Can education be free? Yes and No, it really depends on the scale of the economy and the population of a country. There is this debate going on in USA on student debt and free health care. Can the United States offer free education and free healthcare to all? Yes, but the most important question is what happens when a government took over a sector? Chances are, the quality of the product will either be average of sub par.
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Yes, education and medical expenses in the USA are really expensive. Some say Canada has free medical care, while in some European countries university education is literally guaranteed with no student debt, all if not most run by their government.
The question is, which country and their private sector produced new medical breakthrough? Which country’s universities produce the most successful entrepreneur? If your answer is USA, this is because the private universities and medical healthcare is the driving force in innovation and discovery, motivated by success and money.
I always believe in the free market, you can attend community colleges and get free medical healthcare from church run hospitals, albeit the quality is not as good as the privately run colleges and hospitals.
Should the government introduce a student debt forgiveness program? Absolutely not. You took the debt willingly, so you shall be responsible for it. Nobody forced you to attend such an expensive programs.