The debate over President Joe Biden's announcement that the federal government will cancel a portion of outstanding student debt is important to understand how Americans came to owe so much money.

Ronald Reagan was running for reelection. He won his first election in 1966 with a fiery rhetoric towards the University of California public college system. Reagan shut down the University of California and California State University campuses in May of 1970 due to student protests against the Vietnam War and the US bombing of Cambodia. Less than a week before the election, his education adviser spoke about him.

The San Francisco Chronicle ran a story on Professor Sees Peril in Education. According to the Chronicle article, the man said that we are in danger of producing an educated class. We have to be careful who we let in to college.

We will have a lot of highly trained and unemployed people if that is not the case. "That's what happened in Germany, when you take a highly idiosyncratic perspective on the cause of fascists" It happened to me.

As Biden cancels (some) student debt, remember why the debt exists. A key Reagan advisor warned in 1970 that free college was producing the dangerously explosive "dynamite" of an "educated proletariat," and "we have to be selective on who we allow to go through higher education":

— ? Jon ? Schwarz ? (@schwarz) August 24, 2022

After the rise of Hitler, Freeman left Austria and moved to the US. He worked for the White House during both the Eisenhower and Nixon administrations. He worked on Reagan's campaign after leaving Nixon's administration. He was a senior fellow at a conservative think tank. In one of his books, he asked if Western Civilization could survive excessive government spending on education, social security, and other things.

Reagan promised to clean up the mess at UC Berkeley when he was governor of California in 1966. Berkeley had become a national center of organizing against the Vietnam War. The highest levels of the U.S. government were worried about this. The head of the CIA requested a meeting with the head of the FBI to discuss communist influence at Berkeley.

Reagan frequently communicated with the FBI about its concerns about Clark Kerr, the president of the University of California. Kerr did not crack down on Berkeley protesters. Kerr was fired after Reagan took office. Reagan was dedicated to the destruction of disruptive elements on California campuses, according to the FBI.

Reagan wanted to cut funding for California's public colleges. The state had to save money. California public colleges could charge residents tuition for the first time if Reagan's proposal is adopted. He said that the charge that this would deny educational opportunities to those of the most moderate means was hysterical. It is obvious that this is not true.

Reagan's attacks on California public colleges inspired conservatives in the U.S. Spiro Agnew said that unqualified students are being swept into college because of open admissions policies.

Conservatives took up the charge. Free education may be creating a dangerous class situation by raising the expectations of working-class students according to a private person. College students were referred to as a "parasite feeding on the rest of society" who exhibited a "failure to understand and to appreciate the crucial role played" by the market. The answer was to stop using the option.

The system of full tuition charges supplemented by loans which students must pay out of their future income was supposed to be the National Review.

This period was the turning point in America's policies towards higher education. States should fund high-quality public colleges so that their youth can receive higher education for free or nearly so for decades. California residents paid $300 a year to attend Berkeley in 1968. The yearly student cost at Berkeley is almost $40,000.

Student debt increased during the Reagan administration and then went up after the Great Recession as states cut funding for their college systems.

Today, that brings us to it. Bidens actions are a Band-Aid on a crisis that has been going on for 50 years. In 1822, James Madison wrote to a friend that the liberal appropriations made by the Legislature of Kentucky for a general system of education couldn't be too much applauded.

People who want to be their own governors need to arm themselves with the power of knowledge. Reagan and the others wanted to prevent Americans from gaining power. If the U.S. wants to take another path, it will have to recover a vision of a well-educated populace not as a terrible threat, but as a positive force that makes the nation better for everyone.