Join Jim and Greg as they get a kick out of New York Democrat Rep. Max Rose posting a six-second ad just to bash deeply unpopular Mayor Bill de Blasio and hope it means Rep. Rose is feeling nervous. They also wade into the supposedly explosive revelations about President Trump’s coronavirus approach in Bob Woodward’s new book. And they fume as our tax dollars help pay for an event calling for an end to capitalism and even the United States itself.
In the second half of our interview with Conservative Partnership Institute Chairman Jim DeMint, the former U.S. senator and co-author of “Conservative: What to Keep,” DeMint explains how conservatives want to help people who are struggling without making them dependent upon government.
He also walks us through a number of conservative policy ideas and innovations to improve our nation, including Education Savings Accounts and converting vehicles to run on natural gas.
Listen to the full podcast as DeMint also tells Greg Corombos why there isn’t much appetite for policy innovation in Congress these days and how people can come together around possible policy solutions in an era when the partisan divide seems wider than ever.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is facing new pressure from special interest groups over her handing of state proposals to arm teachers. Montie Montgomery reports.
Free college. Free tuition. Student loan forgiveness. All of these ideas are being pushed by Democratic presidential candidates, but is what looks like a compassionate effort to help college students escape years or decades of crippling debt really just perpetuating a vicious government cycle?
Many candidates are advocating for free tuition at public universities and community colleges. Recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren put forward a plan to forgive student loan debt as an even greater appeal to young voters.
But some experts see some big problems with that.
“First of all, I want my reparations for the tuition that I paid for my kids,” said Gary Wolfram, a professor of economics and public policy at Hillsdale College in Michigan. “If you’re going to forgive everybody else’s debt, then you’ve got to forgive mine too, right?”
Wolfram says the basic economics of debt forgiveness show the idea to be absurd.
“Why would anyone give someone a loan now. If you were a business firm, why would you loan somebody money for higher education because they’re never going to pay it back. It makes no sense at all. It can’t possibly work,” said Wolfram.
But Wolfram is not just picking apart the proposals of Warren and other Democrats. He says there is a problem with the cost of higher education, but government is the cause of this vicious cycle rather than the solution to it.
“It was the government going out and lending lots of money to people without looking to see if they’re going to be able to pay it off,” said Wolfram, noting Uncle Sam does far less due diligence before handing out money than a bank will do before approving a mortgage application.
“The reason you’ve got skyrocketing tuitions, and therefore more and more loans being taken out, it’s because there’s this cycle of the government providing loans to get people to go to college. Then more people are going to college, and it’s driving up the price of college, which [results in] more loans,” explained Wolfram.
Advocates of greater federal intervention in higher education say “free” tuition will take the soaring costs out of the equation. Wolfram says it will be just the opposite. He says sending virtually every high school graduate to college on the taxpayers’ dime will lead to the government intruding even more.
“Why wouldn’t you charge $200,000 a year for tuition because the government’s paying for it? Then the government’s going to say, ‘Oh my gosh. This is incredibly expensive.’ Then they’ll say tuition’s got to be $10,000 a year.
“That won’t be enough to fund all the increase in teachers, etc, that you’re going to need to have all these kids come in. Then the government’s also going to say, ‘Gee, when we’re doing that, we’re going to tell you what has to be in higher education. Here are the classes that you have to offer.
“So you’re going to end up with the Obamacare of higher education,” said Wolfram.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Wolfram explain how the universal push for four-year colleges is leaving massive labor shortages in skilled trades and steering students away from good careers that might fit them far better than another four years in school. He also reveals his approach to making college more affordable – and it looks a lot like the recruiting of college athletes.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and talk show host Greg Knapp bring you three crazy martinis today. Jim and Greg differ with Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders on the issue of reinstating the voting rights of people with felony records. They also raise some concerns with Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to make public colleges tuition free and forgive $50,000 in student loans for Americans in households earning less than $100,000 a year. Lastly, they discuss Herman Cain’s withdrawal from consideration for a seat at the Federal Reserve.
CNN is under fire for a story this week suggesting Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks to our political discourse today, part because ‘he was a socialist before it was cool,’ a pronouncement that Cold War scholar Dr. Paul Kengor says is a radical departure from what liberals claimed for decades following King’s death and he indicts our education system for anyone thinking socialism is “cool.”
