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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mailbag

    The library’s taxing you!

    Dear freshmen: welcome to U of A! You might have come here for all sorts of reasons, one of them hopefully being for learning new, exciting things that will enrich you and give you the skills you need on the market. You should know, in that case, that our university recently decided to put a tax on using the Main Library.

    That’s right. It is true that it is not a direct tax, and you might avoid it if you live on campus or nearby, or if you decide to park your car somewhere further away from the library. But for those of you who like to come in the evenings to the library to do your homework, read or use the computers, the news is that you need to pay for the parking in the Cherry Avenue Garage, the closest available parking to the library.

    This used to be free after 5 p.m. Not anymore. The university might rationalize the decision with things like “”We need money to expand the capacity of the garage,”” “”We need to balance the budget, and this is one way to do it”” or, these days, even with fashionable environmental reasons like, “”We want to keep pollution down and encourage students to bike to the library!””

    Whatever the reason they might invoke, one thing is clear: for the majority of students, the marginal cost of coming to the library in the evening just went up. So the next time you go to a Wildcat football game, be sure you understand that in relative terms, the football games are cheaper compared to studying. Go Wildcats!

    -Adrian Stoian
    Economics graduate student

    Education not a public good

    We are living, thanks to Jimmy Carter, Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan and scores of other statesmen and scholars of the first order, in what our descendants may very well call the age of individual liberty and personal responsibility.

    That people have a responsibility to, if possible, take care of themselves and, as a corollary, are free to choose what they think is best so long as they do not impose costs on others, has been restored as a central American value, with only a reactionary left-wing rump advocating a paternal welfare state.

    Higher education is not a public good in the economists’ sense; it is self-edification, and, as such, it is not unreasonable to expect students and their families to bear its costs, just like their peers at the nation’s hundreds of private colleges. The shortsighted would say that this leaves the poor without opportunity, but more funds – contributed by alumni and members of the community, as at private colleges – would be available for the truly needy and the truly exceptional if less were being spent on a universal benefit.

    Unfortunately, Arizona is stuck with the legacy of the country’s horse-and-buggy-era flirtation with social democracy, in form of a Constitution that requires that higher education be “”as nearly free as possible.”” That’s “”free”” as in “”beer,”” not “”free”” as in “”Tibet.”” The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that this Candyland clause does have some teeth (“”Tuition lawsuit has potential,”” Aug. 27), although the meaning of “”as possible”” is up in the air. Does that mean given the state education budget, or does it mean that the legislature must cut other programs and raise taxes until every student can be a free rider?

    The “”nearly as free as possible”” clause is both vague and silly, and stands as an embarrassment to Arizona. Moreover, it’s contrary to our modern sense of responsibility, especially here in the Goldwater State. It’s time to amend it out of our Constitution and put the matter to rest.

    -Bennett Kalafut
    Physics doctorate student

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