the Long of it ........

unintended consequences and other musings

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When Sweeping Changes are just not

re; WSJ 05172010

California’s Money Woes Trigger UC Cuts

The University of California is set to unveil plans for a sweeping financial and administrative overhaul that could reduce annual operating expenses by more than $500 million.

Sounds like Californians are really cutting costs in their bloated state university system – maybe not….

A careful read of the article shows that after five years they hope to achieve an annual savings of 500 Million$ on a run rate of 20 Billion$ per year. This is where journalists (mathematically challenged) need to graph or put the numbers in percentages to put the numbers in perspective. If they achieve the 500M savings in year 5, they would have reduced annual expenses by 2.5% (.5B/20B), hardly worth writing a story about! Is this sweeping changes? To put it in perspective, a Family making 50K$ per year would be cutting expenses by 1,025$/year (one fancy Starbucks coffee/day) – difficult for many families but a debt counselor would not refer to this as a radical cut. Also note that all cutting was done in the admin and purchasing areas – none in the direct academic areas – more evidence that it was not ‘sweeping’.

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