Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders of Vermont has proposed two bills that aims to make four-year public colleges and universities free. Sanders officially announced the "Robin Hood Tax" and the "College for All Act" bills at a Capitol Hill press conference on Tuesday, USA Today reports.
The College for All Act and Robin Hood Tax bills would impose a .05 tax on all stock transactions. This means a .50 cent tax for every “$100 of stock trades on stock sales, and lesser amounts on transactions involving bonds, derivatives, and other financial instruments," according to Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street's press release on Monday.
In a statement on Sunday Sanders said, “We live in a highly competitive global economy and, if our economy is to be strong, we need the best-educated work force in the world. That will not happen if, every year, hundreds of thousands of bright young people cannot afford to go to college, and if millions more leave school deeply in debt.”
Current student debt is estimated at 1.3 trillion and inhibits debtors from reaching certain economic milestones such as owning a car, buying a house, and saving for retirement.
Sanders advocated a European attitude towards higher education, saying, "Countries like Germany, Denmark, Sweden and many more are providing free or inexpensive higher education for their young people, they understand how important it is to be investing in their youth. We should be doing the same."
Some 40 countries have already adopted similar taxes to fund higher education.
Under Sanders' plan, the federal government would cover 67% of college tuition costs -- roughly $47 billion each year. States would be responsible for covering the rest of the costs.
The Robin Hood Tax is already gaining strong support from 172 different organizations across the nation.
Photo Credit: Robinhood Tax on Wall Street