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California Tuition Blues: Californians themselves are to blame for spiraling college costs
National Review ^ | 03/15/2012 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 03/15/2012 6:20:56 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

In so-called March in March protests, thousands of students in California universities recently demonstrated in outrage over spiraling tuition costs. At both the California State University and University of California multi-campus systems, tuition hikes in recent years have far exceeded the national average. Meanwhile, universities slash classes, cut key research, and rely even more on exploited and poorly paid part-time lecturers and graduate-student teaching assistants.

Yet against whom, exactly, are these cash-strapped students demonstrating? After all, their college faculties are unionized, largely liberal, and sympathetic to their plight.

Campus administrators likewise want more state money for universities. But, unlike the beleaguered faculty, their numbers by some calculations have increased 221 percent between 1975 and 2008. At CSU, there may be one administrator for every full-time faculty member. Why, then, were not the students calling for their administrators to return to the classroom, and thereby provide additional classes at reduced cost?

Do the students fault the governor and the legislature for unwise spending priorities that have led to funding cuts and tuition hikes? Not really. Governor Jerry Brown is a liberal Democrat. Both the state senate and the state assembly are overwhelmingly Democratic — and have been for years. In fact, state officials largely spoke in favor of the student protests.

Are the students instead angry at the state’s public employees, who on average make more and are better pensioned than their counterparts in other states? Or do protesters connect the state’s escalating costs that divert money from universities with California’s massive number of illegal aliens — whether in terms of the soaring costs of social services, billions of dollars sent as remittances to Mexico, or the incarceration costs of 30,000 Mexican nationals in the state prison system?

Does state money allotted to other discretionary areas, from things like preliminary funding for envisioned high-speed rail to restoring salmon in the state rivers, come at the expense of students?

The cash-strapped protesters would probably not think so. Instead, they seem to believe that the causes of all their troubles are the proverbial “rich” who are not “paying their fair share.”

True, in California any new taxes must be approved by a supermajority of two-thirds of the representatives in the legislature. But that impediment to hiking taxes was passed years ago, and through a popular ballot proposition as a grassroots reaction to perceived out-of-control taxes. In fact, while the governor is currently seeking ways to raise sales taxes and to hike taxes on the higher incomes, California’s gas, sales, and income taxes are already among the highest in the nation.

Just 1 percent of California taxpayers are already providing 45 percent of the state’s income-tax revenue. And such income taxes now fund half the budget.

But unfortunately, in recent years the number of upper-income earners in California has radically shrunk — by a third between 2007 and 2009 alone. Apparently, wealthy Californians are either fleeing to nearby no-income-tax states or have become less well-off after years of economic downturn, higher taxes, and overregulation of business. Meanwhile, the number of California’s Medicaid recipients grew at 70 percent of the general population increase over the last two decades.

In short, there are no longer enough rich Californians to tax further to make up the state shortfalls. Nor can Californians explain why nearby states, with far less natural riches and without state income taxes, seem to be no worse off than California.

Where, then, lies the solution to the students’ protests? Without a rainy-day reserve fund or a growing economy, there are only a limited number of ways to solve California’s chronic budget problems.

The state can keep cutting its once-generous entitlements and liberal social services, as well as public employees’ salaries, to divert money to its colleges. Or it can keep raising fees for state services. Or it can start creating new material wealth by encouraging development of the state’s vast resources in gas, oil, timber, minerals, and agriculture, whose production has been curtailed in recent years. Or it can lobby the federal government to enforce immigration laws.

Or California can raise taxes across the income spectrum to make up for the diminishing revenue from a vanishing 1 percent.

Yet protesting students would probably believe all those solutions were either unfair or unnecessary. The result is that we are left with mostly liberal students angry at mostly liberal policies of a mostly liberally governed state.

The once-utopian visions of 1970s California — unionized public employees, more state lands off limits, more regulations, higher taxes on the wealthy, vastly expanded social services, de facto open borders — have at last mostly come true, but apparently not in the fashion anticipated by most Californians of those long-ago times. In cash-strapped Greece, when similar things happened, protesters blamed the Germans. But without Germans, whom can Californians blame but themselves?

— Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author of the just-released The End of Sparta


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: academia; aliens; california; college; democrats; liberals; liberalutopia; nannystate; progressives; taxes; tuition

1 posted on 03/15/2012 6:21:03 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
Good article. Libs & many who dont pay attention .....can never connect-the-dots on their
political behavior & voting habits that lead to fiscal failure. Same goes for their choices of known corrupt politicians and wonder why they get thrown under the bus.
2 posted on 03/15/2012 6:40:06 AM PDT by urtax$@work (The only kind of memorial is a Burning memorial !)
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To: SeekAndFind

Everytime the trustees meet, Californians protest and express their position on reducing college costs - but the Board and the unions tell them to go to hell so it is not the vast majority of Californians causing this - it is government and unions.


3 posted on 03/15/2012 6:40:43 AM PDT by edcoil (It is not over until I win.)
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To: SeekAndFind

California will look to Uncle Obama to bail them out again and if he gets re-elected he most certainly will.


4 posted on 03/15/2012 6:48:39 AM PDT by circlecity
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To: SeekAndFind

Supply and demand.

Prices go up so long as enough people are willing to pay them.

Education, per se, is free for the motivated.

A thing is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for it.

Funny, you’d think a student would grasp such simple concepts.


5 posted on 03/15/2012 6:50:16 AM PDT by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com/)
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To: edcoil

No, it is students willing to pay whatever price is charged. If they stop paying, prices will drop in a hurry.


6 posted on 03/15/2012 6:52:35 AM PDT by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com/)
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To: ctdonath2
Funny, you’d think a student would grasp such simple concepts.

Not when everyone and their dog tells you from the time you're three years old that you HAVE to go to college.

Businesses are just as much to blame, too. No college? No thanks.

Some people aspire to be more than dishwashers. It's the world we live in.

7 posted on 03/15/2012 6:53:20 AM PDT by Future Snake Eater (Don't stop. Keep moving!)
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To: SeekAndFind

Too much money chasing too few real educational opportunities.

The excess of money comes from some wrong-headed belief that “education”, in and of itself, is an unmixed blessing. First of all, what is going on in our colleges and universities is more indoctrination than any kind of useful education that prepares the individual with the tools to meet and overcome the challenges that arise in life which nobody could predict.

But more than that, the excess of money available encourages persons who cannot absorb the basics of higher thinking to enroll anyway, only to drop out, now hopelessly in debt and still unable to earn a meaningful wage. The burgeoning student loan debt threatens to become even more vexing than mortgage loan debt, and for much the same reason, the acquired values have dropped far below the cost of acquisition.

So today’s youth (and presumedly the generations to follow) are placed in harm’s way, without means to avert the certain disaster that shall overtake them. Destined to be forever destitute and hopeless, their response will be to become the new proletariat, sullen and secretly fuming at what fate has handed them.

Some, of course, will beat all the odds and actually acquire a real education, and have the capability to parlay that fund of ability and native inquiry into a decent, even excellent, living for themselves.

At which point this newly minted and certified clever few become the object of the wrath of the many now disenfranchised cohorts, who strike with a righteous rage and absolutely no coherent reasoning power whatsoever, pulling down whatever feeble gains made against the widening chaos at every hand.

The John Galts disappear into their redoubts and keeps, until the storm has passed. Even then, it may not be safe to venture forth, as the age of unreason shall die only with the last of the proletariat.

The proletariat are still among us.


8 posted on 03/15/2012 6:54:01 AM PDT by alloysteel (College "education" may be the worst mischief to be inflicted upon the next generation.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Just 1 percent of California taxpayers are already providing 45 percent of the state’s income-tax revenue.

Wow!

In short, there are no longer enough rich Californians to tax further to make up the state shortfalls. Nor can Californians explain why nearby states, with far less natural riches and without state income taxes, seem to be no worse off than California.