On Monday, in connection with the federal holiday commemorating King’s birthday and his civil rights legacy, CNN’s John Blake wrote a story chronicling three ways that King, “speaks to our time.” The second contention stated that King “was a socialist before it was cool.”
In his piece, Blake cited several known positions that King held, including advocacy for a “universal health care and education, a guaranteed annual income, and the nationalization of some industries,” wrote Blake, noting that King also called for wealth redistribution at times.
Kengor says King’s sentiments on those issues are not new, but he says the left’s willingness to brand King a socialist is a big shift.
“[Blake] said, ‘There was a time in American politics when calling someone a socialist was a slur.’ I would add there was once upon a time in America when if you called Martin Luther King, Jr. a socialist, it was a racial slur. You weren’t allowed to do that,” said Kengor.
Kengor says King’s socialist positions were an issue of fierce debate in the 1980’s during the debate to create a federal holiday in King’s honor. Skeptics of the idea cited their discomfort with some of King’s positions on economic issues, and were roundly condemned as bigots or engaging in McCarthyism.
Since King’s passing, political activists and politicians on both sides of the aisle have suggested that King would support their particular issue. Kengor says the reality is much more complicated. he says on cultural issues, King was rather conservative.
Noting that King talked often about laws being unjust if they violated a person’s conscience, Kengor says he’s pretty confident about where King would line up on some key issues.
“I can’t imagine that he wouldn’t be willing to defend pastors and religious people who want to cite their freedom of religion and freedom of conscience when it comes to begging not to be forced by the state to make a cake for a ceremony that violates their sacred religious beliefs,” said Kengor.
Even on economic issues, Kengor says the King record is mixed.
“I don’t know to what extent we would call him a socialist, because I’ve seen other King statements that aren’t very socialistic. He would definitely be more of a mixed bag in where we would want to place him on which side of the aisle,” said Kengor.
However, Kengor says regardless of where King stood on a variety of economic issues, it is clearly proper to honor the civil rights leader for his leadership and sacrifices for the cause of racial equality.
“We do celebrate him for his racial achievements. That’s really the key point,” said Kengor.
Following the posting of Blake’s story, a Twitter user named Allie Lynn responded by saying, “The Venezuelan people dying because of socialism would probably disagree about their government being ‘cool.'”
Blake then replied saying, “I’m not sure a lot of people would link what’s happening to Venezuela to socialism; in fact everything I’ve read and talking to people from there attributes there collapse to other problems.”
Kengor is appalled, and suggests Blake visit the tomb of the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.
“He can go there and say, ‘You know, sir, what you called twenty-first century socialism, which is even listed at Wikipedia with your name next to it because you coined the frame, it’s not socialism.’ Blake could provide the correctives and explain to the ghost of Chavez and also to the live body of Nicholas Maduro that they’re not actually doing socialism,” said Kengor.
Whether or not Blake was being flippant about socialism being “cool,” many millennials are more favorable towards socialism than capitalism. A majority between ages 18-29 oppose capitalism. A 2016 poll commissioned by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found a third of millennials and 28 percent of the full population thought George W. Bush killed more people than Josef Stalin, who some scholars believe murdered 60-70 million of his own people.
Kengor says students are taught well about the horrors of Nazi Germany and the ten million or more slaughtered in the Holocaust, but he believes our children are done a great disservice by not learning about the murderous trail left behind by communism.
“But that’s nowhere near the number that Stalin killed. It’s nowhere near the number that Mao killed. It’s nowhere near the percentage of his population that Pol Pot killed in Cambodia in four years, and on and on and on. They haven’t learned any of this stuff,” said Kengor.
Kengor blames schools, especially universities for ignoring or distorting the truth. However, he also has a firm message for the parents who send their children to such schools.
“Socialism is enjoying a popular resurgence. It’s very sad. That has to do with our colossal failure in education in this country. And people, if you’re sending your kid to one of these colleges where the kid is coming out a socialist and you’re paying the college to do it, shame on you.. Shame on you,” said Kengor.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley for leading another round of sanctions aimed at North Korea in response to another nuclear test. They also groan as the Democrat running for governor in Virginia implies that voting her him will give kids there a better chance for success and Jim slams any politician who promises that electing them will solve everyone’s problems. And they discuss Jim Carrey’s on-air castigation of New York Fashion Week as meaningless, leading Jim to reveal tales of how the recent National Review cruise shared the ship with a lot of people connected to this superficial event.
