Saturday, March 21, 2020

Subsidies increase supply and prices

If there is anything I hate doing more than the taxes, it does not immediately spring to mind.

One advantage of procrastinating and dragging out the agony is that I have time to think and reflect.

Our tax code is very kind to parents of students who are attending college.

Let me rephrase that, the tax code is very kind to the parents of students who are attending "academic" tracks in college. It is significantly less kind to parents of students attending "vocational" tracks in college.

For example, one juicy tax credit applies to students who are attending more than 12 credits per semester. 12 credits on an academic track means the student can attend one class a week and catch the remaining three-or-four sessions on-line.  Or, they can just speed-read the instructor's Powerpoints the night before the test.

The vocational student faces two hurdles. First, much of what he/she is learning does not translate to the on-line pipeline as Medieval French Literature. The other hurdle is that much of the class-time is in the form of labs. Typically, three hours of lab time represents one hour "credit". Imagine a student trying to collect 13 credit hours all in labs. They would have to attend 39 hours of labs and none of them could be done virtually.

And so I ask: Do we need more graduates in Medieval French Literature or do we need more pipefitters, tin-knockers, mechanics and machinists? If we need more people in trades (who will be paying taxes rather than sucking out of the public trough) then we should stop this silly bias against learning-by-doing.


  1. "If there is anything I hate doing more than the taxes, it does not immediately spring to mind."

    Fine opening, sustained throughout. :)

  2. So does Academic track include Doctors, RNs, Computer programmers, Engineers of all sorts? I mean as well as Medieval French Lit ? As those who pursue the jobs/degrees above must still take English ,Math and usually a Humanities/Social class or two plus probably science and depending on college maybe a foreign language class all on their way to fulfill their Major. The classes I mentioned can mostly be taken in person or remotely. While I agree we need more Trades people and sadly our tax laws are often written by fools should we do away with all subsidies or is there some better way to write the law to include trades as well as other college tracks ?

    1. The academic track does include Drs, Nurses, Programmers and so on

      One work-around would be to count lab hours for Trades' Certificates hour-for-hour for tax purposes.


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