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robertogreco : tax   4

We should tax private schools as businesses, not beg to borrow their cricket pitches | Ian Jack | Comment is free | The Guardian
"Should state-school teachers and students feel gratitude to the rich for having to share their resources under Tristram Hunt’s plans? It will only reinforce our inequalities"



"And what would it make you feel as a state-school pupil or teacher? Gratitude, that the rich should have let you borrow a cricket pitch, or sent their Classics assistant to instruct the most academically gifted on the pitfalls of the Cambridge interview? This is surely an insidious way of reinforcing inferiority – of telling the pupil and the teacher that they do things much better in the Victorian gothic building that you glimpse through the parkland on the outskirts of town, where parental black-glassed Range Rovers gather every prize-giving; and that this institution has graciously stretched down in your direction with its helping hand.

Seventy or 80 years ago, a writer such as Priestley or Rattigan might have made a play out of it – “Bob Entwhistle, you may be the son of a mill-hand but here at St Blog’s we can develop your gift for Virgil” – but by the time I went to a state secondary in the 1950s and 60s, such social condescension was risible. True, this was in Scotland and, true, the school was selective – a grammar school, in England’s terminology. But the same held true for the rest of Britain then. We would have laughed at the idea that private schools were in any way superior – in teaching, in school life outside the classroom or in their skill in winning places at university. In fact, we thought the opposite: that private schools, with a few exceptions such as Glasgow Academy, were where parents with money tried to save their children from the academic failure that would otherwise be coming their way. How forlorn those short-trousered little sons of the doctor looked as they trod towards the Edinburgh train, cut off from the rest of us by their schooling. They were an anachronism.

The reputation of state education has declined since, of course, though (before anyone blames it on comprehensives) much more in England than Scotland, where private schools are proportionately fewer and have much less social and political influence. In England, Hunt’s measures are intended to diminish that influence, but look just as likely to increase it by promoting private schools as exemplars of educational practice without giving state schools the funds that would decrease their class sizes to private-school level.

Labour has always been nervous about private schools. The outright abolition demanded by a section of its support has never been feasible – legally, morally, and because it would expose too many of its leaders to the charge of hypocrisy. The easier route to a little more educational equality was to deprive them of their charitable status by arguing that they didn’t provide enough public benefit; they are, after all, run as businesses – they charge cash for a service. Properly taxed as businesses, they would have to raise their fees, which might make them less desirable to the cash-strapped middle classes, who would therefore be more supportive of the state sector. However, in 2011 a court case brought by the Independent Schools Council found against Labour’s argument under the existing law."
education  politics  tax  schools  privateschools  2014  inequality  publicschools 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Amazon same-day delivery: How the e-commerce giant will destroy local retail. - Slate Magazine
"But now Amazon has a new game. Now that it has agreed to collect sales taxes, the company can legally set up warehouses right inside some of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation. Why would it want to do that? Because Amazon’s new goal is to get stuff to you immediately—as soon as a few hours after you hit Buy. (Disclosure: Slate participates in Amazon Associates, an "affiliate" advertising plan that rewards websites for sending customers to the online store. This means that if you click on an Amazon link from Slate—including a link in this story—and you end up buying something, Amazon will send Slate a percentage of your final purchase price.) It’s hard to overstate how thoroughly this move will shake up the retail industry. Same-day delivery has long been the holy grail of Internet retailers, something that dozens of startups have tried and failed to accomplish. (Remember Kozmo.com?) But Amazon is investing billions to make next-day delivery standard, and same-day delivery an option for lots of customers. If it can pull that off, the company will permanently alter how we shop. To put it more bluntly: Physical retailers will be hosed.… Physical retailers have long argued that once Amazon plays fairly on taxes, the company wouldn’t look like such a great deal to most consumers. If prices were equal, you’d always go with the “instant gratification” of shopping in the real world. The trouble with that argument is that shopping offline isn’t really “instant”—it takes time to get in the car, go to the store, find what you want, stand in line, and drive back home. Getting something shipped to your house offers gratification that’s even more instant: Order something in the morning and get it later in the day, without doing anything else. Why would you ever shop anywhere else?"
amazon  sameday  tax  2012  via:Preoccupations  delivery  ecommerce  local  retail 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Energy prices: Tax away vulnerability | The Economist
"There are any number of good reasons to raise the petrol tax rate. The current rate no longer brings in enough money to cover current highway spending. Petrol taxes are an efficient way to raise revenue, and the government needs revenue; President Obama's deficit commission recommended an increase in the federal petrol tax rate. Burning oil produces carbon emissions, and dearer fuel would reduce America's sky-high per capita carbon footprint. But a higher tax rate would also diminish the possibility that a sudden rise in oil prices would throw the economy into recession. That would be a nice risk to minimise! And yes, higher tax rates would hit consumers just like rising oil prices. But those prices are rising anyway; better to capture the revenue and use it, all while improving behaviour.<br />
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It's hard to take any fiscal hawk seriously so long as this measure isn't on the table. It's as close to a win-win solution as one is likely to find."
energy  2011  oil  tax  taxation  taxes  us  vulnerability  economics 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Points of control = Rents - O'Reilly Radar
"last night my Dad said to me: "I can't stand Microsoft and avoid it as much as I can. I've switched to Ubuntu because I got tired of paying Bill Gates a tax so he could run a charity." I thought that was funny."
billgates  microsoft  government  tax  charities  charity  economics  policy  us 
october 2010 by robertogreco

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