Across the country, loud and sometime violent campus protesters are often met by administrators who ultimately give into the demands related to perceived slights on issues ranging from race to gender and sexuality to alleged to hate speech, but one college president is fighting back and says the pursuit of truth – not unanimous political ideology ought to be the goal of higher education.
Oklahoma Wesleyan University President Dr. Everett Piper burst on to the scene in late 2015, when he wrote an open letter to his students and famously explained their campus was not a day care but a university. He is also the author of the forthcoming book, “Not A Day Care: A Coddled Nation is a Crippled Nation.”
Dr. Piper is also speaking up after the latest round of campus unrest, specifically the saga over Ann Coulter’s scheduled appearance at the University of California-Berkeley, an which ultimately never happened. In his column for The Christian Post, Piper unloads on what he sees as an assault on free speech and an abdication of role played by higher education.
“The liberal arts institution was founded some 1,000 years ago, let’s say at Oxford, for what? To educate a free man and a free woman, to educate culture and what it means to enjoy liberty, and liberation, thus the word liberal,” said Piper, in a follow-up interview to his column.
He says that original purpose is now almost recognizable at most schools.
“The classical liberal is someone who stands for freedom, for liberty, and for liberation. What we see today within the American academy is the shutting down of ideas. We see ideological fascism rather than academic freedom,” said Piper.
“The conservative voice is actually more classically liberal because we’re arguing for an open, robust exchange of ideas. Why? Because we can trust truth to judge the debate rather than politics or power,” said Piper.
Piper says the problem has been brewing for many decades, when ideology became more important than truth.
“We’ve taught lousy ideas for decades in the academy and we’re seeing lousy behavior on the campus green and in the campus quad today. These student rebellions, these snowflake rebellions, trigger warnings, microaggressions, and safe spaces are being called for because we’ve taught these kids this intellectual mush and this ideological narcissism and nihilism,” said Piper.
“We hear people say things like, ‘I hate these hateful people. I’m sure that nothing’s sure. I’m absolutely confident there are no absolutes, and I can’t tolerate your intolerance.’ It’s self-refuting at every turn. The reason we see this is because we started teaching this type of nihilism and intellectual relativism and intellectual mush some three, four, five decades ago,” said Piper.
“When you teach good ideas, you get good culture, good kids, good community, good government, good church, etc. When you teach bad ideas, you get the opposite,” he said.
So why aren’t more administrators pushing back?
“I’ll be very blunt here: lack of spine, lack of courage, lack of conviction. They’re more interested in capitulation and compromise. We’re more interested in a conversation than we are in demonstrating conviction and purpose and principle. We don’t seem to have the heart and the soul to engage in the things that are right and just and true,” said Piper.
And he says the administrators are often ideologically in sync with the protesters.
“We call for justice but deny that there is a Judge. We argue that we want tolerance but then act intolerable to anybody we can’t tolerate. Our administrators and our presidents and our professors parrot this pablum. They don’t have the conviction and the spine,” said Piper.
Piper also pushes back hard against the notion that free speech somehow began at Berkeley in the 1960’s. He says the people who believe that are about 2,000 years behind.
“Free speech was not born at Berkeley. It was born at Bethlehem some 2,000 years ago, because without the truth you shall never be set free,” said Piper.
Piper says history shows that removing God and His word from a society never results in freedom because man’s rules then intervene to fill the vacuum. He says true freedom is like playing music or sports in that one has great freedom within certain boundaries.
“You are only set free with the context of truth, judging the activity you want to be free to engage in. When we abandon the concept of truth, you don’t get freedom, you get tyranny. And that’s what you see in the snowflake rebellion in the streets of Berkeley,” said Piper.
He says the very notion of safe spaces misses the point of education.
“Safety is not what good education is about. Goodness is what good education should pursue, but you’ve got to have a measuring rod outside of those things being measured or you can do no measuring, according to C.S. Lewis,” said Piper.
“You have to have the measuring rod of Truth with a capital T, and goodness and justice, and mercy. Those things all come from the Judeo-Christian ethic that our country was founded upon. If we don’t have that ethic any longer, we’re going to see fascism and tyranny and power prevail, rather than live by principles that give us freedom,” said Piper.
His immediate advice is for families to refuse to send their children to colleges that don’t embrace truth.
“Moms and dads, stop sending your kids to these institutions that teach this pablum and send them to places that teach what’s actually objectively right and real and true and good,” said Piper.
