With a brief blog post appearing in its “College” section The Huffington Post joined in the chorus of liberal media outlets demanding more government control of businesses.
The blog posts tells the tale of Carrianne Howard, a graduate of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale (a for-profit college) who secured a job in the video game industry after she graduated. She made $12 an hour until her position was eliminated. She is now working as a stripper.
But Howard's story just led to an argument foe government regulation of for profit colleges.
“Howard's story is not entirely unique -- and experiences like hers are driving the government's investigation into the efficacy and recruiting practices of for-profit colleges,” the unnamed blogger wrote.
“This week, a Government Accountability Office report detailed how for-profit recruiters often promise potential students unobtainable jobs and high salaries, and tell them to lie to procure more federal financial aid,” the Huffington Post said.
The article didn't document the GAO's qualification to determine what constitutes “unobtainable” positions or pay in the dozens of industries for which students study. Nor did it furnish instances of dishonest financial aid coaching. Still, the demand for increased government regulation did not stop there.
“At a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the report Wednesday, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) slammed for-profit institutions, saying that the report made it "disturbingly clear that abuses in for-profit recruiting are not limited to a few rogue recruiters or even a few schools with lax oversight," The Huffington Post said.
The fact is, the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress have targeted for profit colleges, and the Huffington Post was just helping to publicize the effort. Andrew Ferguson of The Weekly Standard explained the issue in his article 'Obama's Crusade Against Profits, Coming soon to a College near you.”
“We should quickly stipulate that for-profit colleges are hardly delicate flowers of free enterprise. They are creatures of government subsidies without which they would become unrecognizable. And they are happy to meet the government on its own terms,”
If the administration gets its way and the regulatory regime continues to tighten, the for-profit education industry won't cease to exist. More likely it will regress into a form of state capitalism, as a kind of public utility: utterly dependent on government subsidy, hence utterly submissive to government authority, which can set prices and profit margins. The health insurance industry, with the passage of health care reform, is halfway there already.