Dennis Prager has done the tedious work of listening to the entirety of the recent Democratic debates and pointing out some of the excesses.

To take one example:

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.: “If billionaires can pay off their yachts, students should be able to pay off their student loans.”

My only response to this statement is to ask, Do most Democrats find that a compelling argument? Do they not realize what a non sequitur it is — and therefore how demagogic?

Billionaires, like non-billionaires, pay off their debts because they do not incur debts they cannot repay, not because they are billionaires. Senator Klobuchar apparently believes that non-billionaires need not pay off their debts. Every Democrat who addressed this issue said American society should repay student debts — which amount to $1.6 trillion. The party of “fairness” thinks it’s fair that every student who repaid his or college debts — and every young American who never went to college — must pay off that debt.

Well, I suppose it depends on what the meaning of “should” is. All people who take out a loan shouldn’t do it unless they think they will be able to pay it off in a timely fashion. So in that sense, of course students should be able to pay off their loans, or they shouldn’t take them on.

But that certainly doesn’t appear to be what Klobuchar—widely touted as one of the more moderate Democratic candidates in 2020—meant. Let’s take a closer look at what she proposed:

…[Y]ou have so many people that are having trouble affording college and having trouble affording their premiums.

So I do get concerned about paying for college for rich kids. I do. But I think my plan is a good one. And my plan would be to, first of all, make community college free and make sure that everyone else besides that top percentile gets help with their education.

My own dad and my sister got their first degrees with community college. There’s many paths to success, as well as certifications.

Secondly, I’d used Pell grants. I’d double them from $6,000 to $12,000 a year and expand it to the number of families that get covered, to families that make up to $100,000.

And then the third thing I would do is make it easier for students to pay off their student loans. Because I can tell you this: If billionaires can pay off their yachts, students should be able to pay off their student loans.

So that’s the complete context of the remark. And it makes no more sense in context than it does as an isolated excerpt, for just the reasons Prager says: billionaires have a lot of money and families who are not particularly rich don’t. And most students aren’t going to get jobs that make them billionaires, either. So many will have trouble paying off their loans.

If simple economics were to rule, no one would make such loans to students unless there was a lot of evidence that they’d be paid off. But that’s not the way student loans actually work.

Note that Klobuchar leaves out one pesky little detail: how will this be paid for? There are a lot of students in the United States who would like to go to community colleges for free, or go to 4-year colleges and qualify for Pell grants more easily.

Here’s more from Klobuchar on the topic, positioning herself as the moderate—which she actually is, but only compared to some of the other 2020 Democratic candidates—because she’s not advocating free four-year college tuition for all.

Klobuchar also makes it clear that she’d like to offer free four-year college for all, but she’s not a “magic genie.” But I still don’t see the details of how her proposals would be paid for, which puts them in “magic genie” territory in my book. Klobuchar does claim that she has found ways to pay for it, but as far as I can tell she doesn’t specify those ways.

Will it be the same way nearly everything else will be paid for, according to the Democrats? Taxing those evil wealthy people, and not just those billionaires with their yachts? And will those people be able to support all the social welfare the Democrats are promising? Or will they react by deciding to stop producing, or by reducing their production, or by going elsewhere?

I’m not really meaning to pick on Klobuchar in particular, who is hardly the worst offender among the Democrats. The point I’m trying to make is that the so-called “moderates” at this point are anything but, and that’s even compared to just one short decade ago.

Remember Joe the Plumber and Obama’s “spread the wealth” remark? In 2008 it was considered by many people to be a somewhat shocking (and revealing) indication of Obama’s socialist propensities, intentions which he had mostly tried to cover up during the campaign. Remarks about “spreading the wealth” were considered something that a candidate couldn’t admit to the American public or that public would be likely to reject that candidate.

But now? What Obama said in 2008, and backtracked from, would be considered mainstream now. That’s how quickly things have changed.

[NOTE: Proposals such as Klobuchar’s and the even more extreme suggestions of some other candidates would have the added benefit to the left of shoring up endangered academic institutions that serve as leftist indoctrination camps. The left needs the colleges, and at this point many colleges need the left to bail them out.]

[Neo is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at the new neo.]


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