Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: USA

The Case for Combining Tuition-Free College with Debt Relief

This week, Bernie Sanders launched his campaign to annihilate all $1.6 trillion in student debt. This far exceeds the amount Elizabeth Warren promises to alleviate ($640 billion). Warren pledges to eliminate up to $50,000 in debts for those making less than $100,000 per year. Those who owe more than $50,000 would still have to pay the remaining balance, and those earning more than $100,000 would receive smaller reductions. By contrast, Sanders vows to eliminate all outstanding debt. Sanders also promises to use federal money to make public colleges and universities tuition-free. Warren’s policy on tuition relies on state governments to provide a large percentage of the funding, and that means that Republican governors and state legislators would be able to refuse to participate, in much the same way that they refused to participate in Barack Obama’s Medicaid expansion. This would create a two-tier system, in which Americans living in blue states would enjoy educational rights denied to Americans living in red states. The Sanders plan is the only plan predicated on the principle that further education ought to be a universal right of all Americans, regardless of where they live or how much money they earn.

But there are those who resist the Sanders plan, arguing that cancelling student debt and providing tuition-free college subsidises economically inefficient behaviour and rewards people who made mistakes. Others argue that debt relief is regressive, because college-educated Americans tend to be higher income than those who did not go to college. I think both of these arguments are wrong. Here’s why.

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Bernie Sanders’ Tax Returns are Irrelevant

I’ve been seeing a remarkably large number of people making the argument that because Bernie Sanders is a millionaire, he is somehow a hypocrite. This is a very strange claim. Here’s why.

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Pete Buttigieg Governed South Bend Like a Republican

Have you ever lived in a place with a Republican mayor? I have. My hometown has been governed by a Republican mayor since 2004. Republicans have a simple strategy for running cities–they try to attract as many high-income residents as possible. This means doing everything you can to make the town pretty. It means offering investors all sorts of incentives to come to town. If you live in a town run by a Republican mayor and you’re doing well, it seems like the town is getting a lot better. It gets prettier. They built parks. You read in the local paper about new business coming to town. It all sounds great, and Republican mayors often get re-elected by large margins.

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Let a Studebaker Tell You What’s Wrong With the Mayor of South Bend

My name is Benjamin Studebaker, and I grew up in Indiana. I am not happy with the way the press is covering Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Let me tell you why. Read the rest of this entry »

How a Petty Tyrant Turned a Functional DSA Branch into a Church

I have another DSA story. If you haven’t heard, the DSA is the Democratic Socialists of America. It’s a left-wing organization that’s been around since 1982, but it’s become politically more significant over the last couple years. Inspired by Bernie Sanders, DSA’s membership has expanded from 6,000 to about 60,000 over the last few years. The DSA is committed to lots of nice things, like a Medicare-for-All Single Payer system. Today I want to tell you the tale of the decline and fall of Pittsburgh DSA. It’s just one branch, but as I continue to write about the DSA and people continue to send me their stories, it’s become increasingly clear that this sort of thing is happening again and again, all over the country.

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