Making Coeds Cry

Like Jabba the Hutt, whose only purpose was to give George
Lucas an excuse to put Princess
Leia in a slave bikini
, this year’s $1 billion budget deficit seems only to
exist to further divide a legislature already spoiling for a fight. And much
like the epic struggle between Empire and the Rebellion, the battles are pretty
damn fun to watch, but the fallout is pretty painful for
those affected by the proposed cuts.

Now, there are any number of groups making their case to the
legislature, whining and mewling like the drunken
babies Arne Carlson is trying to preserve funding for
as the state
government digs deep for beer money. And while it’s tempting to sit back and
laugh at the knee-jerk responses that treat the former governor as if he were
just another political opponent running for office, accusing him of supporting
tax increases and questioning the size of his genitalia, there are more
important things at stake here.

Among many others, our state’s system of universities is particularly hard hit
under the proposed budget cuts and faces having $54 million
summarily hacked from its coffers. $27 million of this money will come directly
from the U. University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks has stated that
such cuts could well raise tuition, reduce the university’s ability to invest
in research and technology, and force the University Extension Service to start
selling the primo weed the master
gardeners have been growing (for purely medical purposes) to cover expenses.

Strangely, the response to these issues was to call the
university fat, and accuse it of carrying too
much dead weight in the administration
, saying that dropping a few pounds
would do it some good. Now, the state government would seem to not have much
room to talk in that regard, but rather than comparing one group’s Rikki Lake
to another’s Kirstie Allie, we can do some quick and dirty analysis. Ohio
State, a Big 10 school much like the U and roughly on par in terms of student
population, had expenditures of more than $4 billion last fiscal year. The U,
in comparison, is operating with around $2.5 billion. OSU, of course, charges
nearly $6,000 per year for tuition at the least, while the U charts in about
$1,300 less and is already falling behind in research rankings. So maybe further
starving Ms. Lake isn’t wise. She looks thin enough as it is.

Of course, the true victims here are the coeds of the
university system. Everyone knows the hale and hearty Minnesotan male will be
able to hunt food to
survive
when tuition rises and they’re no longer able to afford a quality
education. However, the gentle females of our fair state, still in need of an
education to survive, will turn to stripping and prostitution to pay their
tuition and buy enough beer to make sleeping with the males left at the
university moderately palatable. They will flood the Warehouse District in
competition for the limited funds available in our economic downturn and lure
our congressional leaders into sensibly priced motel room trysts — because charging Emperor’s Club prices just wouldn’t be right for a nice Lutheran girl.

With this phenomenon will come inevitable moral and economic
decay, our great cities deteriorating until we’ve become nothing more than a
poor man’s Amsterdam – albeit with shitty mass transit and more difficult
access to quality recreational pharmaceuticals. $54 million seems a small price
to pay to avoid such a fate.

Just as disturbing is the potential assault on the
criminal justice system. $11.9 million of the proposed $16.52 million in public
safety cuts is aimed directly at reductions in budgets for courts and public
defenders. The right to a fair trial is quickly sauntering toward a brutal slaughter.

Caseloads are at an all-time high for the state’s public
defenders – sitting at twice the ABA’s standards. Now, when the Board of Public
Defense was already looking at a deficit of $2.1 million dollars, the proposed
cuts put them even further in the hole – at $4.8 million. And since the office
has already instituted a hiring freeze and cut administrative staff, all that’s
left is lawyers. According to the Talmud, that’s one of the portents of the
coming apocalypse.

Now, in the case of an apocalypse, tradition says the
moral few would be whisked away
. But those of left behind may still be
thinking that our public defenders will be so harried we may see more criminals
put away. But along with that possibility comes longer waits for trials, so the
accused are out on the streets longer. Not to mention the increased chance of
success on appeal, mistrials, and other assorted legal entertainments of the
sort most Minnesotans have heretofore only enjoyed whilst watching omnipresent Law & Order reruns on
TBS.

Now, these are dire predictions, to be sure. But take heart,
fellow tundra-dwellers. The DFL majority in the legislature is eager to score
points with you by restoring quality legal services and ensuring our state’s
ample population of drunken coeds give it away to drunken frat boys, not
well-heeled legislators like the Sex
Hog
. Just do your best to ignore their attempts at raising taxes to pay for
all of it.

Or, like me, you can just pray for a robot
uprising
.