Scourge and Transparency

The Rise and Fall of Advanced Social Journalism during the Early Twenty-First Century

The Logical Debate: An Endangered Species

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I consider myself to be somewhat of a moderate and maybe that is why I am capable of realizing the pros and cons of state intervention and its’ consequences. It is becoming increasingly clear that political debate is less about arguing between bigger or smaller government/higher or lower taxes and more about propaganda, bullshit and an irresponsible ignorance of the facts. The reforms being debated in the US concerning health care, for which I support in its’ most substantial form, is an example of this loss of logic. Up here (in Canada) many post-secondary students this past week took part in what was called a “Day of Action” in the vain hope of lowering the cost of university and college education for those enrolled. During both of these debates there has been very little discussion of the actual pros and cons of government spending – and in the case of US health care debate if such monetary issues are mentioned they are terribly inflated by the rightwing of the political spectrum. Quite paradoxically during Canada’s Day of Action the protesters wanted tuition “lowered” but they failed to comment on how this would be achieved – logically higher taxes or a movement of funds from another area of government spending.

In the United States of America there is something like 50 million people without health insurance. The American “system” of healthcare provides for emergency room service, coverage for the very poor and the elderly. Ironically (or consequently, depending on how you look at it), the US government pays more per citizen than the Canadian government does in our system of universal single-tier healthcare. Any citizen outside of the system in the US leaves their healthcare in the hands of the free market. The problem is many of the 50 mil or so without insurance can’t afford the high costs of for-profit healthcare. So liberals in the US want to allow those Americans to have the OPTION to be covered by the government. Now, a lot of rightwing radical, lunatic, corrupt, unsympathetic, self-admitting ignorant folks in the US who are against such legislation are calling these reforms “Nazism” and/or “Socialism” and/or “Communism.” All these systems of government could not, and do not, co-exist within political and sociological reality, as we know it. Thus anyone who takes the above view against healthcare reform seriously is a fucking idiot. The actual possible flaws of such reforms are, logically, increased government spending, higher taxes for the rich and complications in the registering of the uninsured.  It’s not in any way totalitarianism, it’s simply liberalism and it has its pros and cons – both of which should be considered. Unfortunately there is no actual opposition to such legislation because those that claim to be opposing reforms actually have no idea what the fuck they are talking about and/or are completely corrupt. It is obvious such reforms are necessary and they would inevitably have their costs that are a means to an end and a major component of the progressive tax system that’s existed in the greater part of the Western World since the Second World War.

A similar debate did not take place during the mentioned Day of Action last week. Students across the country protested the cost of what I think is college and university tuition. Not only did the protestors not layout how students could pay less for post-secondary education they were incredibly vague and failed to really stand up for any political cause other than not wanting to pay for something. Firstly, the student slogan was simply “drop fees” – what kind of fees? Tuition fees? What about fees outside of tuition that students are forced to pay as well? Where’s the money going to come from? The government aka our taxes aka the taxes students will be paying by the time they graduate with the jobs they got because of their college diploma or university degree?

The Drops Fees campaign was a part of a bigger movement entitled “Poverty-free Ontario (or Canada I can remember…)” which would lead one to believe that the protestors think of students as poverty stricken. I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb here to state that there is a bit of a difference between me & the guys I party with on weekends and the smelly hobo with the empty Tim Horton’s cup outside the grocery store. Priorities need to be organized a little better than to assume that all students in Canada live in poverty and should be treated as if so. Also, the students who aggressively advocate for “lower tuition”, along with the great majority of the organized far left in Canada, never disclose their actual political contentions. There is nothing wrong with being a social democrat or even a socialist but there is something blatantly insecure and hypocritical about not being able to use those political terms to describe oneself or advocate for higher taxes on the rich along with its’ twin component of more public spending if that’s what you believe is best for the country. Obama and some of the Democrats in the US have the scrotum to discuss higher taxes for the wealthiest of Americans in order to provide assistance for the poor.

I would like to make clear that I am not against the lowering of student expenses. I am a student and a lot of shit I pay for is expensive especially considering it’s impossible to earn a decent living while studying. However, I don’t support blanket legislation that would simply cap tuition and allow for any increases to be covered by the public purse. Firstly the drop out/failure rate needs to be considered when further subsidizing education because all the money spent on students who don’t complete their program is more or less a complete waste of taxpayer’s funds. Money would be better spent in the opening of government funded student loans to include those whose parents are high income earners as well as increases in spending for scholarship offers to students who prove to keep a high grade point average.  While these measures are costly they are fiscally much more responsibly than throwing taxpayer’s money at the hundreds of thousands of students that register every year regardless of their intentions to complete their studies. Secondly, tuition itself is only one part of what students pay when they register for school. If tuition were capped and further subsidized universities and colleges could still charge students enormous fees for what post-secondary administrators could independently deem outside of tuition. This is a very serious issue that gets little or no attention from political elites and student activists alike. It’s obvious that public money would be better spent in weeding out corruption at the university/college level and administering better efficiency than simply “dropping fees.” Students are getting fucked, that is for sure, but we need to know which orifice is being penetrated and understand how we can better block that cock.

Sadly, the above arguments and obvious observations were very much absent from the signs, banners and literature that were part of the nationwide student protest. It should also be noted that education is a predominately provincial issue thus students with signs at Parliament Hill in Ottawa might have got some questionable looks from politically informed observers. Furthermore it is very doubtful that the Prime Minister (even if it was within his, or his government’s, power) looked out of his office on the Day of Action at the protestors situated on a place of grass that is occupied daily by shouting sign-holders with grievances they want the government to handle and thought “today we’re going to listen to this group!” People go to Parliament, Queens Park and any other legislatures everyday to rally. It is no longer consequential to protest in this way, unless the numbers are significantly substantial, because rallies are a dime-a-dozen in this day and age.

Now I’ve attempted to shine a snippet of logic on two very different debates that many people, for some reason or another, are very passionate about. Pertaining to the first issue discussed we have people in the US that want the government to have a bigger role in providing healthcare with the funding of more taxes on the very wealthy and/or a relocation of expenses. And those opposed to healthcare reform are unfortunately either propagandists backed by big medicine or overly nationalistic douches that will get behind anything that uses the words “freedom” or “USA” as long as it doesn’t involve black people or gays. And here in the greatest country in the world students take their turn at waving signs at politicians because they think they are paying too much to get the education that will allow them to become a part of the same hypocrisy that they protested when they were in school. Could either of these be considered a logical debate? I think not.


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