These students are pretty stupid if they can't figure it out.

The result is that we are left with mostly liberal students angry at mostly liberal policies of a mostly liberally governed state.

Once again proving that liberals are nothing more than spoiled children.

9 posted on 03/15/2012 7:00:39 AM PDT by Rummyfan (Iraq: it's not about Iraq anymore, it's about the USA!)
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To: Future Snake Eater

Fine, so go. There are options aside from blindly signing up for an untenable bill.

My wife & I have 5 degrees between us (including from Ivy League), owed nothing upon completion, total cost under $100k, with the last one paying her to attend.


10 posted on 03/15/2012 7:02:16 AM PDT by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com/)
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To: SeekAndFind

There it is: the goose that lays the golden eggs! LET’S KILL IT TO GET AN EGG AND MAKE AN OMELETTE!

I quit CA because I could no longer stand the combination of insanity and stupidity which has taken root there.


11 posted on 03/15/2012 7:03:29 AM PDT by freedumb2003 (Spoiler Alert! The secret to Terra Nova: THEY ARE ALL DEAD!!!)
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To: SeekAndFind

>Campus administrators likewise want more state money for universities.

Yes, I bet they do. Give to em. Accelerate the implosion of the whole liberal experiment.


12 posted on 03/15/2012 7:06:48 AM PDT by SgtHooper (The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.)
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To: ctdonath2

You seem to be misunderstanding. I agree with your assessment, but EVERYONE tells kids they MUST go to college. No real guiding on degree programs or skill sets, just “go to college, get a degree, and you’ll be OK.” It’s stupid, it’s counterproductive, but that’s how things are right now. I don’t know what it will take to break the cycle.

Can prices for college ever get too high before parents, students, and companies decide that it’s just not a great idea anymore?


13 posted on 03/15/2012 7:19:14 AM PDT by Future Snake Eater (Don't stop. Keep moving!)
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To: alloysteel
The proletariat are still among us.

True, but not for the reasons usually attributed.

They exist insofar as they will not act on opportunities, will not do the work necessary to reap greater rewards. The only ones holding them down are themselves. Per this discussion, they are the ones who sign up for classes (usually incurring enormous debt) then simply will not do the assigned work needed to demonstrate basic, even minimal, mastery of the material taught. The proletariat in our culture are those who think showing up is enough; they have little/no wealth because they will not create/earn it.

14 posted on 03/15/2012 7:28:15 AM PDT by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com/)
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To: Future Snake Eater

On the large scale: At some point the credit market for tuition will either crash, or foresee a crash and put on the brakes by demanding some indication that the loan will in fact be paid off. Alas, the federal government just took over that market, and is guaranteeing those loans with “if the borrower defaults we’ll just extract the remainder from taxpayers”, so there will be a crash.

On the individual scale: At some point those signing for loans will go “there’s no way I can pay this off, so I’m not going to sign.” Those will succeed, and pass on the viable meme. Those who don’t will self-destruct, perhaps over the course of several generations (”sins of the fathers punished unto the third or fourth generations”) and burn themselves out of the loan system.

Cultural flaws are like disease, rendering the whole ill until either the immune system eradicates the cause and heals, or the patient dies.


15 posted on 03/15/2012 7:37:24 AM PDT by ctdonath2 ($1 meals: http://abuckaplate.blogspot.com/)
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To: SeekAndFind

This country is in dire need of some “comprehensive” tuition “reform”. The Marxists at the “institutions of higher learning” are charging us way too much to indoctrinate our children.


16 posted on 03/15/2012 7:39:00 AM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (“The first lesson you learn as a pollster is that people are stupid." - Dem pollster, Tom Jensen)
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To: ctdonath2
Prices go up so long as enough people are willing to pay them

... or which they could otherwise not afford if not for taxpayers picking up the balance of the inflated costs.

