Chris Christie thinks that debt-free college isn’t the answer- instead, students should sell themselves to pay for their tuition. At a speech in Ames, Iowa, the abrasive governor of New Jersey said that American students “shouldn’t expect to receive a degree that will significantly improve their earnings for nothing”, and suggested that instead, American youths should issue stock in themselves for companies to purchase, funding their tuition in exchange for a percentage of their future income- “human capital contracts”.
It’s an atrociously offensive statement that reveals just how far the influence of free market fascism has infiltrated the thinking of the Republican Party. Instead of offering every student an equal chance at a meaningful higher education, Christie is proposing to literally commodify human potential- a system that is not only ridiculous but with terrible consequences on American youths. Under that system, discrimination and prejudice have free reign to exclude minorities. The socioeconomic variables that already work to deny opportunity to Americans will be empowered to restrict education to a limited elite.
Every American has the right to a good education and an opportunity to make something of themselves. The idea of turning it into a for-profit venture is a disgusting interpretation of Koch Brother capitalism that goes against everything the American Dream is supposed to stand for. Turning a college education into indentured servitude, enslaving our graduates to corporate entities, transforming the burden of debt from a government investment into Wall Street profits, is the worst possible solution to America’s education crisis.
A much better solution is the one proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders, which would put fees on Wall Street transactions, both discouraging risky behavior by the avaricious gamblers in the stock exchange and providing a critical public service. Chris Christie is considering a run for the presidency as he dodges investigations for the Bridgegate scandal; he’s just proved that he will work just as hard as Scott Walker or any of the other GOP hopefuls to tear down our public institutions and replace them with for-profit companies that disregard the needs and well-being of the people they serve in pursuit of money.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.