It’s Welcome Week–freshmen are loaded down with swag and more information about acronyms than anyone would care to have. It’s enough to make you start chucking promotional bags out the window (but don’t, because that’s a dorm violation). And the poor freshies are also getting advice from another source: a letter from public policy professor Michael O’Hare about how elderly Californians scammed our generation.

The letter begins on an up note, mentioning how Berkeley is pretty much number one and that whole gambit. But then it starts getting depressing. According to O’Hare the entire incoming class (and presumably the rest of the generation) “have been the victims of a terrible swindle.” O’Hare believes that “Californians now dead or in nursing homes” have chosen to walk “away from their obligations and [spend] what they had inherited on themselves.”

Fighting words, to be sure, and although nothing is explicitly stated, O’Hare clearly believes that Prop 13 had something to do with this. But here’s where it gets really snarky:

Many of your parents took a hike as well, somehow getting the idea that the schools had taken over their duties to keep you learning, or so beat-up working two jobs each and commuting two hours a day to put food on the table that they couldn’t be there for you.

Yee-owch. Sorry, Mom. Guess your stereotypical materialistic suburban lifestyle doesn’t jell with the new professor.

Truthfully, though, all Cal students know there are problems in education that need to be fixed (although, word to the wise, blaming grandma may not be the wisest solution). Still, it’s a new year, and we can do something about our situation. So to the freshmen: it’s not all storm clouds and doomsday prophecies. Do what you can to enjoy your first year. And, oh yeah, welcome to Berkeley.

Image source: Jeff Keen under Creative Commons
A letter to my students [The Reality-Based Community]

Elliotts parents said:
Aug 26, 2010 at 4:11 pm

O’Hare is right & wrong, some parents and grandparents forgot to take care of the environment, spent the tax money saved from Prop 13 and did not save for a rainy day. However not all of them, some recycled & reused whenever possible, supported their parents and/or grandparents while raising their own families, made homemade meals from scratch and taught their children well. Some are blue and some are red and now we can do what is right by paying our fair share.

Berkeley Berkeley said:
Aug 27, 2010 at 6:21 pm

What generation fixed the world for their upcoming young? The majority of elderly inherited NOTHING, just like their children. The vast masses of seniors slogged through life trying to keep a roof over their heads and send their kids to college. We voted in politicians that lied to us, just like today’s generation. Good luck to the young.

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