Memo to Young Californians: You’re Not Wanted Here

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Kimberly Groff

For all the back and forth between Democrats and Republicans over why budget talks broke down, the clearest political message from the negotiations is: we don't give a damn about younger Californians.

That message was sent clearly by both parties. Democrats, without much debate or visible consternation, took an axe to higher education opportunity, cutting $1 billion from the University of California and the California State University. And Republicans successfully fought off temporary tax extensions that would prevent further cuts to higher education and K-12 schools.

Gov. Jerry Brown promised to enact an all-cuts budgets if he couldn't get the tax extensions. If he surrenders as promised, the community college system has made plain that it will be unable to enroll 400,000 students, according to today's Los Angeles Times.

Yes, 400,000. That's not a misprint.

Before the parties complain that this wasn't a choice, look at what both sides were not willing to do. Democrats refused to go along with changes in the pension system for public employees -- a plain choice of the old over the new. Republicans refused to even go along with asking today's voters -- who are mostly older people (average age approaching 60) -- to pay for a better California future.

One often hears complaints in Sacramento that a particular policy will drive people or businesses outside the state. But there seems to be a bipartisan consensus that young Californians who want to educate themselves should leave.

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