By Ryan Brown
College tuition and debt are rising. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that in the 2013 academic year, the average sticker price for a college education rose to $8,893, a $247 increase from 2012.
Additionally, the Institute for College Access and Success reported that the average college student graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2012 had a student loan debt over $29,000—65 percent of an average graduate’s starting salary.
With rising debt numbers, a lot of students are wondering if an education at a top-tier university is really worth the extra debt load.
Anthony LeCounte is a 2011 graduate of Yale College who tells a different story about his Ivy League education. LeCounte graduated with hopes of following the path of his father, a career soldier, and landing a job in the defense sector. In a blog for the Huffington Post, LeCounte says it’s hard to find a job due to increasing cuts in defense spending. Instead, he pursued a series of internships and temporary positions. Not only does he not have a full-time job, but because he had to take out loans to pay for his Yale education, LeCounte also has a lot of debt hanging over his head. He deferred payment of those loans due to unemployment. It’s clear from the title of his blog post, “Turns out my Ivy League education is worth squat,” how LeCounte feels about his time in expensive education.
Delece Smith-Barrow, an education reporter for U.S. News and World Report covering graduate schools, says an expensive education may still be a wise choice.
“It’s better if you have an idea of what you want to do—the career you want to go into—to look at that first, and see which school can offer you what you need,” she said.
She says that certain schools have specializations, and believes that should mean more to a prospective student than a specific ranking.
“Every school is different, and typically every school specializes in certain career paths. If you want to go to law school and specialize in health care law, whether it’s an Ivy League institution or a state school, the offerings at the school can really vary,” said Smith-Barrow.
Specializations aside, however, the fact remains that it seems like many who attend a private, expensive university end up being better off.
Kendel Christensen, a 2013 University of Pennsylvania alum, who’s now working for corporate training startup Self Spark, said that in a perfect world this wouldn’t be the case.
“The information you need to be competent is out there. If it’s all about what you can deliver, what your skills are, what knowledge you have—if it were only about that, I would say stay away from the Ivy League. It is hugely, ridiculously, almost embarrassingly over-priced,” he said.
He notes, though, that the opportunities that can come with a well-known university can often be worth it.
“It’s not just about competency. We live in an era of snap-judgments. People take ten seconds to look at your resume. I kid you not when I hand out my resume the first thing they say is ‘Oh, the University of Pennsylvania!’,” said Christensen.
This doesn’t mean that you should drop whatever you’re doing and apply to an Ivy League school, however. Reyna Gobel, author of CliffsNotes: Graduation Debt and a Forbes contributing writer, cautions against going after a degree just because of the institution’s name.
“You shouldn’t get a car that you’re not really going to drive and that isn’t going to get you to work on time. You should get a car that is practical and reliable and is worth what you’re spending,” she said.
Gobel warns that, besides the name, students need to look at their future career goals and match that with what they’re paying for school.
“If the school is 40,000 a year, you better get a pretty nice job when you get out that’s going to allow you to pay for that,” she said.
So how can you determine if the money you’re putting in is really worth it? That’s where something called an ROI, an abbreviation for Return on Investment, can come into play.
Allie Bidwell, another education reporter for U.S. News and World Report, says that looking at the ROI for a school is a vital step in researching a college education.
“Typically return on investment looks at the costs that students are paying for their college education versus how much they’re making in their jobs after they graduate. It focuses on whether they end up making a profit, coming flat, or losing on their investment,” said Bidwell.
So what’s the school out there with the best ROI? If you thought Harvard you’d be wrong. The best return on investment actually comes from Harvey Mudd College, a private science college in Claremont, California. Tuition at Harvey Mudd will run you a four-year cost of $229,500, but the return on that investment is huge. You’ll ultimately make out with $980,900.
And what’s the worst? Valley Forge Christian College. Four years will cost you over $114,000, and the thirty-year ROI is $-178,000.
At the end of the day, however, a degree is really what you make of it and students should not hesitate to ask questions as they decide which school to attend.
“Call up the places you want to work for and ask them, ‘Will this make a difference if I have a degree from X school?’ Schools can tell you whatever they want, they’re still salespeople. But the place where you want to get employed, those are the people that you should care about,” said Gobel.
As more and more families see college expenses continuing to rise, determining whether the cost of higher education is worth it will become even more important.