Obama’s plan to cut federal aid to colleges that don’t limit tuition increases

I observe with some satisfaction that the higher-education establishment is finally learning that if you play with snakes you get bitten.

It is no secret that academics were heavily in President Obama’s corner when he ran for President in 2008. Part of the reason was his commitment to transfer other people’s money to them—i.e., more direct and indirect federal aid to colleges and universities.

Even before Obama got involved, federal subsidies had become a major cause of the hyper-inflation in college tuition, just as they are the major reason for hyper-inflation in health care costs. (Federal spending on education is made possible by the Supreme Court’s refusal, since 1937, to enforce the most important constitutional limits on the federal spending power.)

The problem for Obama and the Democrats, however, is that rising tuition is a major beef with students, and Obama needs the student vote. Since most politicians like power and since students are more numerous than professional academics, Obama is doing what politicians naturally do in such circumstances: seeking to increase government meddling in the interests of the larger constituency. He is telling colleges and universities that if they do not control tuition costs he will cut their federal aid.

Now academics are reacting in horror. But what did they expect? They’ve unleashed what you always unleash when you put greed for government favors ahead of freedom for all.

One more point: Academics often blame rising public university tuition costs on “cuts” in state aid. Of course, they don’t mean real cuts, but only “cuts” in the percentage of higher education costs borne by state taxpayers.

But a recent Cato Institute study shows that inflation-adjusted aid to higher education actually has RISEN over the past 15 years, with taxpayers bearing a heavier burden than ever. The only reason state aid represents a lower percentage of overall costs is because federal aid has soared so much.

Rob Natelson

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



Featured Articles

On the Constitution, history, the founders, and analysis of current events.

featured articles


Tenther Blog and News

Nullification news, quick takes, history, interviews, podcasts and much more.

tenther blog


State of the Nullification Movement

232 pages. History, constitutionality, and application today.

get the report


Path to Liberty

Our flagship podcast. Michael Boldin on the constitution, history, and strategy for liberty today

path to liberty


Maharrey Minute

The title says it all. Mike Maharrey with a 1 minute take on issues under a 10th Amendment lens. maharrey minute

Tenther Essentials

2-4 minute videos on key Constitutional issues - history, and application today


Join TAC, Support Liberty!

Nothing helps us get the job done more than the financial support of our members, from just $2/month!



The 10th Amendment

History, meaning, and purpose - the "Foundation of the Constitution."

10th Amendment



Get an overview of the principles, background, and application in history - and today.