Higher Education Living Large
It seems that the university-provided home of the old University of Arkansas at Fayetteville President is not spiffy enough anymore. It will be put up for auction, minimum bid $400,000. The new one under construction (not pictured) will cost $7 million dollars!
The problem with higher education is not the amount of money we give them, it is the amount that they spend. Voters in Arkansas have been asked to pay higher taxes for higher education, and we have. We have been asked to go into more debt and we have. Now we are being asked to vote in a lottery, all of the profits of which will go to higher education. We shouldn't.
Right now we are throwing money at marginal students who would not go to college if they had to use more of their own money to attend and perhaps don't have the tools for college anyway. A lot of those students who never should have gone in the first place spend a year or two throwing taxpayer money away then drop out. Many of those who graduate have to move out of state to find work. We already turn out more college level graduates than the state has jobs that require a degree. To this extent our universities subsidize surrounding states at the expense of our taxpayers.
The lottery will drain money from some of the poorest, most desperate people in this state so that university presidents can have gold-plated faucets in their seven million dollar mansions. When it comes time to spend funds to clean up the terrible social costs associated with gambling don't expect the lottery that made the mess to chip in. The proceeds from the proposed lottery are 100% earmarked for higher education. The bill to clean up the mess will be passed to the rest of us.
This lottery proposal is rotten to the core. At a time when most of us are having to cut back, colleges are getting more cash than ever. If they lack funds, it is only because they manage to spend it even faster than we shovel it in to them. Universities don't need more money, and working families don't need less.