Let’s say you’re running a local soup kitchen. Each day, you prepare food for the poor using money given by the taxpayer. Sure, it’s plain, but it’s free. Then you have an idea. Why not use a better cut of meat or add a better sauce. It will cost a bit more money, but you start asking the homeless for $1. It seems like an imposition but it’s much cheaper than a real restaurant and so you’re able to convince everyone including yourself that you’re actually doing the world a service. You’re still on the side of the angels.
Then a burst of genius hits you while you’re doing the books. The government used to pay 100% of the costs but now they’re paying say 70-80% because the homeless now pay $1. When you look at it that way, it sure looks like the cheapo taxpayer and the evil governors are cutting back and squeezing the poor.
What’s the solution? If you think like the college industrial complex, you’ll complain about “privatization” and raise the dinner price again. Why? Because the state is paying a smaller and smaller percentage and so the end user must pay.
Now let’s say you turn to the college industrial complex for even more inspiration. What if you take your food kitchen with the gleeming counters bought with taxpayer money to serve the people and kick out the people. Then you start making fancy meals for foreign tourists and you start charging them an outrageous fortune. Then to keep the tourists coming, you offer a kick back to the recruiters who sell the visits to your city. If anyone from the public complains about your turning the food kitchen into your own private high end restaurant for rich 1%ers from overseas, tell them you had no choice because the subsidies have been dropping on a percentage basis. It’s the governor’s fault.
Tamar Lewin at the NY Times brings us the news from the University of Washington where they’re doing just this. 18% of the kids are now from foreign lands. The university is already turning away homegrown valedictorians. But hey, the money is super sweet! Shhh. Don’t tell the taxpayer what they get for all of their investment in the glorious building.