University of California students protesting a 32 percent fee hike are pampered brats, writes Ruben Navarrette Jr.
UC-Irvine freshman Suzanne Kordi told the regents in public comment: “This isn’t Wall Street, and the UC students are not here to bail you out. We’re here to get an education. If these fee increases are approved, I will not be able to afford my education.” And Victor Sanchez, president of the UC Student Association, chimed in: “These proposals are egregious, to say the very least. The dreams of so many are being shattered as we speak.”
These kids obviously can’t take a punch. Life is full of disappointments, challenges and setbacks. They had better get used to it.
Michael O’Hare tells students that college isn’t free. Someone — taxpayers or parents or loan-burdened graduate — is going to pay.
One of the less useful tropes of the current California uproar is that “Education should be free!” . . . It is either a silly plea that facts be turned upside down by magic, like “Brussels sprouts should taste good!” or a proposition that it should be offered at a price of zero. Carry all the signs you wish, but education consumes real economic resources, hence has a real cost no matter what its price. So we’re talking about who should pay for whose, and how.
If we were starting from scratch, we might ask students to pay the full cost of their education, “discounted by some estimate of the external benefits the educated provide to all of us,” O’Hare writes. However, the current generation of California adults “receives a big endowment of personal, social, and physical capital” from previous generations; some of that is supposed to be passed on to the next generation. It’s not.
. . . what’s going on in California now is a vast looting of a trust fund, a violation of fiduciary and parental responsibility.
By abruptly raising tuition, California broke a social contract, writes Megan McArdle. Many students and parents “planned their lives around a reasonable expectation of what in-state tuition would be.” Now they face a higher bill with less hope that graduates will be able to get jobs that will enable them to pay off their student loans.
Update: John Fensterwald, father of a non-protesting UC student and my former colleague, thinks the university’s 20 percent budget cuts are worse than the tuition hike. He suggests weekend teach-ins to inform students of how their elders have screwed up the state budget.
They’d learn that their parents elected legislators and governors who let state prisons grow exponentially, at the expense of colleges. They’d learn about another intergenerational gift that will saddle them soon as taxpayers: dangerous levels of state debt and pension liabilities.
His advice: Don’t trust anyone over 30.