Ouch. I got the bill for this quarter at the University of California-Los Angeles on Monday. It was ugly. With the budget crisis in California, tuition has been raised. Under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, government is scaling back its activities. I'm going to have to pay more to go to class. But better to endure government cuts than to have Gray Davis back in office.
Gray Davis never understood the idea of controlled government. He was a pure tax-and-spend politician. The main reason Davis got the electoral boot was his tripling of the vehicle license fee. Davis' justification for the increase: The state was out of money. With the general fund running out of money, the taxpayer would have to dig deeper. Unfortunately for Davis, the taxpayer was sick of digging deeper. Davis was soon out of a job.
Gov. Schwarzenegger is a different animal. As soon as he entered office, he terminated the fee increase by executive order. Schwarzenegger also restored money to local governments. In order to pay for that restoration, he invoked his emergency powers, ordering $2.6 billion in local aid and $150 million in cuts.
The public agrees with Schwarzenegger. By the middle of January, Schwarzenegger was enjoying a 52 percent approval rating. Twenty-two percent of Californians felt that Schwarzenegger would "do the right thing" to fix the budget, as opposed to the 9 percent who felt Davis would have done the right thing.
While most Californians -- like me -- are looking forward to government downsizing, some are afraid of losing benefits. Unsurprisingly, those crying the loudest for money from the pockets of others are my fellow college students, the "gimme" generation. A group led by the University of California Student Association and four UC students is suing Gov. Schwarzenegger for repealing the car tax and cutting outreach and labor programs at the University of California.
Many of these outreach programs have admirable goals. None of them deserves state money. Private funding to help "underrepresented" groups reach the UC system is proper and worthwhile. But in a state where the top 4 percent of each high school class automatically are eligible to enter the UC system, race-based outreach should not be subsidized by public dollars.