November 20, 2009

The End of the Entitlement Road

Justin Katz

Is this astonishing video of a protest turned near riot related to a wrongfully imprisoned innocent, wanton murder of grandmothers, or government confiscation of children? Nope. It's over a proposed 32% tuition increase for the University of California system. It's a symptom of the inevitable collapse of a society built on an entitlement mindset.

Don't get me wrong. Such increases create real hardships and truly disrupt people's lives — and their plans for their lives. But intimidating administrators who have only so many dollars to allocate and declaring that it's "our university" only avoids the broader questions about how the situation came to be. What decisions have California and the United States made to create these circumstances?

UCLA Political Science Professor Mark Sawyer's point is true enough:

Sawyer said he is angry over the 9 to 10 percent salary cut he's taken because of mandatory furloughs. But he said he worries more for the status of the university system as a place for affordable education and how it will affect the "future leaders" of the country.

"I'm also worried about the mission of a public institution," Sawyer said. "It's a gateway to the middle class and to building the California economy and the nation's economy, and these institutions are where that all happens."

It might be too much for which to hope, but perhaps this era of hardship will remind Americans that they can't simply declare everything to be a priority. Either we can have loose immigration laws, or we can pay public university professors well. Either we can subsidize healthcare and retirement, or we can subsidize young adults' educations. Either we can regulate industry to the fine detail of our every preference, or we can hold open gateways to individual economic advancement. (Right-wingers will note that the protest sign pictured at the second link advertises for the AFL-CIO.)

In actuality, the long run may prove there to have been only one option, as a failure to build a self-propelling society (rather, a failure to allow it to build itself) undermines our ability to give resources away.

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After watching the video it seems to me that the producer framed it with his "near riot" comment. So much for amateur journalism. He seems to have believed he had a scoop and was quite excited. The viewer, though, should consider the source when viewing yo utube- or consider that you do not know the source. Justin, you saw a near riot? Maybe you wanted to see a near riot. If the protest in that video was being held by the tea party, your post would probably be about the slanted news coverage.
Students and labor protest a 32% increase and you portray them as crybabies with their entitlements. They shouldn't protest that? They should just take it?

Posted by: David S at November 20, 2009 7:34 AM

David, you have to remember: only teabaggers are allowed to protest - they're patriots. The rest are all radical insurrectionists.
Raging entitlement is not the monopoly of one side of the political spectrum.

Posted by: rhody at November 20, 2009 9:42 AM

rhody, you are so transparently clueless.

This isn't about being entitled to protest. This is about people like you, thinking you are entitled to the hard-earned money, of people like me.

If people like me (teabagger if you will) don't put a stop to this now, people like you are going to go apes**t when there's nothing left to hand out!

Teaparty protests are spritited, but civil. People who are about to lose their free-ride-on-the-taxpayer's-back gig are the ones who always go violent. I call them thugs. I call their leaders, stupid liberals.

Posted by: George at November 20, 2009 9:55 AM

It is okay to protest tax increases but not okay to protest tuition increases. That makes total sense to me. I guess I shouldn't protest when I can't afford to go to college and earn a degree so that i can get a great job, but if my property tax goes up i can protest. Holy hypocrits katzman.

Posted by: Sticky budz at November 20, 2009 11:27 AM

What is being missed in this whole conversation is the fact that state university students in California have paid extremely low tuition rates compared to students in other state's university for years. I looked into a student exchange program about 4 years ago during undergrad work, for Cali students to go to a state school they payed around 3500-4k total. Now I understand the anger and difficulty a 35% rate increase brings, however its useful to put into perspective and realize that the states education program for decades has cost the citizen much less than a state such as RI. What also truely bothered me was the brown type liberal know it alls that i've seen get interviewed, always discussing socio-economic class in a third person sort of detached way. Classic uppercrust commenting on economic hardships they know nothing about. Whats missed is in our own state, rates have increased for state schools by close margins but over a period of a few years. For comparison, in 2004 tuition plus required fees at URI cost roughly 7500. This current year, it runs 10600. So in five years, we see a 3k increase which without doing math is roughly in the 40percent range of increase. Yet why put things into perspective and look at them in context?

Posted by: steadman at November 20, 2009 11:57 AM

George, I wouldn't want to be you the day you wake up and realize the teabaggers are being exploited by corporate interests. It'll happen only as long as you allow it to.
Let us return to those thrilling days of yesteryear - a Munich beer hall in 1923.

Posted by: rhody at November 20, 2009 12:55 PM

Just listen to the moronic logic being put forth by the stupid liberals here.
One group is protesting the taking of something they have worked for and earned.
The other is protesting the taking of something they are being given.
That pretty much sums up the clashing class differences that are present in RI today. We have the lazy, sucking, stupid, freeloading pigs vs. the working stiffs that pay for eveything the lazy, sucking, stupid, freeloading pigs want.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at November 20, 2009 1:42 PM

Agreed, what exactly is a "near riot?" I saw angry students showing restraint, even while facing swinging batons. Good to see I'm not the only one who found that framing odd.

For the record, Justin, here's what Jefferson thought about what you snidely deride as the "inevitable collapse of a society built on an entitlement mindset."

I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.
Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820.
The tax which will be paid for [the] purpose [of education] is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.
Thomas Jefferson to George Wythe, 1786.
Posted by: Russ at November 20, 2009 1:53 PM

Either we can regulate industry to the fine detail of our every preference, or we can hold open gateways to individual economic advancement.

The above was written by that wordsmith himself. If "we" had regulated the financial industry and some of their more exotic products of the last few years maybe "we" would not be forced into terrible choices about affordable education and healthcare.

Posted by: Phil at November 21, 2009 6:08 AM

"One group is protesting the taking of something they have worked for and earned.

The other is protesting the taking of something they are being given."


And ditto what Steadman said about the extreme reasonableness of California's in-state college tuition rates.

Posted by: Monique at November 21, 2009 5:57 PM




Posted by: Phil at November 21, 2009 8:26 PM
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