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A California Trend Worth Catching: College for All

A California Trend Worth Catching: College for All

Chuck Collins

California can be an annoyingly trendy state. Think avocado toast, In-N-Out Burger, Hollywood fashion, even legal pot.

But Californians are now in the vanguard to fix the serious problem of how to pay for public higher education.

Over 44 million households in the U.S. are saddled with college debt — $37,000 on average. Together they owe over $1.4 trillion, surpassing credit card debt and auto loans.

In all fairness, it was not just California. Texas state universities were free to in-state residents too. And many southern state U’s were not quite free, but dirt cheap. Virginia Tech was about $1100 a year.

Why could the states have free or very cheap universities 30 years ago but not now? Might the way state universities have been largely privatized and corporatized, while the states and cities slashed their taxes on the rich while steeply raising taxes on the poor (sales and RE taxes) have something to do with it?

US taxes have done nothing but go down-down-down since 1980 when Reagan cut the rate for the top bracket from 70% down to 50%, then to 33% - with only minor ups and downs since then. The cuts overwhelmingly went to the wealthy.


State and local taxes have become highly regressive, with the poor paying a much higher percentage of their income in taxes than the rich. Go here:

California is one of the better states, but is still regressive:

But most states look like this:

And the worst state looks like this:

I’m sure a lawyer can figure out how to keep this tax on property without requiring residency. If they want to move let them move, They still pay the tax.