Does Free College Education have a Place in America?

Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

“In a highly competitive global economy, we need the best-educated workforce in the world. It’s time we made college tuition free at public colleges and universities.”

— Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ policy recommendation sounds so inviting, to make college tuition free just like public high schools.

He also believes that such an action would create the “best-educated workforce in the world.”

But would it?

Sanders is right that free college tuition has been done before — in California before the 1980s, and today in many parts of Europe.

But does free college tuition do the job? In its March 19, 2016 issue, the Economist magazine ran a story about higher education in Europe.

“A growing number of European students are opting to pay for their education,” the article reported.

Why? Because for-pay, for-profit private colleges and universities do a better job in delivering a first-class education that pays when you get a job.

Studies show that students who pay for their college education chose their major sooner, get better grades and graduate sooner than students who receive free tuition.

When a valuable commodity, be it college education or advanced medical machines and devices, is free, consumers don’t appreciate its value, and often waste a valuable resource.

It is true that a top-notch college education is costly these days. But that’s the fault of the government, which overregulates and subsidizes education. The student loan debacle is clearly caused by excessive government intervention in education.


You Nailed It! 

To Wear a Tie or Not?

I see that President Obama went tie-less in an informal dinner with American officials in China last fall with the president of China.

It reminds me of the great libertarian philosopher Lin Yutang, who wrote a whole chapter on the “inhuman” nature of Western wear that is tight fitting, especially the collar and tie. He preferred loose-fitting Chinese dress, which also hid the body.

Here is a review of Lin’s book, “The Importance of Living”:

Lin wrote his great book, “The Importance of Living,” in 1937, but now two generations later the Western suit has won the war in terms of business dress.

But now we are witnessing a bit of a pushback, with business attire becoming more and more casual and less formal. Many companies have “Casual Friday” where even accountants can work without a tie. Some companies have abandoned the suit and tie entirely at work. The tie is losing its power.

I still like wearing the tie, despite its restrictiveness. It’s practically the only way a man can be creative. I enjoy choosing from a variety of ties for various seasons – a Christmas tie during the holidays, a patriot tie around July 4, a romantic tie during Valentine’s Day, a colorful tie during Halloween, etc.

Long live the tie!


Upcoming Conferences


Big News! Top Libertarian Senator and former presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul will be joining us at this year’s big FreedomFest show in Las Vegas on July 15, to speak about his new book, “Taking a Stand: Moving Beyond Partisan Politics to Unite America.”

This is Sen. Paul’s first appearance at FreedomFest in three years, and we are happy to have him back to talk candidly about the presidential election this year, and his outlook for the cause of liberty. He will be doing a special luncheon on “Is Freedom Rising or Falling? A Conversation with Sen. Rand Paul on the Future of Liberty.” The conversation will be moderated by Matt Kibbe (president of the new Free the People initiative).

I urge you to sign up now at, or by calling Karen, Jennifer or Amy toll-free at 1-855-850-3733. The final “early bird” special ends this week on May 15! Save $100 per person.

SPECIAL NOTE: I noticed a lot of you who signed up for FreedomFest are coming alone. FreedomFest is a lot more fun if you bring others — your spouse, colleague or a friend. And the cost is only $300 per extra person! (And students are only $99 each.) I encourage you to go to the registration page at and add a friend or even two friends. The more the merrier.

O Cato Institute Luncheon and Policy Forum on Gross Output, Friday, May 13, Washington, D.C.: Come join Steve Forbes, George Gilder and me tomorrow for the event of the year at the Hayek Auditorium at the Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001. The topic will be “GO Beyond GDP: What Really Drives the Economy?” Get a seat early for this historic celebration of the Feds’ adopting my Gross Output (GO) statistic and what it means to investors, businesses and government policy. Afterwards, we will have a luncheon and autograph session for each of our books. This is a free event. Register today. Or email or call (202) 789-5229.  If you can’t make it, you can see this event live by going to

In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my e-letter column from last week about billionaires moving to avoid state taxes. I also invite you to comment in the space provided below my Eagle Daily Investor commentary.

Until next next, this is Mark Skousen, saying so long, fellow free-marketeers, and remember, AEIOU.

Mark Skousen

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Dr. Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

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