Under the Barbarian

I have an opinion piece at The Nation about the proposed $800 million cuts to the budget of the University of California. Here is how it begins:

In the fall of 2003, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was running for governor of California, he famously told Fox News, “The first thing that you have to do is not worry about should we cut the programs or raise the taxes and all those things.” He did, in fact, appear to worry about these things a great deal, though he seemed consistently to reach the wrong conclusions. Schwarzenegger’s first act in office was to repeal an unpopular but highly effective vehicle-licensing fee, which would have generated $4.2 billion a year and would have helped to close the $8 billion deficit the state was facing. Because of California’s Proposition 13, which requires a two-thirds majority in both legislative houses for any increases in tax rates, the state had very few easy options for increasing its revenue. Now, after five years of Schwarzenegger’s leadership, the deficit has ballooned to $24 billion.

And of course you can read the whole piece at the magazine’s website.