17 posted on 03/15/2012 7:40:36 AM PDT by glennaro
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To: FlingWingFlyer

“This country is in dire need of some “comprehensive” tuition “reform”. The Marxists at the “institutions of higher learning” are charging us way too much to indoctrinate our children.”

#####

Step One, and by far the most important one, would be to get government COMPLETELY out of subsidizing “higher education”.

Subject academia to the rigor of the free market and many of the problems would be on their way to being solved.


18 posted on 03/15/2012 7:43:00 AM PDT by EyeGuy (2012: When the Levee Breaks)
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To: urtax$@work

When I was a kid in the 50’s-early 60’s, California was using free college and other perks to lure people to them - much as Alask and Australia were doing to try to build up the population. It’s mistake was that it attracted so many libs and other “gimme-gimme” folks that, instead of dropping the incentives once population was pumped up, they kept “sweetening the pot” (double entendre on purpose).


19 posted on 03/15/2012 8:03:55 AM PDT by trebb ("If a man will not work, he should not eat" From 2 Thes 3)
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To: SeekAndFind
"The once-utopian visions of 1970s California — "

What a joke!

Remember when the once-Golden State lead the world?????

20 posted on 03/15/2012 8:10:42 AM PDT by Savage Beast ("When even casual sex requires a state welfare program, you're pretty much done for." ~Mark Steyn)
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To: SeekAndFind
California is the rich and pampered kid who inherited everything, squandered everything, and wound up in the gutter.

This is what decadence is: pampered children squandering their inheritance as a large percentage of the population.

When they find themselves in the gutter they wonder what happened.

Only the wisest can prevail over the temptations of luxury.

The rest wind up in the gutter--angry, worthless, groveling, depraved, wallowing in their own stupidity, blaming everyone and everything except themselves and their own stupidity and self-indulgence--and "occupying" somethingorother.

21 posted on 03/15/2012 8:22:12 AM PDT by Savage Beast ("When even casual sex requires a state welfare program, you're pretty much done for." ~Mark Steyn)
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To: ctdonath2
Prices go up so long as enough people are willing to pay them.

Or can get someone else to pay...

22 posted on 03/15/2012 8:29:42 AM PDT by Mr.Unique (EVERYBODY is a RINO. Except me.)
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To: ctdonath2

The disease is so enmeshed in our culture, I don’t hold any hope for the individual scale solution. A system-wide crash is about all I can see fixing the problem.


23 posted on 03/15/2012 8:35:00 AM PDT by Future Snake Eater (Don't stop. Keep moving!)
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To: SeekAndFind
"we are left with mostly liberal students angry at mostly liberal policies of a mostly liberally governed state"

In other words: stupid people.

But we have always known that these people were stupid. If they were not stupid, they would not have embarked on such foolishness in the first place.

"The once-utopian visions of 1970s California — "

I love that!

The once-utopian visions" were doomed from the start by DELUSIONS! SCORN OF TRUTH! Hubris and denial! The stuff of tragedy!

It's always horrible when truth comes crashing down on the delusional!

And the greater the delusion, the greater the resistance to truth! And the greater the tragedy when truth finally shatters the delusions!

What a joke! And every page of history is a blueprint that could have prevented all this!

"whom can Californians blame but themselves?"

No one, of course. But recognizing this requires TRUTH.

And do not expect these delusional fools to confront TRUTH! They will find something or someone to blame for their plight. Fiction is no problem for them.

FOOLS!

24 posted on 03/15/2012 8:41:49 AM PDT by Savage Beast ("When even casual sex requires a state welfare program, you're pretty much done for." ~Mark Steyn)
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To: ctdonath2

Students aren’t and most parents cannot which is why the huge loan balances and people betting these government loans will be forgiven and they are more right then wrong.


25 posted on 03/15/2012 11:14:57 AM PDT by edcoil (It is not over until I win.)
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To: onedoug

Ugh—they are going to tax us for everything.


26 posted on 03/15/2012 1:18:34 PM PDT by windcliff
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