Liberty and Justice for All… Except…

There’s a problem in our country, and it’s an odd problem where we try to exclude groups from our social benefits.  Oddly enough, today I am frustrated with excluding the wealthy, but I promise it’s going to make sense when I get to the end.

I read a comment made recently about how “Tax payers should not be paying to send Donald Trump’s children to college!”  I hear this, and I’m left asking myself, “Why not?”

Donald Trump is rich, for sure – but his kids aren’t.  The children of the wealthy are often beholden to their parents, and I think it goes against our principles of liberty to keep them trapped in that golden cage.  It isn’t strange at all for a rich parent to tell their children where they are going to go to college or even what their major will be, because if the parent is paying for it they feel like they should control it.  How much worse is it to be from an upper middle class family whose parents tell you that it is your own job to pay for college – yet because of them, you do not qualify for any kind of assistance?  I see no reason that the children of the wealthy should be put in that situation, if we are trying to make a world where everyone else is free to choose their own path in life.

Then there’s the problem of what we decide to call “wealthy” – where do we decide to cut off the aid?  One of the nasty problems that the middle class has run into recently is that many of the programs that were supposed to help people afford college don’t apply to them.  They are left in the unenviable position of making too much money to qualify for help, but not enough to cover the cost of college for themselves.  The result is that they get to choose between burdensome loans that condemn them to poverty for the rest of their lives (even if they do get a decent job), or they have to forgo a college education and try to make it without one.

From a practical standpoint, how much would it even cost to include “the top 1%” in our assistance programs?  As it stands, about 70% of all students qualify for aid anyway.  It is not prohibitively expensive to extend that benefit to everyone.  Our government literally loses track of more money than that, so I don’t think it makes sense to sweat over it.  We would probably spend more money checking the population’s income just to make sure that they aren’t rich.

I will concede that the wealthy often do not need our help, but that does not mean that they do not deserve the same benefits as all our other citizens.  I think when we stop looking for reasons to exclude people from public programs, we will be able to create greater freedom for more people with less effort.

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