Mitt Romney Wants Your Tax Dollars to Pay for Useless College Educations
If you’re going to choose to be a one-issue voter when you cast your ballot tomorrow, here’s a really good one. You should vote to reelect President Obama, because Mitt Romney made a campaign promise to throw your tax dollars away. That’s right—just rip ’em up and toss ’em. Burn them. Shred them into tiny little pieces. As in, waste them, completely and utterly.
How so? Well, as David Halperin points out in a terrific piece in the Huffington Post, Romney has pledged to eliminate President Obama’s hard-fought-for “gainful employment” rule for for-profit colleges. The rule required such colleges to prove that their graduates actually get jobs when they leave school—jobs in areas for which the colleges trained them. Instead of, like, just providing useless Mickey Mouse courses that leave young people mired in lifelong debt. Lobbying and lawsuits have watered down the rule. If Obama’s reelected, he’ll try again to put the rule in place. If Romney is elected, it’s Disneyworld time.
But it’s not just our kids who get screwed by the for-profits: You do, too, assuming you pay taxes and aren’t one of Mitt’s derided societal freeloaders. Because the way for-profit colleges make money is by sponging off you, big time. Almost 90 percent—90 percent!—of for-profit colleges’ revenues come from us. You and me. The taxpayers of the US of A. As Halperin points out, on the campaign trail, Mitt liked to point to Full Sail University in Florida as the (sorry) wave of the future. Ever hear of Full Sail? I didn’t think so. It’s the third most expensive college in America. It charges $80,000 for a 21-month degree in video-game art. Average debt of its happy video-game grads? Fifty-seven thousand dollars.
I suppose it could just be a coincidence that Full Sail’s owners are major donors to Mitt’s campaign. Oh, and that the company that owns Full Sail is pushed on clients by Tagg Romney’s private equity firm. Cozy in that bed, guys?
But you probably have heard of the University of Phoenix, right? Did you know that a while back, it lost a lawsuit charging that it discriminated against non-Mormon employees, and had to pay nearly $2 million in damages? Todd Nelson, the former chair of Phoenix (because they always rise from the ashes, these guys), today heads EDMC, the nation’s second largest for-profit-college firm. Oh, hey, look—EDMC’s being sued by the Department of Justice for fraud and illegal recruiting procedures! And Nelson and his wife are major donors to Mitt’s campaign! You can read all about the acquisition of EDMC by Goldman Sachs—I know you’ve heard of Goldman Sachs—and the subsequent barrage of lobbying against the Obama administration’s attempts to rein in these predatory colleges here and here.
President Obama has made significant progress in helping to ensure that higher education is available and affordable for America’s young people. On his watch, enrollment in for-profits has declined, as have their revenues. Mitt Romney promises to gut those efforts and toss our kids to the market forces embraced by campaign donors like Todd Nelson and Goldman Sachs. If you trust these guys to care about what happens to this nation’s future, by all means, vote Republican tomorrow. If you don’t—and if you’re sick and tired of phonies who rail against Big Government while they get rich sucking taxpayers dry—you know what to do.