Monday, September 29, 2008

Give every American a community college economics degree

For the price of the Iraq War, we could've given every American a two-year community college economics degree, so that they could see why the House Republican plan for fixing the financial crisis was nonsense.  

House Republicans proposed to deal with the financial crisis by cancelling capital gains taxes and providing insurance on mortgage-backed securities.  Economists on Wall Street and at nonpartisan think tanks regard the plan as costly and ineffective, as the firms at the center of the crisis are facing capital losses, not gains, and the volatile nature of the securities makes it impossible to insure them effectively without exposing taxpayers to massive risk.  

There are 301 million Americans.  Two years of tuition at a community college costs $4152.  So giving every American a two-year community college degree would cost $1.25 trillion, which is less than half of Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes' estimate of $3 trillion for the cost of the Iraq War.