Someone in California Finally Shows Some Intelligence, but then Folds

Harlan Platt
The budget crisis in California affects many aspects of life there. Students attending Santa Monica College suffer from a lack of class offerings. Consequently, some students are unable to graduate or complete certain programs.

Then somebody in California actually considered how to solve a problem rather than giving up or begging for state support which would not be forthcoming. The solution was simple. Offer additional sections of the class in short supply but rather than charge the approved $36 per credit hourly rate actually ask students to pay the full cost of the class, about $180 per credit. Naturally, all hell broke loose. After enduring student protests for nearly a week, the Chancellor of the California community college system forced officials at Santa Monica College to fold -- that is, they could not offer the extra sections. The unintended consequence of this weak action is that students not permitted to pay the extra amounts to take a required or necessary class will not get jobs or will not graduate. No doubt those protesting were not the ones who wanted to take the class. They were just the ones imposing unintended consequences on their peers.

It is surprising and unfortunate how the market model is often rejected as a solution to a resource shortage problem. I hope you will read the chapter in my book, Unintended Consequences: How to Improve of Government, our Businesses, and our Lives, on the impact of government decisions to not permit market rents or market prices to exist. If you are as old as I am you may remember the gasoline lines that all Americans suffered through because bureaucrats refused to allow the price of gasoline to go to its market clearing level. Better that we all suffer than permit the market to work.

Harlan Platt's blog is found at harlanplatt.com/index.html

The budget crisis in California affects many aspects of life there. Students attending Santa Monica College suffer from a lack of class offerings. Consequently, some students are unable to graduate or complete certain programs.

Then somebody in California actually considered how to solve a problem rather than giving up or begging for state support which would not be forthcoming. The solution was simple. Offer additional sections of the class in short supply but rather than charge the approved $36 per credit hourly rate actually ask students to pay the full cost of the class, about $180 per credit. Naturally, all hell broke loose. After enduring student protests for nearly a week, the Chancellor of the California community college system forced officials at Santa Monica College to fold -- that is, they could not offer the extra sections. The unintended consequence of this weak action is that students not permitted to pay the extra amounts to take a required or necessary class will not get jobs or will not graduate. No doubt those protesting were not the ones who wanted to take the class. They were just the ones imposing unintended consequences on their peers.

It is surprising and unfortunate how the market model is often rejected as a solution to a resource shortage problem. I hope you will read the chapter in my book, Unintended Consequences: How to Improve of Government, our Businesses, and our Lives, on the impact of government decisions to not permit market rents or market prices to exist. If you are as old as I am you may remember the gasoline lines that all Americans suffered through because bureaucrats refused to allow the price of gasoline to go to its market clearing level. Better that we all suffer than permit the market to work.

Harlan Platt's blog is found at harlanplatt.com/index.html