Tag Archives: Taxpayer

My Political Conceit

This post is about education.

Please do not be fooled by the beginning of this post discussing the “War on Terror” as  it is really about taxpayers subsidising private schools and the often proposed voucher system for schooling.  It seems even the classical liberals who favour such proposal are having a disagreement over the issue.

Written Mid-2007

In March 2003, we decided to tag along again with the United States and invade Iraq as part of the Coalition of the Willing on the War on Terror. We had a number of reasons stated for this invasion, it is difficult to tell if any of them were ever true as the reason for “war” kept changing. Those of us with commonsense easily predicted that it would become the quagmire it is now. It has gone on so long now, and has not done many of the things it intended that no one but a few care about it anymore. You can see most new blog reports about it over at Road to Surfdom. As it is one of the few places that still care. Only a couple of Australians have been injured and only one was by an attack. Most Australians have no connection with involvement in Iraq and don’t care about it at all. Not to mention foreign affairs have always been determined by the Heads of State thus the general populous has no say over it.

Iraq will not be a factor in the upcoming Australian election because we do not have an intolerable death toll and thus it is not a domestic concern. And domestic concerns are what decide elections.

One of the stated reasons for the war on Iraq was the removal of the tyrant dictator Saddam Hussein. For the purposes of this post let us assume that this is true. The war or invasion has achieved this but the following result is the chaos of urban guerilla warfare that was predicted.

Now compare that to my long held view on private education vs. public education.

There’s an argument that’s often made that sending your child to a private school saves taxpayer money – I didn’t get it. It sounds like you are being taxed at a higher rate for sending the child/ren to a private school when you take private school fees into account.

Outside the curriculum private schools shouldn’t receive any public monies.

There is also usually a voucher system proposal in this debate.

Its a voucher worth $x so you can choose to go to either a public or private school.

Or alternatively the government funding private schools beyond the curriculum.

But doesn’t this make both schools public defeating the point of a private enterprise system? Thus making all schools public.

Before continuing I must say I still agree with the intent of that. However I have finally understood how sending a child to a private school saves the taxpayer money because it is a lesser burden on the public school system on having to support that child so in theory allows more money to spent on public school education as the parent is still effectively paying for both school systems, one via tax and the other via choice. The result is good as it initially appears to be with the Saddam Hussein and Iraq example but my problem with this is it is unlikely ever to be the child or children’s parents intent to alleviate the burden on the public school system. Even if a few do have that intent, it is unlikely that a large number of them share that intent.

Whilst I can support the intent of removing Saddam but not the following result, I can support the result of a parent to send to their children to a private school but not their perceived intent.

I cannot see how I can arrive at a synthesis of supporting the intent in Iraq but not the result and the result of private schooling but not the intent. As a result oriented individual I have no choice but to accept that Private Education when applied properly is a good thing.

Update: Dan at Kewpid.net recently addressed a similar issue.

Further Reading: School Vouchers: An Evaluation (pdf)