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How to End the Student Loan Crisis: Make Wall Street Pay

Huffington Post

by Les Leopold

Posted: 07/12/2013 8:36 am

Anyone with a heartbeat knows that Wall Street took down the economy, killed millions of jobs and hasn't had to pay a penny for the damage it caused. In fact, we are paying them for crashing the economy in the form of trillions in bailouts and low interest loans. 

Well, maybe it's time for Wall Street to contribute, rather than siphoning off our wealth. How about a sales tax on all transfers of stocks, bonds, and derivatives in order to fund tuition-free higher education at public institutions?

Why are high schools free but colleges aren't? 
Access to higher education is vital to our economy and to our democracy. Today a college degree or post-high school professional training are the equivalent to what a high school diploma provided and signified a generation ago. For over 150 years, our nation has recognized that tuition-free primary and secondary schools were absolutely vital to the growth and functioning of our commonwealth.

By the middle of the 19th century, New York City also provided free higher education through what would become the City College of New York. Hunter and Brooklyn colleges also were tuition-free, as was California's rapidly growing post-WWII state college and university system. The GI Bill of Rights after WWII provided significant resources to over three million returning veterans to go to school tuition-free, which in no small part, helped to build American prosperity for the next generation. (Tuition was even provided if GIs attended private colleges and universities.) A further impetus to free higher education came as America fell behind the USSR during the Sputnik-era space race.