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.
Conventional wisdom regarding America’s relationship with royalty goes something like this: Americans have no time for monarchy as a political concept but can’t get enough of the British royal family. The American media’s round-the-clock coverage of the recent royal wedding certainly seems ample evidence of ... Read More
Rarely in my life have I read a more hostile or vicious takedown of a public figure than last week’s New York Times profile of Canadian author and psychologist Jordan Peterson. Rarely have I witnessed a more bizarre and bad-faith interview of a public figure than journalist Cathy Newman’s January ... Read More
On Sunday, President Trump tweeted a “demand” that the Justice Department investigate political spying in the 2016 campaign. This replays the political-spying controversy that surfaced in late February. Right now, the issue involves the Obama administration’s use of at least one confidential informant -- a ... Read More
President Trump is opening a whole new chapter in the war between him and the investigators pursuing him. Today, he tweeted: “I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political ... Read More
One of the common complaints of gun control advocates after a high-profile shooting is that Republican politicians offer “thoughts and prayers” (a decent, human response to which nobody ought to have any objection) and then don’t propose any actual policy solutions. Of course, as in many areas, ... Read More
We wuz robbed. That’s the theme Democrats and their media allies are working hard to cement into conventional wisdom. And robbed in a very specific way: The 2016 presidential election, we’re to believe, was stolen from Hillary Clinton by disparate treatment. As Democrats tell it, the FBI scandalized their ... Read More
On another terrible day, I hate to introduce even more pessimism, but when we discuss mass shootings, one of the first questions we ask is the simplest and also the hardest to answer. Why? Why does this keep happening? Those who advocate for gun control have an immediate answer -- the prevalence of guns in the ... Read More