The Democratic primary debates revealed a penchant of candidates to tout big, bold plans for the future. This was the mantra in particular of Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker, who disparaged the “small thinkers,” whom they view as unable or unwilling to embrace their grand visions for major structural changes in health, education, tax policy and climate change.

This brings to mind observations, real and imagined, about plans by two eminent American philosophers.

Mike Tyson famously commented: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth!” While the aforementioned candidates look like a tough crowd who might survive a Tyson left hook (even Bernie), their grand designs seem highly vulnerable to a fistful of harsh economic and operational reality.

Then we have Jerry Seinfeld. One can visualize him turning to Bernie and saying, “Anyone can make a plan. But, don’t ya see? It sorta has to have a sound intellectual underpinning with some semblance of reality about costs and institutional ramifications.” Democrats want free education for all. But how then, for example, do they cover the costs of running the colleges and universities? If they mandate the federal government to cover tuition costs, then what is to prevent academic institutions from raising their tuition costs through the roof?

An option, of course, is for the government to cover a standard tuition and allow colleges to place a charge on top of it (which, of course, would discriminate against those of lower income, thus defeating the objective).

The other option is the socialists’ delight: Let the government dictate to the colleges what tuition they can charge (i.e., East Carolina and the University of Virginia are restricted to the same tuition charges and grants).

One can imagine Seinfeld smiling at these candidates and saying, “So, you want to be my president!”

Bill Louis Long

Albemarle County

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