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The number of Obama Administration attacks on private industry are simply too numerous to count. A Google search of the Environmental Protection Agency’s “War on Coal” produces more than 2.8 million results! But the onslaught isn’t reserved only to the energy industry. The private sector “zone” is so flooded by relentless federal pressure that many of these regulatory crusades fail to get noticed anymore.
One such Presidential war that has largely escaped notice is the effort to obliterate for-profit higher education which the free market produced to fill in the gaps in service from the public and non-profit universities.
In a recent Washington Times op-ed, Center for Freedom & Prosperity President Andrew Quinlan highlights how regulators have carried out the President’s war against for-profit universities without respect to the rule of law or proper procedures:
Federal law requires for-profit universities — but not their public or nonprofit counterparts — to document and report “job placement” numbers for their graduates. However, defining “job placement” is left to states and accrediting agencies, which have adopted varied and vague standards. It’s almost like the rule is tailor-made for a government that acquires a target for destruction first and then looks for convenient violations to excuse their attacks second.
Target Corinthian Colleges the government did. No less than the Department of Justice, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Securities and Exchange Commission, and numerous state attorneys general opened investigations. The Department of Education then demanded that Corinthian supply in just 30 days job-placement disclosures for every program over the past several years on its hundreds of campuses, along with a range of personal information about their graduates, such as Social Security numbers, current telephone and cellphone numbers, employers’ names, job titles, and several other data one wouldn’t typically expect — or want — on file at a university.
Perhaps the Department of Education would have had more luck asking the National Security Agency for students’ private information since, unsurprisingly, Corinthian couldn’t satisfy the demand in time. In reprisal, the Department froze aid due to Corinthian students and effectively forced the company into bankruptcy, threatening its 12,000 employees with unemployment.
He goes on to point out that the question isn’t whether or not Corinthian Colleges is innocent or guilty of wrongdoing, but whether the administration is accountable to the law or free to do as it pleases in pursuit of its ideological agenda:
To be clear, there’s good reason to think that legitimate infractions and improprieties were committed by Corinthian Colleges, but the company was never convicted of anything before being run out of business by the government. It’s difficult to give this administration the benefit of the doubt, given the president’s open hostility to the industry as a whole. What matters, though, is that due process is not just for the innocent. If the government gets to pick and choose who deserves due process and who does not — even if they have done serious wrongs — then it fails as a means for preserving rights.
At this point, a total disregard for the rule of law, checks and balances and due process protection is to be expected from the Obama Administration.
Does this latest indignity for America rise to the level of the using the Internal Revenue Service to suppress, harass and silence your political opponents? Certainly not. But that cannot become our standard for outrage and resistance.
Now if we only had a Congress willing to do something about this…