Sunday, August 15, 2010

Welfare for the wealthy and aspirational classes: The revolution of the rich

Jane Caro has written an important article The deserving rich v the undeserving poor in which she contrasts the punitive and paternalistic treatment of welfare recipients with the generous public subsidies gifted to beneficiaries of "middle class welfare", particularly private schools.

The rivers of money flowing to private schools at the expense of public schools exemplifies the political reality that public funding to the middle and wealthy classes is generally non-conditional and ever expanding.

Caro points out that more than half of Australia's private schools receive more public funding than they are entitled to, thanks to deals done between the powerful private school lobby and successive Federal Governments.

Caro writes:
"Unlike the recipients of real welfare, who are policed within an inch of their lives, there is little accountability for the millions handed out to these schools. Justified as supporting parental choice, there is actually no mechanism attached to these subsidies to make sure they have any effect of fees parents pay at all...... If we are serious about not wasting public money, we must simply put a stop to it at the top end of the income scale as well as at the bottom"

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