Friday, July 22, 2005

Putting our money where our mouth is

Jordan mentioned yesterday that a recent survey showed that people were willing to pay higher taxes for education and health. Stuff has a short report on it here, and Massey News has a summary, but to get the real data, you have to go to the source:

Respondents were presented with a range of possible items of government expenditure and asked to choose between "Increasing government spending in each particular area even though this would mean paying higher taxes for this extra spending" or "Cutting government spending in each area and thereby reducing taxes"...

The majority of respondents considered that the government should increase to some degree or greatly increase spending on the health services (87%); the education system (87%); pensions (66%); protecting the environment (61%); job training and assistance for the unemployed (65%); and spending on assistance for people on lower incomes (53%).

They were also asked some more specific questions:

Three-quarters of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the statement "I would agree to an increase in my taxes if the extra money were used to provide a higher standard of living for the old".

The majority of respondents (82%) strongly agreed or agreed with the statement "I would agree to an increase in my taxes if the extra money were used to provide better health services".

Lest anyone suggest that people agree to spending increases regardless, there was far lower support for increased spending on defence, culture, sport, and Maori language, or for specific tax increases for state housing or the repayment of student loan debt. People are quite discriminating on what they feel their money should be going towards.

What does this tell us? Mostly, it backs up the last release from this research group in saying that health and education matter to Kiwis, but it also says more: it says that we are willing to put our money where our mouth is, and are willing to suffer a tax hike in order to advance those values. That's something our political parties should take note of.


I find it depressing that so many people support increased education spending! Increasing spending won't help my daughter one jot and will in fact make her less well off. Why? Because my daughter will be home-schooled and the increase in spending is, of course, going to come out of my taxes, money which I can no longer spend on educating my daughter.

The way we treat children is disgusting. We force them into state run educational institutes where they are fed standardised knowledge by strangers. No matter how well-intentioned, these institutes basically treat children as prisoners. I believe in non-coercive education that is led by interest.

Posted by Brian S : 7/22/2005 01:58:00 PM

However the polls also show that the level of support is falling as more and more people see that the increased spending of recent years is mostly being wasted. We all know where the education increase has been wasted. In the health area the increases are going to administration where there is a phobia about protecting the 'system' from simple embarrassment through to legal liability - otherwise known as protecting ones arse.
Support for this type of spending must surely be near zero.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/23/2005 11:09:00 AM