Tea Party economics, UK edition | Austerity economics on Blog#42

If this doesn’t sound familiar to you, then you’ve been exposed to way too much Fox News. Quotes from this Guardian article first, then my comments:

Poverty is about not having enough money. So don’t blame schools for it | Education | The Guardian

Monday, June 20, 2015

If the government is going to start using education data to hide child poverty, schools must find a way to highlight it

There is a joke in the film Brassed Off that goes like this: God’s assistant is creating people. He turns to God and says, “We’ve got all these bodies left, but we’re right out of brains, right out of hearts and right out of vocal cords”. And so God says “Sew ’em up anyway, make them talk out their arse, and call them the Tory party.”

It’s a harsh joke. But every now and then the Conservatives do something so egregiously stupid that the joke springs back into my head. The announcement that the government wants to change the child poverty definition has done it again.

Forget income as the main child poverty measure, says Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary. Income is inconvenient. If we measure poverty by how much money you have compared with other people, then when we make those other people wealthier (like, pensioners – or our wealthy donors), then children are inconveniently poorer.

It is one thing to fail at school, another to be hungry because you cannot afford food. They are not the same thing”

Hence, he has proposed that instead of focusing on money – the dictionary definition of poverty – a plethora of measures will tell us how poor children are. One will be school achievement. That’s right. For the first time in history, schools will be helping to save children from poverty – but also causing it.

The policy is stupid for two reasons. First, it makes no sense. Poverty is about money. It is one thing to fail at school, it is another to be hungry because you cannot afford food. Both are a problem but they are not the same thing.

Read the rest of this article on Poverty is about not having enough money. So don’t blame schools for it | Education | The Guardian

Let’s think back to all of the really harsh budget proposals we’ve heard from various Republicans since 2010… Do you remember Newt Gingrich’ prescriptions for children to earn their keep as janitors? How about all the discussions about food stamps and who the recipients are? Rick Santorum’s “Blah people” quote comes to mind. And then… There are all of the budgets written by Paul Ryan to go back and read through and his photo op at a homeless kitchen washing an already clean pot. If this trip down memory lane leaves you wanting more, there is always listening, again, to Mitt Romney’s secret 47% video.

The British people voted in conservatives, again, and this is what they’re getting. Jeb! thinks you don’t work enough. Scott Walker has done away with unions in Wisconsin and wants to do away with weekends next. Who knows what they other clown car occupants have in mind for us.

Let that be our lesson. Our next time is coming up again soon.

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