Friday, January 08, 2010

ACT and taxpayer-funded privilege

I have been mulling over ACT's scholarship policy which was under attack yesterday. This isn't the vouchers policy but a scheme Heather Roy pushed through as part of the National/ACT agreement. It wasn't campaigned on. She acquired $2.6 million for 150 scholarships for low socio-economic children to attend private schools.

The question I have been asking myself is what part of a classical liberal philosophy does the policy satisfy? And if ACT isn't a classical liberal party which other principles does this policy fulfil? Isn't it simply an example of taxpayer money being spent on privilege or special interest? There is certainly an argument that it is a better use of taxpayer than many others but is this the track ACT should be going down? Isn't that what leftists are all the time doing? Harnessing taxpayer money for what they believe in?

Personally I would have expected ACT to be encouraging private or charitable enterprises to fund scholarships.

10 comments:

bez said...

That's putting the finger precisely on the spot Lindsay. It's amazing how fast Act seems to be losing all of its principles lately, and it would seem that Heather Roy is often in the thick of it. I sometimes feel Whale wasn't far off when he said that Act better split with part moving back to Labour where they came from, and the example you mention is another indicator of such tendencies. It would appear it may be time for a real classic liberal party to develop.

Rodney Hide said...

School choice has always been ACT's policy.

We need to break the state's monopoly and open education up to choice and competition. Parents should be able to choose their child's school without having to pay twice: once through taxes and again through school fees.

The Aspire scholarships are a start. ACT gets more votes and we can ensure every child gets a scholarship!

The policy of school vouchers follows Milton Friedman's proposal in Capitalism and Freedom (1962) and Thomas Paine's before that.

Lindsay said...

First, any state funding of education is privilege because taxpayers without children subsidise it. But socialists believe education is a collective and public good and should be funded accordingly.

A scholarship or voucher that merely replaces the existing funding (but allows for choice and competition) is neither more nor less privilege. That is a better policy than the status quo.

A scholarship that substantially increases the subsidy to a handful is more privilege.

And in a practical sense I don't think it will endear the voting public to the bigger idea of funding following the child. They only see that the Aspire children are getting an advantage their children are not, yet they are paying for it.

Anonymous said...

It is common sense [ remember Sir Roger's book? ] for all in society to pay for the education of society's young. An uneducated person is a disaster for society. Stop thinking only of yourself and start to think about society as a whole.

Lindsay said...

"Stop thinking only of yourself and start to think about society as a whole."

I endorsed the policy of school vouchers as better than the status quo because it would result in more children getting a better education.

Have you got something to contribute about the Aspire scholarship policy and how it relates to a universal voucher policy?

Anonymous said...

I left school and couldn't read or write thanks to the dynamic teaching methods of my time.

I may not be a brain surgeon or a legal aid lawyer but i sure aint been held back by the lack of opportunity for a formal education.

Life did for me what the system couldn't..

My point being. If one has dreams/ambition or just plain detirmination to be somewhere else, then the worlds a big place and those who seek favour from others will always get left behind. The rest is politics.

Dirk

Anonymous said...

I support the concept of vouchers too :-)
For somebody to leave school illiterate and yet be a success just shows that education doesn't end at school.
It is in everybody's interest that our young be educated to take their place in society. Those who do not have children benefit equally from the absence of the un-educated. It is best explained by the helping hand rather than the crutch and the responsible society needing a responsible populace. You should not be able to 'opt-out' becuase you are not interested in part of our society.
jcuknz

James said...

"It is in everybody's interest that our young be educated to take their place in society. Those who do not have children benefit equally from the absence of the un-educated."

I agree...but that still doesn't justify the violation of peoples rights you also advocate to educate these kids.My life is mine...not theirs.

"It is best explained by the helping hand rather than the crutch and the responsible society needing a responsible populace."

But not by threatening force which you are advocating..

"You should not be able to 'opt-out' becuase you are not interested in part of our society."

Why not? By what right do you want people enslaved (thats what it is)to the needs of others? All individuals have the natural right to liberty which means they can ignore anyone else for whatever reason they please..

Anonymous said...

James ... I err by being cryptic and not refering to what caused me disquiet. Basically the comment that the childless person should not help pay for the education of society's children. To me it is part of being a responsible citizen to share the burden. But I guess by being paid through the PAYE system permits me to ignore the tax I pay, what I get in my hand/bank is my income ... a 'luxury' not enjoyed by the self employed who has to write out the cheques for the IRD and sees their bank balance dwindling. jcuknz

Gekko said...

"To me it is part of being a responsible citizen to share the burden"

That's just your opinion, and one that certainly isn't universally held. Perhaps an equally valid view of responsible citizenship might be that those who incur costs should bear them, albeit with voluntary help from others if and when those others deem it appropriate.

So can you then explain to me why you believe that it is morally ok to back up your opinion with the use of force?