It’s The Stupid Voters Stupid

The budget situating for California Universities is dismal and going to get worse. Of this Steve Lopez writes in Los Angeles Times,

And so it goes in a state run by a governor who has greatly magnified every problem he promised to solve, and a dysfunctional Legislature built to fail because of term limits, politically polarized legislative districts and unstable revenue sources, particularly when the economy is in the dumpster.
It’s nice to see that students have awakened and begun marching on campuses, said Dan O’Connor, who chairs the Liberal Studies Department at Long Beach and keeps an empty Scotch tape roll on his desk as a symbol of where he stands.
“But they should be protesting to taxpayers, the governor and the Legislature,” he said.

Pease go read all of Lopez’ column.
As (When?) the State drops below federal minimum support guidelines for higher education funding, some State University presidents want to force the State Legislature and governor’s hands by lobbying the federal government to reject any application for guideline waivers so that federal moneys would be cut off. Such a risky tactic may have a short-term benefit but the real problem isn’t in Washington D.C. or even in Sacramento. It’s much closer to home.
Over the years, California voters enacted, largely through voter initiative, multiple changes in our tax and election codes that handcuff our state government and lead our university presidents to consider cutting phone service and asking the federal government to deny moneys to the State as reasonable approaches for stopping the bleeding. Without the handcuffs that voters put on our state government these would be very difficult times. With them, these are impossible times. The taxpayers must undue much of what we have done. Is it likely that we will? Not really. Our culture of personal entitlement makes it much easier to place limitations on government expenditure and process than on one’s own. Perceived personal entitlement always biases attempts to balance individual concerns and community concerns. This built-in cultural hysteresis makes it all the harder to undue such limitations.