckers out of biz

    when does it end?