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1998 Ron Paul Chapter 49

Higher Education Amendments of 1998

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6 May 1998


1998 Ron Paul 49:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, Congress should reject HR 6, the Higher Education Amendments of 1998 because it furthers the federal stranglehold over higher education. Instead of furthering federal control over education, Congress should focus on allowing Americans to devote more of their resources to higher education by dramatically reducing their taxes. There are numerous proposals to do this before this Congress. For example, the Higher Education Affordability and Availability Act (HR 2847), of which I am an original cosponsor, allows taxpayers to deposit up to $5,000 per year in a pre-paid tuition plan without having to pay tax on the interest earned, thus enabling more Americans to afford college. This is just one of the many fine proposals to reduce the tax burden on Americans so they can afford a higher education for themselves and/or their children. Other good ideas which I have supported are the PASS A+ accounts for higher education included in last year’s budget, and the administration’s HOPE scholarship proposal, of which I was amongst the few members of the majority to champion. Although the various plans I have supported differ in detail, they all share one crucial element. Each allows individuals the freedom to spend their own money on higher education rather than forcing taxpayers to rely on Washington to return to them some percentage of their tax dollars to spend as bureaucrats see fit.

1998 Ron Paul 49:2
Federal control inevitably accompanies federal funding because politicians cannot exist imposing their preferred solutions for perceived “problems” on institutions dependent upon taxpayer dollars. The prophetic soundness of those who spoke out against the creation of federal higher education programs in the 1960s because they would lead to federal control of higher education is demonstrated by numerous provisions in HR 6. Clearly, federal funding is being used as an excuse to tighten the federal noose around both higher and elementary education.

1998 Ron Paul 49:3
Federal spending, and thus federal control, are dramatically increased by HR 6. The entire bill has been scored as costing approximately $101 billion dollars over the next five years; an increase of over 10 billion from the levels a Democrat Congress Congress authorize for Higher Education programs in 1991!. Of course, actual spending for these programs may be greater, especially if the country experiences an economic downturn which increases the demand for federally-subsidized student loans.

1998 Ron Paul 49:4
Mr. Chairman, one particular objectionable feature of the Higher Education Amendments is that this act creates a number of new federal programs, some of which where added to the bill late at night when few members where present to object.

1998 Ron Paul 49:5
The most objectionable program is “teacher training.” The Federal Government has no constitutional authority to dictate, or “encourage,” states and localities to adopt certain methods of education. Yet, this Congress is preparing to authorize the federal government to bribe states, with monies the federal government should never have taken from the people in the first place, to adopt teacher training methods favored by a select group of DC-based congressmen and staffers.

1998 Ron Paul 49:6
As HR 6 was being drafted and marked-up, some Committee members did attempt to protect the interests of the taxpayers by refusing to support authorizing this program unless the spending was offset by cuts in other programs. Unfortunately, some members who might have otherwise opposed this program supported it at the Committee mark-up because of the offset.

1998 Ron Paul 49:7
While having an offset for the teacher training program is superior to authorizing a new program, at least from an accounting perspective, supporting this program remains unacceptable for two reasons. First of all, just because the program is funded this year by reduced expenditures is no guarantee the same formula will be followed in future years. In fact, given the trend toward ever-higher expenditures in federal education programs, it is likely that the teacher training program will receive new funds over and above any offset contained in its authorizing legislation.

1998 Ron Paul 49:8
Second, and more importantly, the 10th amendment does not prohibit federal control of education without an offset, it prohibits all programs that centralize education regardless of how they are funded. Savings from defunded education programs should be used for education tax cuts and credits, not poured into new, unconstitutional programs.

1998 Ron Paul 49:9
Another unconstitutional interference in higher education within HR 6 is the provision creating new features mandates on institutes of higher education regarding the reporting of criminal incidents to the general public. Once again, the federal government is using its funding of higher education to impose unconstitutional mandates on colleges and universities.

1998 Ron Paul 49:10
Officials of the Texas-New Mexico Association of College and University Police Departments have raised concerns about some of the new requirements in this bill. Two provisions the association finds particularly objectionable are those mandating that campuses report incidents of arson and report students referred to disciplinary action on drug and alcohol charges. These officials are concerned these expanded requirements will lead to the reporting of minor offenses, such as lighting a fire in a trash can or a 19-year-old student caught in his room with a six-pack of beer as campus crimes, thus, distorting the true picture of the criminal activity level occurring as campus.

1998 Ron Paul 49:11
The association also objects to the requirement that campus make police and security logs available to the general public within two business days as this may not allow for an intelligent interpretation of the impact of the availability of the information and may compromise an investigation, cause the destruction of evidence, or the flight of an accomplice. Furthermore, reporting the general location, date, and time for a crime may identify victims against their will in cases of sexual assault, drug arrests, and burglary investigations. The informed views of those who deal with campus crime on a daily basis should be given their constitutional due rather than dictating to them the speculations of those who sit in Washington and presume to mandate a uniform reporting system for campus crimes.

1998 Ron Paul 49:12
Another offensive provision of the campus crime reporting section of the bill that has raised concerns in the higher education community is the mandate that any campus disciplinary proceeding alleging criminal misconduct shall be open. This provision may discourage victims, particularly women who have been sexually assaulted, from seeking redress through a campus disciplinary procedures for fear they will be put “on display.” For example, in a recent case, a student in Miami University in Ohio explained that she chose to seek redress over a claim of sexual assault “* * * through the university, rather than the county prosecutor’s office, so that she could avoid the publicity and personal discomfort of a prosecution * * *” Assaulting the privacy rights of victimized students by taking away the option of a campus disciplinary proceeding is not only an unconstitutional mandate but immoral.

1998 Ron Paul 49:13
This bill also contains a section authorizing special funding for programs in areas of so-called “national need” as designated by the Secretary of Education. This is little more than central planning, based on the fallacy that omnipotent “experts” can easily determine the correct allocation of education resources. However, basic economies teaches that a bureaucrat in Washington cannot determine “areas of national need.” The only way to know this is through the interaction of students, colleges, employers, and consumers operating in a free-market, where individuals can decide what higher education is deserving of expending additional resources as indicated by employer workplace demand.

1998 Ron Paul 49:14
Mr. Chairman, the Higher Education Amendments of 1998 expand the unconstitutional role of the federal government in education by increasing federal control over higher education, as well as creating a new teacher training program. This bill represents more of the same, old “Washington knows best” philosophy that has so damaged American education over the past century. Congress should therefore reject this bill and instead join me in working to defund all unconstitutional programs and free Americans from the destructive tax and monetary policies of the past few decades, thus making higher education more readily available and more affordable for millions of Americans.
Notes:

1998 Ron Paul 49:3 1991!. probably should be 1991! (without a period) and does not denote a factorial (i.e. all the integers 1 through 1991 multiplied together).

1998 Ron Paul 49:3 Ungrammatical federally-subsidized should be federally subsidized (without a hyphen).

1998 Ron Paul 49:11 the requirement that campus make police and security logs available probably should be plural, the requirement that campuses make police and security logs available.

1998 Ron Paul 49:12 a campus disciplinary procedures perhaps should be possessive, a campus’s disciplinary procedures or singular a campus disciplinary procedure.

1998 Ron Paul 49:13 basic economies perhaps should be basic economics.

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