The economic crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic shows U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) is right about free college.
A 22 April 2021 Washington Post article shows Americans with college degrees have recovered from the pandemic crisis. However, the same article shows Americans without college degrees are still struggling.
For example, four million adults without college degrees who lost jobs in 2020 had not found work in February 2021.In contrast, only 199,000 adults with bachelor’s degrees who lost jobs last year were still seeking work in February 2021.
Similarly, 2.4 million adults over 25 with an associate’s degree who had a job in February 2020 have not returned to work a year later. Finally, the US economy added 916,000 jobs in March 2021 but only 7,000 of those jobs went to people with no college degree.
Community College will not Work
The data is clear, the antidote to unemployment is college degrees, especially bachelor’s degrees. Unfortunately, most of our political leaders ignore the data.
For instance, President Joe Biden (D-Delaware) is proposing a $12 billion investment in community colleges, Forbes reports. Yet, The Post’s data shows people with associate’s degrees (often issued by community colleges) are more apt to be unemployed.
If The Post’s data is correct, Biden’s plan will only partially reduce unemployment. To elaborate, we will spend billions of dollars to offer people degrees that will not help them get jobs.
Free College is the Answer
Hence, the actual answer to unemployment is Bernie Sanders’ free college plan.
Sanders’ College for All Act will eliminate tuition at four-year public colleges, universities, tribal colleges, trade schools, community colleges, and apprenticeship programs for families making under $125,000 a year. A 0.5% sales tax on stock trades, a 0.1% tax on bond trades, and a 0.005% tax on derivative transactions will fund College for All.
Notably, Sanders and US Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) reintroduced the College for All Act on 21 April 2021, CNBC reports. Predictably, Biden and most Congressional Democrats oppose College for All.
Congress no Longer Represents Most Americans
I think the data shows College for All could significantly reduce unemployment in America. Unfortunately, Congress will not consider it.
One reason they will not pass College for All, is that there are few working-class people in Congress. Political consultant Mark Mellman estimates only 2% of members of Congress have no college degrees. In contrast, 67% of Americans lack a college diploma, Mellman writes in The Hill.
Hence, Congress does not represent two-thirds of Americans. Most members of Congress have never experienced the nightmare of job hunting without a college degree.
Moreover, some US Representatives represent wealthy districts where most people have college degrees. Consequently, Congressional Democrats fight to save tax deductions for the rich while ignoring College for All, Matt Taibbi notes.
Therefore, College for All could make Congress more representative of the American people by giving more working-class people the tools for political involvement.
A Permanent Underclass
I think America is creating a permanent underclass of powerless, unemployable, and uneducated people by denying many citizens access to college.
Lack of free college will increase unemployment and make social problems such as drug addiction, poverty, and crime worse. All Americans will be poorer and many Americans will become trapped in poverty because we refuse to listen to Bernie and make college free.