Blue Civil War
New Federal Regulations Squeeze Small Colleges

Even as the Democratic Party presidential nominee campaigns on a promise to expand access to a college education, the current Democratic administration is promulgating an onerous new regulation that is likely to force costs upward, especially at smaller schools. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:

Colleges are worried about how to cover the costs of overtime pay that dozens of coaches, counselors, and other employees may soon become entitled to under a new federal rule designed to ensure they’re paid equitably. […]

The rule change is likely to prove especially challenging for small, private colleges, already facing tight budgets, and campuses outside major urban areas, where living costs and salaries are lower and more employees may be affected. Given how many small, rural colleges are already struggling financially, the new rule “has created some really grave concerns on the part of a number of administrators about the type of impact it’s going to have,” says James H. Newberry Jr., a lawyer who counsels colleges.

This is a case study in the self-contradictions of progressive governance that are becoming increasingly widespread as the Left becomes more assertive even as the blue social model breaks down. Affordable housing proposals are stymied by the necessity of appeasing construction workers’ unions; efforts to bring more less-skilled minorities into the workforce are at odds with radical minimum wage hikes; and now the cause of college affordability is threatened by a particularly aggressive Labor Department overtime mandate.

It may be that some or all of these tradeoffs are worth accepting. But they nonetheless illustrate the fact that the orthodox blue model agenda is struggling to remain politically coherent, and that its internal inconsistencies cannot be papered over forever.

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