Posner and Becker each argue for market-based tuition loans to college students. But both poltical parties and their presidential candidates as well as most of the popular media argue that these loans should be below market. "I cannot afford college" is often the extent of the argument. Therefore everyone else should be coerced into subsidizing it.
Most of the electorate goes along. There are now more families with a keen interest in subsidized college tuition than ever.
But was it always this simple? Did major resource reallocations always simply go with the politics of the day? Apparently not.
I am greatly enjoying The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom, by Robert A. Levy and William Mellor. (The Preface by Richard A. Epstein alone is worth the price of admission.)
The executive and legislative branches can be expected to push for expanded authority. That is their nature. This is why it takes an engaged judiciary to look beyond politics -- and to get over the idea that they are there to implement "good policy", whatever that is. Levy and Mellor claim that (roughly speaking) we once had such a judiciary. But that was before the dirty dozen.