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Saturday, November 26, 2011

We Don't Need No Edukashion


Pink Floyd once famously sang "We don't need no education":

After reading today's Guardian's Q+A with David Cameron, I'm fast becoming convinced that he's as thick as another brick in the wall.

It would be an interesting albeit time-wasting exercise to analyse all his responses, so I'm going to focus on just one of the questions, from the film director Mike Leigh:

What is your moral justification for the state not providing free further education for everybody, and for the principle of student loans? And I do want to hear your moral reasoning: not any economic, political or historic excuses.
"I think there is a strong moral case for this, which is the evidence that going to university brings a benefit to that individual person over the course of the rest of their life. Therefore, I think it is morally right that they make a contribution to the cost of that course, which is what our fees policy does. And I think it would be morally wrong to ask the taxpayer to bear all of the burden of that cost, not least because there are many taxpayers who don't go to university who don't have that benefit."

Last year, Channel 4's Factcheck asked "do graduates earn 100,000 more than non-graduates?"

The answer is yes, over their working lives they earn £100,000 (net of tax, or £120,000 gross) more than non-grads.

OK, so that means they're paying £20,000 more income tax over their life than non-grads. Not including their extra National Insurance contributions (from them and their employers). They're also paying VAT on all taxable purchases made with that extra £100,000 income, that's another £10,000, say, bringing the tax differential up to around £30,000. The article cites a typical student debt of £25,000 to pay off with that extra income. But the extra tax they pay already pays for their education!

Back to Cameron:

"going to university brings a benefit to that individual person over the course of the rest of their life"
...
"I think it would be morally wrong to ask the taxpayer to bear all of the burden of that cost, not least because there are many taxpayers who don't go to university who don't have that benefit"

Note what he does not say. He doesn't even hint that their education might be of value to society, that we all win from educating our children. Presumably doctors, nurses, engineers, scientists, teachers, lawyers, judges, etc are of zero value to society, and don't deserve to earn more than the non-educated. Unlike his chums the banksters and businessmen, who are entitled to every penny they can grab, with bonus points if some of their wealth comes from tax-avoidance and government bailouts.

It would appear that he, like his infamous predecessor Margaret Thatcher, is convinced that there is no such thing as society.

It's difficult to feel anything but contempt for him and his arrogant attitudes, policies, and government.


Posted by Phil at 2:33 PM
Edited on: Saturday, November 26, 2011 3:05 PM
Categories: Comment