Mona Charen

During that same 1997-2007 decade that home prices increased by 68 percent and created a housing bubble, college tuition and fees rose even higher -- by 83 percent. In fact, college tuition and fees have never increased by less than 73 percent in any ten-year period back to the 1980s. And in the decades ending in 2009 and 2010, college tuition increased by more than 90 percent. The still-inflating increases in the price of higher education are starting to make the housing bubble look pretty tame by comparison."

In addition to suggesting that tuition be reduced, a panel appointed by Governor Perry suggested that professors were "wasting time and money churning out esoteric, unproductive research." Shocking. The panel suggested dividing the research and teaching budgets to encourage excellence in both, while also introducing merit pay for exceptional classroom teachers.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports that students are flocking to colleges and universities in flat, freezing North Dakota to take advantage of lower tuition rates. Enrollment at public colleges has jumped 38 percent in the last decade, led by a 56 percent increase in out of state students. Colleges around the nation, the Journal advises, must now compete for a new kind of student: "the out-of-state bargain hunter."

Admittedly, North Dakota benefited from oil revenue and spent generously on its colleges and universities over the past 12 years. But in a time of straightened circumstances for everyone, how does it not make sense to have colleges and universities compete on price?

Obama seeks to forestall this commonsense solution by once again increasing government subsidies. Student loans, courtesy of Obama, can now be "forgiven" after 20 years of payment, or after 10 years if students choose "public service." Who pays the difference? You know who.

Just as it seemed to be such a great idea for everyone to own a home, we've spent decades subsidizing everyone who wanted to go to college. The result has been an upward spiral of prices, which in turn causes politicians like Obama to call for more subsidies.

And Perry is the simplistic one?

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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