In our review of Thomas Sowell's new book Intellectuals and Society, and in a subsequent comment on a New York Times editorial, we've been discussing the appropriateness of the comparison between government spending on education and on prisons. Now Governor Schwarzenegger of California seems to buy in to the idea that they need to stay in some sort of balance; the New York Times reports that the governor will "push for a constitutional amendment prohibiting the percentage of the state budget earmarked for prisons from exceeding what is set aside for its public university system." While Mr. Schwarzenegger seems to want to privatize some of the prisons, he also seems to be missing an essential point, which is that criminal justice is a core responsibility of the state, while higher education is a responsibility that can be undertaken by private institutions, albeit with some government subsidies. To give a concrete example: In-state tuition at U.C. Berkeley Law School is $35,907, while at Stanford it is $42,420. Why should the Stanford students and professors be taxed by the state of California to help a competing institution provide tuition at below-market rates? And why should a California farm worker or taxi driver or prison guard be taxed to help pay for the education of some U.C. Berkeley law student who is going to end up making $180,000 or thereabouts as a first-year law firm associate? It's a reverse Robin-Hood.
Prisons Versus Schools
by Editor | Related Topics: Non-Profits, Reverse Robin-Hood receive the latest by email: subscribe to the free futureofcapitalism.com mailing list