I Like It—I Just Don’t Want to Pay for It

From a San Francisco Chronicle editorial:

Californians are pleased with the current quality of public higher education, yet they are anxious about the future. They worry about the impact of budget cuts on class offerings, enrollment limits and faculty pay and hours – yet they are unwilling to raise taxes or student fees.

These were among the findings of a survey released today by the Public Policy Institute of California, which found that state residents put great value in higher education, and give high marks to California’s colleges and universities.

The conflict in the voters’ views – they worry about the quality and affordability of higher education, yet are unwilling to dig deeper to pay for it – is mirrored in Sacramento.

This certainly isn’t unique to California. Americans in general are very schizophrenic about the role of government. As them if they think government is too big or taxes too high, and they’ll say yes. Then ask them if they support programs that tend to require higher taxes or more government, and they will also say yes. This has caused problems.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.