Richard Vedder describes financial aid practices at U.S. colleges and universities as a “stealth tax on savings.” Thanks to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, colleges have access to detailed personal and financial information about the families of aid applicants (“income, debts, alimony payments, number of other dependent children and their age, and so on”) and this information greatly aids price discrimination. Expensive private colleges will tend to grant more aid to households with heavy debt burdens than households that have accumulated savings to pay for college, even if said households earn the same income. Vedder proposes that the federal government abolish FAFSA, and that it make it illegal for colleges and universities to solicit private family-financial information — the only thing colleges could do is consult overall income, as reported by the IRS. It’s a clever idea, and I’d be curious to hear the case against. One could argue that Vedder’s approach is unfair, as households that save really do have a greater ability to pay. But of course that is precisely his point: colleges are exploiting savers, and this in turn may well reduce the number of savers and (perhaps) the amount of aggregate savings. I would be open to one slight tweak in the Vedder approach: perhaps colleges could also inquire as to the number of children in a given household, as this information might also be of interest. I’d be comfortable with a scenario in which the parents of only children were obligated to pay more than the parents of, say, three or four children.
Even after a 7–2 Supreme Court decision protecting Colorado custom baker Jack Phillips from overt religious discrimination, the state is doubling down. It’s participating in and empowering a grotesque campaign of discrimination and harassment that should shock the conscience of sensible ... Read More
‘We are deeply saddened.” So begin the many perfunctory statements of many Catholic bishops today in response to the Pennsylvania grand-jury report detailing how priests in that state abused children and how bishops shuffled these priests around. What deeply saddens these men? The rape of children, the ... Read More
Every now and then, I’ll read some news that makes my eyes bug out and my jaw drop to the floor because I can’t believe how stupid it is. This week, it was the news that fired FBI agent Peter Strzok has raised over $400,000 for his legal costs and lost income via a GoFundMe campaign. Let me rephrase: ... Read More
After eight years of displeasure with Barack Obama’s presidency, Carla Johnson was ready for a drastic change. The 41-year-old lab technician from Cresco, Iowa, fell for Donald Trump very early in the 2016 primary season. She loved his “take-no-[sh**]” style, his conservative stances on gun control and ... Read More
People are making this so complicated. A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times editorial board hired a technology writer, Sarah Jeong. When it was revealed that she had tweeted barbs against white people, conservatives formed a Twitter mob to demand her dismissal. While a few on the right said — or claimed ... Read More
‘Ladies and gentlemen, the star witness in this case is the documents.” That is the theme prosecutor Greg Andres hammered home in his summation at Paul Manafort’s bank- and tax-fraud trial in an Alexandria, Va., federal court. It is a theme that much of the media coverage has glossed over, though it is ... Read More
Governor Cuomo is shouting again. It must be time for reelection. Queen Victoria complained of William Ewart Gladstone that he “speaks to Me as if I was a public meeting.” Andrew Cuomo has the opposite problem: He addresses public meetings as if trying to convince a recalcitrant octogenarian that the fire ... Read More