National Center staff member Bethany Whitlock helped write this blog post.
As part of his State of the Union address, President Obama proposed a new initiative to offer young Americans essentially free community college education. Then, in his proposed tax plan that was released shortly thereafter, it was discovered there would be a provision in it to get rid of existing tax breaks in the 529 savings plans millions of middle class American families use to save and pay for college tuition.
Even Obama put almost a quarter of a million into a 529 plan for his own daughters in 2007! Yet the plan was to now take away this popular program.
In an apparent quest for more revenue to help pay for his free community college plan and other things, it seemed Obama’s 529 rollback would then present a clear and present danger to those saving for better educational opportunities. It perhaps meant some family aspirations would be downgraded and even require using those community college scholarships.
Project 21 member Shelby Emmett warned about the myth of free education well in advance of Obama’s anti-529 revelation. On the 1/9/15 edition of “The Big Picture” on the RT network, Shelby told host Thom Hartmann:
It sounds great, but again, this isn’t free.
They just said how this is going to be paid — federal tax dollars will be paying for it. That’s my money, your money, our money. Then the states have to contribute. The states are already paying more for their funding at the education level…
After Obama’s plan to get rid of the 529 tax break made headlines, another leak said the move was no longer being considered (but is something the Obama Administration might like to revisit later). It seems that, for now, the President will have to find another way to pay for his “free” community college plan instead of effectively taking it from the college funds of the middle class.