There have been a lot of reasons given why Labour’s cynically blatant election bribe is bad.
The economy is headed into recession and the books have been opened to show just how fiscally responsible Cullen really has been (not very, it appears) and as everyone is doing some belt tightening out comes Labour with universal student benefits.
No one whom this policy is aimed at, students and their parents, is going to turn down a free lunch, self interest is too strong.
I personally think the reason this is a dreadful policy is because it creates a culture of dependence on the state. Once again we are bringing up people with a sense of entitlement that will be near impossible to shake in the future.
In a country that struggles to house and feed the poor and disadvantaged, has waiting lines of people waiting for quite basic operations and struggles with major infrastructure needs, Labour think it’s smart to finance the privileged few through university into above average wages on the backs of the majority of tax payers who don’t enjoy such advantages, is this meant to be fair or equatable?
If Labour thinks that having a degree somehow confers instant success on individuals, then maybe we could just shortcut the process and the Government could print out and issue degrees en mass.
These sorts of policy miss the point, and attempt to hide the reality of the inescapable bell curve. If everyone has degrees then the value of said degrees and the affect on someones earning power reduces. The more people the government shoves through university by dumbing down requirements and making it ‘free’, the higher the number of graduates and the lower the value employers will put on the degrees. It’s also painfully obvious to employers that the bit of paper with “degree” printed on it doesn’t mean that the person applying for the job is literate, intelligent or of a standard that a graduate would have been 20 years ago.
It’s already apparent in the real world. As student numbers have increased and the numbers of people flooding into the work force with degrees increases, so the average salary and job status of graduates has reduced. A degree is seen as a standard requirement for lots of pretty mundane jobs with salaries of $35-45,000 pa. Hardly a good return for your substantial student loan.
So the solution is to reduce the level of borrowing but pouring tax payers dollars into the mix. The obvious affect will be that more students will make that decision and be less choosy about the courses and the likely employment options at the end of it, because you and I are paying for it, not them.
These students will develop a sense of entitlement and dependency on the state, that somehow they are not required to take financial responsibly for their choices and that the ‘government’ (i.e. you and I as taxpayers) will come along and finance them through University into a nice, highly paid job.
A cynical person might look at such a irresponsible policy and think that Labour were trying to create themselves a long term voter base – those, along with public servants, ‘teachers’ and health professionals, who will be beholden to Labour’s largess.