Dangerous Dan Thoughts and musings on the world

7/25/2006

Counterintuitive Proposals

Filed under: Politics — Dangerous Dan @ 7:33 am

Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council have come up with a plan to win over American voters. They're calling it the focus-group friendly American Dream Initiative. Now see if these statements work together:

While much of the agenda covers familiar Democratic territory, it adds some flourishes. An "American Dream Grant" would award money to states based on attendance and graduation from state colleges, while American Dream Accounts would enhance retirement savings and federally funded $500 "baby bonds" would be issued to each child born in America.

It also includes a commission to evaluate corporate subsidies and new rules to rein in federal spending.

Federal money will go to states, will be used to go into retirement savings, will give each child born in the U.S. $500 (at about 4,057,000 babies born a year, that amounts to over $2 billion a year).. and yet still reign in federal spending. That'll be some feat of creative accounting. And let's not forget the new layer of bureaucracy required to administer such a program and the brand new element of federal meddling in state and local affairs.

If you look at the details of the plan, you'll also see the enforcement idea:

In return for this unprecedented increase in college aid, we must raise expectations for colleges and students alike, and address the high proportion of college students who leave without a degree. Students who don't finish college don't earn much more than their counterparts who never entered. We must challenge young Americans to go to college and graduate, and challenge colleges to do their part to make it happen. Colleges need to publish complete data on their success rates, and schools with chronically low graduation rates must present a strategy to increase them. Colleges should provide truth-in-tuition by setting multi-year tuition and fee levels so incoming freshmen know how much 4 years of college will cost.

Is it just me or is this basically No Child Left Behind for colleges? And note how money is being tied to graduation rates and the money itself is meant to defray tuition costs. Here's what will actually happen. Colleges will play with the numbers or lower their standards in order to get students out the door and keep the federal dole coming. And instead of using the cash to defray tuition costs, they'll put up some new buildings. I really dislike these bread and circus plans politicians come up with.

Others blogging: First State Politics

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