In an interview with Senator Tom Harkin (sorry, no link yet), Morning Edition host Renee Montagne managed to turn reality on its head. She repeatedly referred to restrictions on the type of schools where students could use government loans and Pell grants as interfering with the free market and imposing restrictions on the industry.
This is truly bizarre. Free market purists presumably would not want the government program at all. However, those who support the program would presumably want to ensure that money goes for its intended purpose, educating students and providing them with marketable skills.
Prohibiting students from using their government support at diploma mills that do not do either would be like prohibiting people from using food stamps to buy whiskey at their local liquor store. Few would describe such a restriction as interfering with the free market or government regulation of the liquor store industry.
In the case of liquor stores, they can sell liquor to whoever they want (above legal age), their customers just can't use food stamps for their alcohol purchases. Similarly, for profit colleges can sign up any student they want, these rules just prohibit students from using government support at these schools unless they have a track record of actually providing an education.
[Addendum: The NYT commits the same sin. It told readers:
"Many Republicans see such colleges [for profit colleges] as a healthy free-market alternative to overcrowded community colleges, offering useful vocational training and education to working adults who will not attend more traditional institutions."
Of course the NYT has no idea how the Republicans "see" these colleges, they only know what they say about these colleges. It is entirely possible that many Republicans see these colleges as sleaze bucket outfits that give them large campaign contributions. If this is the case, they might be inclined to speak positively about not for profit colleges regardless of what they actually think about them.
Remember, reporters are not mindreaders, and those that claim to be are not reporters.
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