Bernie Sanders Plans To Make College Free By Raising Taxes On Wall Street

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) unveiled legislation today that would make tuition free at all public four-year colleges and universities by taxing Wall Street.

According to Sen. Sanders, the College For All Act would:

Eliminate Undergraduate Tuition at 4-year Public Colleges and Universities. This legislation would provide $47 billion per year to states to eliminate undergraduate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities. Today, total tuition at public colleges and universities amounts to about $70 billion per year. Under the College for All Act, the federal government would cover 67% of this cost, while the states would be responsible for the remaining 33% of the cost.

Restoration of Historically Low Student Loan Interest Rates. The College for All Act would lower student loan interest rates by restoring the formula which was in effect until 2006. Student loan interest rates would be cut almost in half for undergraduate students, dropping from 4.32% to just 2.32%. In addition, the legislation would ensure rates never rise above 8.25%.

Student Loan Re-financing. The College for All Act would enable borrowers to refinance their loans based on the interest rates available to current students.

Work Study Reforms
. Today, the federal work study program receives less than $1 billion per year, and serves nearly 700,000 students. This legislation would expand the number of students and colleges that can offer part-time employment and participate in the federal work study program, and focus funding on schools that enroll high numbers of low-income students.

Simplifying the Student Aid Application Process. The bill would create a pilot program to eliminate the requirement that students re-apply for financial aid each year, simplifying the application process and removing significant barriers faced by low-income students.

Fully Paid for by Imposing a Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street. This legislation is offset by imposing a Wall Street speculation fee on investment houses, hedge funds, and other speculators of 0.5% on stock trades (50 cents for every $100 worth of stock), a 0.1% fee on bonds, and a 0.005% fee on derivatives. It has been estimated that this provision could raise hundreds of billions a year which could be used not only to make tuition free at public colleges and universities in this country,it could also be used to create millions of jobs and rebuild the middle class of this country.

Sen. Sanders discussed the idea of tax Wall Street in order to make college free during a speech unveiling the legislation:

At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, at a time when trillions of dollars in wealth have left the pockets of the middle class and have gone to the top one-tenth of one percent, at a time when the wealthiest people in this country have made huge amounts of money from
risky derivative transactions and the soaring value of the stock market, this legislation would impose a Wall Street speculation fee on Wall Street investment houses and hedge funds.

More than 1,000 economists have endorsed a tax on Wall Street speculation and today some 40 countries throughout the world have imposed a financial transactions tax including Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, China, India, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Brazil.

My legislation would impose a Wall Street speculation fee of 0.5 percent on stock trades (that’s 50 cents for every $100 worth of stock), a 0.1 percent fee on bonds, and a 0.005 percent fee on derivatives.

It has been estimated that this legislation would raise up to $300 billion a year.

The point of this bill is not passage. Everyone knows that the Republican-controlled Congress will never pass this bill. It is all about highlighting the contrast between Republicans who actively working to put in place economic barriers to higher education, and Democrats who view higher education accessibility as a key component to economic advancement and rebuilding the middle-class.

Sen. Sanders is also upping the ante in the how to make college more affordable discussion. There is no reason outside of political will why the Sanders legislation couldn’t become law. Recent studies have revealed that the Republican Party is literally dying off, and legislation like the College For All Act is an example of why younger voters are firmly in the Democratic column.

15 Replies to “Bernie Sanders Plans To Make College Free By Raising Taxes On Wall Street”

  1. We could educate the planet with the dll$ we are using to fight the endless wars…

    It just has to become the 1st priority of the representatives of the PEOPLE.
    (oh darn, only the corporations have representatives in this Congress).

    Thank you Bernie for bringing this up…

  2. Why not just say he proposes paying for it with a small fee on speculation transactions? Technically, there is no “tax” involved and the message of “attacking Wall Street” is easy to denounce. Most Americans have a 401k on “Wall Street”, why attack my 401k? Regulating Wall Street? Good. Equal opportunities in investing? Good. Leveling the field? Good. Attacking and “Robin Hooding” Wall Street? It’ll never fly, even among the majority of Democrats.

