Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Eating The Seed Corn

Via Atrios, this news from Pennsylvania:
Pennsylvania's state universities would take another big funding cut under Gov. Corbett's 2012-13 budget proposal to be released Tuesday morning, according to sources familiar with the plan.
The 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, including West Chester and Cheyney, would see their state funding cut 20 percent under Corbett's proposed budget as of Monday, sources confirmed.
The four state-related universities - Temple, Penn State, Lincoln, and the University of Pittsburgh - would be cut 30 percent, sources said.
The proposed cuts follow a substantial decrease in funding to the state universities in the current year that led to tuition increases at all 18 schools, as well as a recently announced midyear, 5 percent retraction of funding.
"For the second year, we're going to force universities to raise tuition at a time when we should make access to education affordable," said Sen. Larry Farnese (D., Phila.) of the Republican governor's budget.
The governor last year proposed a 50 percent cut in funding to the state-related universities; ultimately a 19 percent cut was adopted after negotiations with the General Assembly.
"I don't know if the governor will do what he did last year - come out with a large number hoping he gets half of it," said Art Hochner, president of the 1,350-member Temple faculty union.

The governor probably expects smaller cuts than that. But it's still eating the seed corn and at a time when all this turns into another suck to keep the economic depression going. Besides, many young people can't find jobs right now so consider college as an option. The cuts make that less available.

I don't get the Republican thinking on this. First they tell us that the U.S. must stay competitive against China and India and so on. Then they decide to cut back on spending on higher education which makes it pretty hard for the U.S. to stay competitive with those countries. Unless the plan is to really lower wages here. Hmm.