I just finished watching the last hour or so of the GOP debate, and just before the ineffective tantrum-throwing regarding the very real problem of China’s currency manipulation, there was a question thrown out about the problem of student loan debt, and the rising cost of higher education in this country. All of the answers seemed to be blaming the Federal government in one way or another, but Rick Perry’s answer was not only insane, it was inconsistent with his usual insanity.

Now, before I begin let me just say that I think the Republicans do have a point when it comes to student loan debt. When the federal government essentially guarantees the cost of education to a large segment of the population, tuition rates are going to go up. This isn’t the only cause for rising tuition costs, but it’s allowing Universities the freedom to answer their own cost problems by laying enormous debt on their consumers, debt which is ultimately guaranteed by the tax base of the United States.

Rick Perry had an interesting solution for addressing those cost concerns. He proposed “cutting off” public universities which saw no increase in graduation rate and did not take steps to control the cost of tuition over time. Here’s the problem with that: The Federal Government of the United States does not currently regulate the University system, and the only direct funding they receive (outside of Military service academies) is in the form of grants. In fact, US code explicitly grants the power to regulate universities to the states, as established in the Morrill Land-Grant Acts.

without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactic, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life.

Now, I’m not a psychologist, so I won’t go into the immense cognitive dissonance required for a tenther like Perry to prescribe massive federal government intervention in the University System of the United States. Needless to say, this answer did nothing to shake my opinion that Rick Perry is one of the worst debate performers in history.

2 Responses to Rick Perry: Tenther or not?

  1. Dave Bearse says:

    “I just finished watching the last hour or so of the GOP debate.”

    What and not paper kitchen cabinet shelves?

  2. JMPrince says:

    Yeah, nonsensical. And we’ve got data for that too:
    Again via RortyBomb & Mike K:
    http://rortybomb.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/a-first-look-into-some-distributional-student-loan-data/

    And as with Cain, some of these guys are just insane. It’s not just for ole Crazy Ron Paul anymore! JMP