Abstract. The following is the first part of a two-part study drawn up by the UC Movement for Efficient Privatization (UCMeP). Part One of this groundbreaking study gives approbation to the Governor’s recent public-relations-stunt-disguised-as-a-budget-proposal (to “support public education” by privatizing the state prison system). Despite their appreciation of the governor’s rhetorical maneuvers, Part Two explains UCMeP’s concern that the proposal unnecessarily pits prisons against universities. UCMeP then unveils an innovative proposal for unifying the privatization projects of education and incarceration in the State of California, calling for the synergistic creation of the world’s first combined university-prison institution, or the Unison©. To conclude, UCMeP details the remarkable and innovative steps administrators at UC Berkeley are already taking towards synergizing education and incarceration.
PART 1: Two Cheers for the Guv
We here at the UC Movement for Efficient Privatization (UCMeP) were cautiously thrilled by the innovative budget plan recently rolled out by our burly hunk of a governor, Mr. Schwarzenegger on Friday, January 8.
Ostensibly in response to the shrill whining and self-serving complaints coming from “concerned” citizens that California spends more on its 170,000 prison inmates (only 1 out of every 200 residents of California) than its students, Arnold and friends unveiled a wonderfully-wily plan that would allow our once-golden state to cut its losses on its multi-decade long prison building spree (what UCMeP has long preferred to call “California’s Long-Term Penal Infrastructural Development and Beautification Project”) by deftly accelerating its plans to de-regulate the incarceration industry into a competitive private venture.
We were especially encouraged by Schwarzenegger’s savvy decision to present this proposal under the inspiringly insidious pretense of “supporting” public education, by effectively swapping the pieces of the state budget pie that the prison system and the universities receive (in Arnie’s new budget, prisons will get no more than 7% of the budget while universities would receive no less than 11%). What a shocking reversal for a guy who during his tenure as governor of California increased spending on prisons by 32% while slashing education funding by a 1/10!
Thankfully, what appears at first glance like a pledge from Arnie to increase ‘public’ funding to the state’s universities, is nothing of the sort. In what follows, we put our our deft and muscly fiscal minds at work to wade through the rhetoric of this remarkably insidious proposal and to find its true (and mostly wonderful) ambitions. In so doing, we offer two cheers for the governor’s proposal:
Cheer #1: Besides the fact that the lobbying power of the pesky prison unions will probably ensure the failure of this lameduck proposal in the legislature, the plan’s guarantee of a higher percentage of the budget for universities doesn’t actually translate to more funds being wasted on state’s public universities (yet alone a restoration of the billions already cut). The proposal only guarantees an increased percentage of the budget and since the exponential slashing and burning of anything reminiscent of social(-ist) services will likely continue along its well-worn two-decade long path, it’s almost impossible to think that the state’s universities will be getting any more money than they already are! Yippee! And even if the proposal does pass, you can find consolation in the fact that its promised draconian cuts to k-12 education and the community college system take screwing over public education to a whole new and ambitious level!
Cheer #2: And as we quickly realized, the governor’s promotion of this ultimately hollow budget restructuring plan as an attempt to “support” public education was actually a brilliant effort to demobilize the violent and extremist terrorist network currently wreaking havoc throughout our state in the name of preserving that wasteful (dis-)service some naively call “public” education. Despite the fact that the proposal doesn’t actually offer anything substantial (let alone tangible) to the universities, this demobilizing endeavor must assuredly be the cause of President Yudof’s “deep appreciation” of the plan. Either that or he just loves the “the Guv’s” excellent choice of almonds and boots (see Yudof’s January 12th tweet of his meeting with Arnie: http://twitter.com/mark_yudof/status/7695906360).
Stay tuned for “Part 2: University + Prison = Unison©”, coming soon!