- The Washington Times - Friday, May 8, 2015

President Obama on Friday called on Congress to close tax loopholes for millionaires and billionaires and use the savings to offer all Americans a higher education, saying that two years of free community college is in “everybody’s interest.”

Speaking at Lake Area Technical Institute’s commencement ceremony in Watertown, South Dakota, the president said community colleges will play an increasingly vital role in the 21st-century economy. Mr. Obama has proposed two years of free community college for everyone, but his plan remains stalled on Capitol Hill.

“I didn’t come here to inspire you. I came here because you, the graduates, inspire me,” the president told the graduating class. “You’ve lived through some of the toughest economic times in your country’s history and you still chose to come here and invest in yourself because you still believe America is a place where you can make it if you try. … With a little hard work, something better is around the bend. And it is that promise that has always set this country apart.”

Mr. Obama has spoken at a number of graduation ceremonies during his time in office, including commencements at Notre Dame, Northwestern University, West Point, and others. He said he chose to visit the small South Dakota technical school this year to underscore his belief that every American deserves at least some higher education, whether it comes at a major university or a small community college.

“Our budgets should reflect that we care about you, and that means giving everybody in America the chance you’ve had here,” he said. “I want to lower the cost of community college to zero … We can’t afford to let striving Americans be priced out of the education they need to get ahead.”

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