Kevin Drum on the 32% rise in student fees approved by UC Regents.

The chart … shows an almost ghostly parallel: adjusted for inflation, UC tuition has gone up 5x since 1980. During the same period, spending on corrections has also gone up 5x. As we spend ever more on warehousing prisoners, we’re forced to make students pay ever more for their education. The two lines track almost exactly.

We used to have the world’s greatest system of higher education and we thrived. Now we have the world’s biggest system of penal institutions and we’re broke. That’s the decision Californians have made over the past 30 years: more prisons and better paid prison guards, but lower taxes and less education. (And not just higher education, either.) It’s hard to think of a stupider allocation of resources. But hey — at least our property taxes are capped! Hooray!

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