In a very middle-class mindset, it sure would be nice if college were cheap. I’m not saying that the way things are doesn’t have issues. Why the cost of college has gone up so much is a good question. But making it free for everyone, or enabling everyone to go, regardless of what the outcomes are for people can only be something that the middle class fishbowl has foisted on people.
It’s interesting that this is associated with the lefty Sanders campaign, because it, just like “intersectional” identity politics are really concepts that come from the upper middle class and people already in college. Poor people don’t really care about the white male cishet hegemon. This politics is about making all of us equally poor.
If the same amount of people remain in low wage, downwardly mobile jobs, there’s little reason to suggest that they should be spending instead of earning money for 4 years.
It won’t make you earn more if everyone has a degree. It will just cheapen a degree. It won’t make a smarter workforce, it will make a more disaffected one. That is not a recipe for a stable and thriving society.
Something like a $15 minimum wage and an even higher level of free healthcare would actually help everyone and give people a chance without a degree, which is the only way we’re going to really deal with poverty and inequality.
However much free college would cost, dump that into healthcare, childcare, minimum wage increases, and housing for the poor and you’ll do way more good.