Thursday, December 09, 2010

My friend Oli's summing up of the issue of student fees :

You raise taxes against things as a disincentive to consumption (eg. cigarettes, alcohol). If you raise taxes against education, you decrease consumption of it. Is this what you want to be doing when the economy needs to be increasing productivity and creating more high-value products and services to be globally competitive?

It's seductive. I can't help noticing that the same argument could be used to argue that we shouldn't be taxing anything we approve of (eg. paying people salaries). And I'm not sure I want, ultimately, to accept that the arguments for or against education must be reduced to questions of national economic interest. But putting aside such caveats for a moment, I agree.

1 comment:

John Powers said...

Some really smart people online are awfully prickly, and I find Stirling Newberry so. Nonetheless he writes most cogently about taxes. His writing is a bit hard to find. Anyhow here is a brief quote:

"The inconvenient truth is that the global left needs to understand a fundamentally different brief for its strategy. The goal is not fairer distribution of wealth being produced, but a public direction of public resources to change the basic pattern of wealth production. The first step towards this is turning away from the reactionary policy of attempting to take rents using capital, which only burns the resources we need to face problems rather than dumping them on others."