  3. No one is attacking your 401k. Do you even know how much the tax would be? The Wall Street Trading and Speculators Tax Act would impose a tax of 0.03 percent on financial transactions, meaning that longterm investors would barely notice it, but traders who move rapidly in and out of positions would feel its sting and, the authors hope, reduce the volume of their speculation in response.

    That’s the problem with people who have been brainwashed, they don’t think all they know is what about me. That’s how republicans pass their obscene tax cuts. You thought you were getting something for that 200 dollars in tax cuts while the rich laugh their asses off at you for being so gullible

  4. I’m not going to jump into the right or wrong on this, but I had to stop reading when it said the government would pay 67% of this and the states would pay the other 33%.
    I hate it when the feds throw unfunded mandates at the states. The states can’t pay for education now. The city I live in, they suspended the public school bus system for lack of funding.
    If Bernie wants to make a big name for himself, then tax Wall Street for the whole 100%. This your shiny clean baby, Bernie. You pay for all the bathwater.

  5. Better to educate than to incarcerate no matter how it’s
    funded. Those high paid brokers on WS shouldn’t even
    notice the tax bump. Can you imagine how much better
    off we’d be as a nation if Congress had all Bernies and
    Elizabeths and no Boehners or McConnels?

  6. Maryland Chooses Jail Over Schools for Baltimore Youths
    Two days after Maryland officials approved spending $30 million of taxpayer funds on a shiny new jail for Baltimore youth caught in the snare of the criminal justice system, Gov. Larry Hogan removed $11.6 million from the city’s school budget and reallocated it to the pension fund for state employees,
    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-hogan-announcement-20150514-story.html#page=1

  7. I. Agree. With. Robert.

    That will likely never happen again.

    States have an enormous burden and are struggling with massive cuts already causing layoffs and lack of funds for needed education of elementary grades.

    If he is going to get behind it, get behind it all the way and get the money from those he rails against as the wicked.

  8. This is the same tax proposed in a few European countries.

    “The DCB study showed that 1.7 billion euros, over 42% of the annual FTT cost in the Netherlands, would be borne by pensions.”

    City of London Economic Research reporting on the household savings losses on three countries only, “Spain 16 percent household savings loss, Germany 14.1 percent household savings loss, Italy 12.3 percent household savings loss.”

    UK Parliament European Scrutiny Committee citing the EU Commission’s FTT Impact Assessment, “a 3.43% fall in EU GDP equates to a fall in economic output worth €421 (£362) billion and a 0.34% fall in employment equates to a loss of 812,000 jobs.”

    UK Parliament Economic Sub-Committee of the House of Lords, “The FTT is likely to induce a loss in GDP between five and 20 times larger than the revenues raised from the tax.”

  9. Forgive me, I’m not one who get excited about free college intruition or raising tax on the millionaires and billionaires. Pres. Obama been pushing for free early childhood education, lowering to 2 years free community college training school, raising min wage to a modest $10.10 per/hr, numerous infrastructal proposals aka the famous ‘American Jobs Act. The former Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood, transportation proposals. I could go on and on.

    I’m glad Clinton talk about these issues and Sanders (He been talking about this a long time)but they need to talk about how would they get repubs and blue dog dems to go alone. When dems couldn’t or wouldn’t get it done and repubs don’t give a damn to get it done for the last 7 years.

  10. The few things that were passed were with a certain Senator from NY.

    And I agree, $10.10 is reasonable. I think, not fact, what I think, is she will come out with the same amount, perhaps suggesting $12 by 2020 or so.

    5 years to get to $12 – if the economy continues to improve – will be easier to factor in, but still not likely to pass.

    O’Malley and Sanders are jumping to $15.

    And that is a fairy tale.

    ACTUAL Legislation requires lots of devils and tendrils to be nixed.

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