Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Teach Our Children Thrift

Yesterday must have been a pretty tough day to be a Coalition supporter.

The reasons given for the dramatic cuts being made to the education budget are sound. True it is that state revenues are falling, and that cuts are going to have to be made.

And I don't think anyone could argue that the wage bill for the public service is exploding, and, if not reigned in, risks a legacy of endemic deficits.

But why it is that education needs to bear the brunt of the cuts remains unclear.

I've written previously about other places the budget could do with a trim - but powerful groups need to be kept happy. Days like yesterday are the price you pay for looking after power rather than need.

Unlike the cuts being made in Queensland, O'Farrell's cuts usually do not seem petty or vindictive - they are probably better described as universal.

Unsurprisingly, the condemnation to the education cuts has been uniform.

I don't think anyone was fooled by the Coalition pulling the all too common trick of leaking a draconian plan and then quickly "responding to community concerns". They did earn some headlines like the below, but no one is really fooled:
When it comes down to it, the Coalition does have to make cuts somewhere. Revenues are not showing signs of going back up, and expenses do need to be controlled.

But the choice to cut education funding (as opposed to freezing or indexing it, both reasonable enough options) smacks of something a little more sinister.

What remains to be seen whether we will have another last-minute backdown.

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