Free To Choose 1990 – Created Equal – Higher Education
Again, if you look at other countries you will see the same thing. When they say they are going to help the poor and the downtrodden in India, they do it by allowing preferential admission to medical schools. Well, these people out there in the villages who don’t have enough to eat are not going to go to any medical schools. That they always start at the top; that they want to give out the goodies that have the prestige and the visibility. They are not interested in raising the test scores in some Harlem school. Surely, would you say that you would prefer it if society did not offer an opportunity for a higher education to everyone, whether they could afford it or not, or would you prefer some other system of accomplishing that goal? You have evaded the question. What’s a society? What you really mean is: would I prefer if the government not offer… That’s right…. and the answer is yes. If government doesn’t offer it, how can you be assured that it is going to happen? Because society does. Look, long before the government was providing- federal government, certainly. Long before the federal government was providing subsidies, The state governments were providing subsidies. The state governments were. Well, there’s no difference in principle. But even long before that, the earliest colleges and universities in the United States were established not by state governments. Harvard, which you went to, was established by private people. That was not, an opportunity to go to Harvard is not universally available. Am I naive? My impression was- that the GI Bill after World War II, correct me if I am wrong, gave millions of people who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to go to higher education, to go. What I would say is, let’s have a system where- I think there are abuses of the student loan program was clearly redistribution, but the basic principal that it is the role of government to make sure that everyone has the opportunity who can qualify for it, who can make use of it, for an excellent higher education, is a good one and you mitigate the re-distributive effects of that through the income tax system. The problem is to get stuck on objectives and not on outcomes. Of course that would be a desirable outcome. It is desirable that everybody have the opportunity, I am not questioning that, provided he is willing to pay for it, either before or after. I do not think there is any justification whatsoever for people who do not go to college subsidizing people who do.