July 30, 2017

Solving problems by raising taxes and having bureaucrats have a go at these, only risks to complicate matters further

Sir, Rana Foroohar writes: “College students who manage to graduate do so with the highest average levels of debt in the country, since state funding has been so dramatically cut over the past several years. Meanwhile, roughly half of the population has only a high-school degree, which guarantees them a $15-an-hour future.” “New Hampshire: a tale of two Americas” July 29., strangely in that FT’s Weekend Magazine I do not receive as a subscriber in Maryland, USA.

That begs two sets of questions: First, is not ample availability of student debt a much larger driver of high student debt than lack of state funding? Would university fees be nearly as high if these were not so easily financeable? Is not student debt a business driven more by financial profiteers than by pure educational considerations? If students already find it hard to repay their debt, is it logical for taxpayers to foot that same bill? In short should not higher education be reorganized more in terms of being joint ventures between students and universities?

Second, in these times of robots and automation, how on earth can Foroohar presuppose having more than a high school degree would guarantee the young a more than $15-an-hour future? And if she supports the idea of a $15 an hour minimum wage, what does she suggest to do with all those who with or without high school degree cannot reach up to that bar.

Sir, much of this easy talk of solving coming problems the usual statist way by raising taxes and having bureaucrats have a go at it, only risks to complicate matters much more. As a Venezuelan I know that to prevent social order from breaking down is always better than trying to reconstruct it. We are facing a new world, we now already need decent and worthy unemployments. A universal basic income, funded with real money, which provides a step stool to reach up to the gig economy, seems like the only real, peaceful tool at hands… though of course the redistribution profiteers hate it as it diminishes the value of their franchise.

Foroohar also writes: “My husband… employs cleaners, plumbers and tradesmen, some of whose parents worked in the same jobs for his mother. It’s hard not to think of this as a kind of neo-serfdom, given the lack of other options for those without a college degree.”

Well I am sure that there will come a day, quite soon, when many with a college degree will deeply envy the income of plumbers, especially if these are serving the one percenters.

PS. This article strangely appears only in that FT’s Weekend Magazine I do not receive as a subscriber in Maryland, USA.