Where is modern civilization heading?

As a society are we heading in the same direction as the ancient Romans? If so the question becomes.......

Are our leaders fiddling while civilization burns?

While we ponder the question I will post my personal thoughts on this blog. Often I will focus on current events that catch my interest, however I am not and do not pretend to be a news organization. I'm simply a guy with his own thoughts on issues that I believe affect our country and society.

Be forewarned, I have been accused of being a right wing thinker and if that is offensive please move on. Remember, this is my blog and my opinions, and unlike many facets of our already over-governed modern society they are not being forced on anyone.

However, please feel free to leave your comments, good, bad or indifferent, after all this is a free society we live in (at least for now).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trust the Liberals to look a gift horse in the mouth....

At times it strikes me that some on the Left will never truly be happy until all of us are equal in their eyes, equally poor, equally as dependent on government, and equally educated at whatever level they deem sufficient for us common folk. Most importantly they appear to find distasteful the very idea that any individual through hard work, personal risk, and diligence might be in a position to provide a better life for themselves and their family.

Case in point, Alberta MLA and Liberal Education Critic Kent Hehr has presented a motion that would see the elimination of all government funding to private schools in Alberta.

“There is a place for private schools in Alberta, I just don’t think the government should be funding them,” says Hehr. “Government money should be allocated to government institutions, like public schools. We could channel millions to our public education system if we stopped designating dollars to private schools.”

“Public dollars continue to go into the wrong pockets and it needs to stop. By eliminating private school funding we ensure taxpayers dollars land where they are needed, our public education system,” says Hehr.

Now while the above makes for a great sound bite and fits well into the Liberal parties portrayal of themselves as the only party that truly cares about people, it overlooks a couple of pertinent facts.

-First, although the government does provide funding to private schools it does so only to 60% of the base level it provide public schools. In simple terms this means that every student in a private school saves the government 40% over what it would cost to educate that same student in the public system.

- Secondly, the parents of students in private schools are taxpayers who pay municipal property taxes which include an education tax portion based on assessment value that the municipality forwards to the province. Point being is that the parents of private school students are contributing eduction taxes just like the rest of us, however when it comes to the return they receive on their investment it is 40% less than what parents of students in public schools receive. So in fact, they are subsidizing the public school system.

-Last but not least, parents in private schools pay tuition fees to those private schools over and above the education taxes they pay into the public coffers. I imagine they are willing to pay this premium because they view it as an investment in their children's future.

The bottom line is that if Mr Hehr actually did his math he would realize that funding the private school system saves the province money to the tune of 40% on every student that attends one.

The real question Mr Hehr should ask is why do some parents feel the need to send their children to a private school at a premium price. What is lacking in the public school system?

Now let us imagine that Mr Hehr gets his wish and all government funding to private schools is stopped completely and as a result these schools no longer prove financially viable. That would leave all of these students going into the public system, however based on the funding saved the public system would have a shortfall. Remember, these students were only funded to 60% of the base level of public school students when they attended private schools so that would leave the government having to find the additional 40% per head. Unfortunately I suspect that this would not be a priority in the reality of ongoing government deficits, so the end result would be less money spent per student in the public system.

My suggestion is that maybe Mr Hehr should have attended a private school, as apparently the public system fell short on his math education. Or maybe he is a lot smarter than I've given him credit for and he is gambling that if the governments funding of private schools was pulled that the students parents would simply ante up the entire cost of a private education. This would prove a win/win situation for the government, they save the funding while incurring no extra cost. Very sneaky Mr Hehr, but not surprising from a Liberal.

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