Tax the rich, educate the masses

Joseph Glatzer

The California State University system (CSU) is in a state of crisis.’ The latest California state budget leaves the CSUs with $600 million below operational needs for the 2009-2010 academic year.’ We can look forward to: lowered enrollment (because it wasn’t hard enough to get an education already), higher fees (because we’re not paying enough already), and fewer classes being offered in the fall (because it’s just been too easy to get into the classes you needed in the past).’ I’m already feeling the effect of the reduced state budget. My state and local government class was cancelled in the summer and I know many friends had similar experiences.’

There is supposedly $537 million in federal stimulus funds coming to the CSUs, but how do we know it’s going to be spent wisely on the students and not on useless construction for new buildings no one cares about?’ Why is CSUN building a new Performing Arts Center? What’s wrong with wherever performing arts are done now?’ It can be hard to find the time to enjoy performing arts when you have to drop out of college because you have to choose between paying rent and paying tuition.’ Although this Performing Arts Center project was funded by a state bond measure and not the state budget, the question still should be raised as to where our priorities lie.

Wouldn’t that money be better spent keeping the countless summer classes that were cancelled, leaving many hanging out to dry with no fallback option?’ Why isn’t there a state bond measure to decrease class size, offer more classes at more times, just in case you can’t be at school at 8am on a Saturday for the one section of the class you need is offered?’ Then arises the question as to why there’s never enough money for schools.

Corporate welfare is killing California schools.’ The money just isn’t there, because of tax breaks for the wealthy and well connected.’ In the latest California budget, there was $1 billion in tax cuts for California businesses.’ Think about what that does to our public education system.’ Now, there will be an additional billion dollars missing from the State Treasury, which is going straight into the pockets of the rich and selfish among us.’
With all the budget cuts and fee increase, it’s hard to see how the rich get away with this.

By watching events unfold, it’s easy to conclude that political connections are benefiting them. These connections are established by donating large sums of money to causes, campaigns, or events held by politicians.’ The politicians, in an unspoken but well understood agreement, return the favor by looking out for the interests of the rich in their legislative duties.’ They give them tax cuts, defend them by saying they are ‘creating jobs’ for the rest of us and promise if we give the rich enough of our money the wealth will ‘trickle down’ to the rest of us.

People have systemically been convinced that taxes are their enemy and if you want to be truly free than you need lower taxes.’ Thus, we fight for lower taxes even though we predominately don’t benefit from it.

When you elect politicians that are accountable to the electorate, government does work for the people.’ When we are lazy and constantly complain here and there about how much the CSUN summer schedule sucks, nothing changes.’ Taxes go to pay for schools.

They provide services to society, services like a college education that we alone, with the same $15 that was taken out of our paycheck, would never be able to pay for.’ No one likes paying taxes, but everyone likes the services they expect from the government.

I’ll leave you with a couple of startling facts from an interview from the SocialistWorker Web site with the late Peter Camejo, lifelong political activist and former Green Party candidate for California governor: ‘The poor in California–that is the bottom 20 percent–pay a 57 percent higher tax rate than the richest 1 percent’hellip; Fifty-two percent of the corporations in California that are profitable pay no taxes. They pay only an $800 annual fee.’

Access to education is a human right, and we have to fight for it.’ We have to wage class warfare against the rich, because they have been doing a pretty good job winning the one-sided battle for the last 30 years or so.’ Don’t take budget cuts and cancelled classes lying down.’ Do something.’ Turn off your TV and start fighting back.