Thursday, September 04, 2008

Needs Needs Needs !

Other than protecting the floors when I'm painting the house, and the TV guide, thats what The Age is good for these days - reading about the needs of people.

Socialist elite Kenneth Davidson presents his opinion as informed comment when he wrote this miserable pretentious piece of garbage on "education needs". He says Kevin Rudd's education revolution doesn't go far enough, and the sub-heading says it all:

Disadvantaged schools have desperate needs that aren't being met.

It seems that all you need to do to be a champion representative of "progressive", "modern" government, and to talk about "social justice" is to give a great deal of attention and to incur panic and hysteria that the needs of others are not being met.

Why, needs are so important to the left, that they have to butcher the English language and be redefined as rights. For decades, the progressive agenda of big government and rewarding needs has won over millions of pundits and is in place in every Western social democracy.

The right to a "minimum wage" (even though this prices unskilled people out of work). The right to "university", and the right to "public schools" (even though this imposes thousands of dollars of a tax burden on each tax payer and coercively steals their income. The right "not to be offended by hateful speech". The right to a minimum standard of living and welfare.

Here are some recent ones that have been added to the existing list:
  • The right to good health,
  • The right to free dental checkups
  • The right to new computers in schools
  • The right to child care rebates for parents
  • The right to have new highways
  • The right to access high speed broadband,
  • The right to access telecommunications infrastructure in the bush.
  • The right to a climate that doesn't change
These all sound wonderful and cheery, but they are each an abomination of the English language and are deliberately presented this way to avoid any balanced and rational discussion of an issue.

An ideology that rewards needs will have to redistribute wealth and pass laws restricting freedoms. A government cannot reward or assist anybody with their needs unless they suddenly become charity workers who toil day and night to feed the homeless and to build schools. But governments instead opt to collect hundreds of millions in taxes for every single need they plan to address.

The socialists have shifted the discussion so far from any balanced perspective, that any debate will not possibly be about WHETHER governments should be rewarding needs, but simply how they will reward needs. Kenneth Davidson suggests Kevin Rudd is not rewarding the right kind of needs in schools:
THE Rudd Government's policy promising every school a computer for every two pupils is a cruel joke. In terms of improving the quality of education it is a second or third-order priority. The billion dollars allocated for computers would be better spent on things disadvantaged schools are likely to need: decent lavatories, on-site caretakers and teachers' aides, for a start.

None of these are cheap. Its funny that an advocate of central planner like Davidson thinks that his system of rules can handle priorities though.
Surely a better policy would be to spend a much smaller amount

Yes it would be !! Please continue...
to raise public schools that increasingly draw students from disadvantaged households and neighbourhoods to the level expected by the middle class.

Sigh.. Here we go, more social engineering from our central planners.

Although Davidson continues to plead for more money and more resources to socialised education, at least he highlights some interesting facts:

According to a sober analysis of school funding ..... total government per capita expenditure on students in 2006 was $11,303 for non-government schools and $9252 for government schools.

Damn thats a lot of moolah. Don't you think parents would be better off with $9000 vouchers to spend on any school they like ? Why is money shovelled by the truckload, in ever increasing amounts, to socialised education when the free market always managed to provide an abundance of goods and services that people want, in a competitive manner ?

I agree with Davidson on some points. Education is very expensive, and that new computers for all the schools might not do that much to lift standards.

I disagree with Davidson on every other point. I contend that:
  • Schools are best equipped to spend the money to raise education standards, so long as they receive money from parents and not from bureaucrats.
  • Parents, not politicians, are best informed to select a school that meets their criteria
  • If you are going to use public funds for education, then at least vouchers allow parents to direct the money towards schools that meet their requirements.
  • Central planning ends in disaster. The more regulation, the more corruption and laziness.
But in the end, it is nothing less than theft at gunpoint to force the population to fund a system.

What of those who carefully manage their own finances and choose not to have children because of the expense ?

What happens to the idea that families are in the best place to decide on how to manage their lives and raise children and any effort to interfere or subsidise those costs of living is taking away responsibility and consequences for their actions ?

What of the moral hazard caused by free education, which results in some thoughtless single mothers having many children they could not possibly raise with their finances ?

What of the injustice to those who cannot have children, or those who do have children and pay for the entire costs of their education and upbringing ? Why should they be forced to provide for others ?

One thing is becoming increasingly clear. It should not be the role of government to reward needs. Individuals should address their own needs. Families should address their own *actual* needs. At least in these situations, they are well aware of what those needs are, whether they be food, clothing, education or health.

Private charity is another method to reward the *actual* primary needs of strangers. But government is the wrong approach. It tries to guarantee that the *presented and verbalised* needs of every single stranger will be met, cost be damned. And let me assure you, just as surely as Centrelink spends over $100bil per year, COSTS WILL BE DAMNED !

You see if government rewards everybody's needs, then everybody has an incentive to show that they have needs that are not being met. And we've seen the explosion of Centrelink and many new forms of middle class welfare so that 1/3 of Australia now receive welfare !

There are hazards with rewarding needs through the state. Many more hazards than with rewarding no needs through the state.

In Atlas Shrugged, the wisdom of the main character, John Galt, is summarised with one

"I swear -- by my life and my love of it -- that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."