Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Invest in the Future... But Not with Money?

Is Thomas Friedman advocating higher taxes?
In these difficult economic times, it is tempting to buttress our own standards of living today by incurring even greater financial liabilities for the future. To be sure, there is a role for stimulus in a prolonged recession, but “the only sustainable way is to grow our way out by giving more people the knowledge and skills to compete, collaborate and connect in a way that drives our countries forward,” argues Schleicher.

In sum, says Schleicher, “knowledge and skills have become the global currency of 21st-century economies, but there is no central bank that prints this currency. Everyone has to decide on their own how much they will print.” Sure, it’s great to have oil, gas and diamonds; they can buy jobs. But they’ll weaken your society in the long run unless they’re used to build schools and a culture of lifelong learning.
If he's advocating a tax increase on those who can afford it (i.e., people like Thomas Friedman) so that we can build and support better and more affordable schools and colleges, great. Perhaps he can devote his next column to explaining why he should pay more taxes and how much his tax increase should be.

But if he's simply serving up a standard dish of platitudes - we need to invest in the future, but right now we need to balance our budgets and tighten our belts - he reduces his entire column to a waste of time.
“The thing that will keep you moving forward,” says Schleicher, is always “what you bring to the table yourself.”
There you go, Mr. Friedman - bring it on.

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