Oct 232007

In the 1750s Benjamin Franklin was in England, in part to petition for redress of grievances — The Pennsylvania Governor considered himself too special to have to pay taxes, even though he was the richest man in the colony. Eventually we had a Revolution — one that had an impact around the world.

Now the egalitarianism that began in that era is coming undone.

From the WSJ

A law President Bush signed last month drew a lot of attention for trying to make college more affordable for many. Less trumpeted were provisions that support the altruists among us.

The law, signed by President Bush last month, appropriates $20 billion to cut interest rates on certain federal student loans and increase grant aid for low-income students over the next five years. But the College Cost Reduction and Access Act also creates an important incentive for all students to enter fields of public service by offering to forgive what could amount to tens of thousands of dollars of school debt per student.

The legislation broadly defines public service to include a wide range of occupations, such as public health, public education, working for a nonprofit organization and serving in law enforcement or as a public-interest lawyer.

In other words, the members of the governing class are too special to have to pay the full costs. They get special government subsidies that the rest of us don’t get.

This is bad on so many levels. It sets up a situation of government vs the people. It shelters a whole class of people who tend to favor higher taxes from knowledge of the impact that the cost of government has ordinary people. It demeans entrepreneurship in the private sector, the sector that supports the increasing costs of government.

We’re seeing this same sort of thing happening in England, now, too.

From Paul Greenberg

There’ll always be an England, so they say. But you might doubt it after reading about the latest controversy in Parliament. To quote David Stringer’s AP dispatch from London: “British lawmakers have been granted the power to move to the head of the line at restaurants, rest rooms and elevators inside the Houses of Parliament, angering those assistants, researchers, janitors and other workers who must stand and wait.”