Kevin D. Williamson writes that one hidden goal of “free” community college is to get more taxpayer money funnelled (laundered) through more public sector unions to Democrat campaign coffers.
I don’t suppose it has occurred to very many of those “free” community college enthusiasts that much of what community colleges do would be beside the point if we had properly functioning high schools and a proper system of higher learning that distinguished between education as such and job training. And now the same people who brought you the Cleveland and Washington public schools are going to apply their wisdom to the community colleges.
The cynicism of this ploy is remarkable. Those working at “free” community colleges presumably will not be working for free, in buildings that spring forth out of the ground at no expense, with texts delivered by the book fairy. It’s simply a matter of putting the federal government in control of resources directed at community colleges, rather than leaving the consumers largely in control—i.e., eliminating the thing that makes community colleges work.
But that’s the Democrats. Community colleges are, among other things, host organisms for parasitic unions of the sort that dominate Democratic politics and sustain Democrats’ campaigns. (And thus the hilarious phenomenon of the community-college strike.) For Democrats, the answer to every social problem is to ensure that lovely healthy streams of government money are directed at institutions that employ lots of Democrats. As with every other aspect of the welfare state, the problem here is not really the people receiving the benefit, but the people who are employed administering it. The Democrats did not build their machine simply by offering people free stuff, but by creating vast and powerful bureaucracies to administer those free-stuff programs.
It is difficult to miss the fact that the public schools are plainly designed for the benefit of the people who work there, not for the students, and you can see the same dynamic at work in any parole office or government-run job-training center. That is not the dynamic you want to encourage in the community colleges.