HBO’s John Oliver has noticed student loan debt. Welcome to the party, John. Just so you know, you missed a few things.

Avi Snyder of National Review:

What John Oliver Forgot to Tell You about Student Debt

Most of Oliver’s viewers are likely living the nightmare that is the student debt crisis, and in between riffs about Lyndon Johnson’s potty-mouth, Oliver made some salient points. But there are a few important things he forgot to mention:

1. Government loans drive up the cost of college. Oliver began his monologue with a short history of how federal student loan programs got started (that’s how LBJ’s uncouth speech came up), but he never mentioned former education secretary Bill Bennett’s famous hypothesis: “Increases in financial aid … have enabled colleges and universities blithely to raise their tuitions, confident that federal loan subsidies would help cushion the increase.” Given the solid evidence we’ve now accumulated showing that Bennett was right, explaining student debt without explaining one of its root causes is like explaining lung cancer without mentioning the risks of smoking.

2. Schools don’t need more government money. Oliver goes on to explain that rising tuition is a consequence of states that have “slashed funding for higher education.” It was unfortunate to watch Oliver repeat one of the classic canards put forth by colleges and universities that refuse to take responsibility for soaring tuition.

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