Friday, December 10, 2010

Behold our future

Pay attention to the stories of the violent protests in England as the government tries to implement a 20% across-the-board spending cuts to reverse the deficit left by the Labour government. The real trigger for the protests has been the near-tripling of tuition fees for college.
Student protests have been a vehicle for wider popular resistance to the 20 percent across-the-board cuts in government spending announced by the Cameron government in October, with tens of thousands of young people angered by a doubling, or potentially even a tripling, of government-regulated tuition fees, to a maximum of about $14,200 a year.

Under the new fees, which are to take effect in 2012, many students are expected to accumulate loans of as much as £40,000, about $63,000, during a three-year degree course. Part of what has stoked anger over the increases is that Britain’s universities traditionally charged no tuition fees, with tuition costs met out of taxpayer grants to colleges or endowment funds.
Well, there is the problem right there. Why should students get their tuition fees paid by the taxpayers, many of whom don't have a college education themselves?

We've seen such protests in Greece and France and now England when governments that have spent freely in the past now face the need for austerity. Violent protesters attacking the car of Prince Charles and his wife aren't going to win much support - no matter what people think of the Prince and Camilla, the sight of balaclava-wearing thugs attacking their car and the police protecting them is not going to advance support for having taxpayers continue to pick up the tab for the tuition for such protesters.

And as we digest such pictures, remember that this is our future if some future government has to make similar austerity cuts in our entitlement system here. The senior citizens attacking Dan Rostenkowski will be a pleasant memory compared with what will need to happen at some point in the future.