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How Tory spending on education is set to decline drastically


10:04 am - June 26th 2011

by Éoin Clarke    


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We have a lot to apologise to America for. For one, we use their public services as a reference point for what not to do.  I am certainly guilty of this myself.  Of course, that is just us lefties. Neo-Liberals & Trans Atlantic enthusiasts often use America as a reference point of what to do.

Forgive me, I am an old fashioned lefty. I measure things by state spending.

Thus, when I seek to compare our education system to America, my starting point is how much we in the UK, and they in the USA, spend on Education as a percentage of their GDP.

The answer to such a question is a sorry tale indeed. America has consistently, since 1985, spent much more as a portion of GDP on Education than we in the UK have.  Give Labour some credit, when they came to power in 1997 they set about closing that gap.

By the time they left office they had almost managed to overtake US spending on Education as a percentage of GDP.  Bravo! a heroic failure shall we say?

Now for the scary bit. The Tories are about to butcher that ratio.

While education secretary Michael Gove pontificates about how the American freedom school system is something to be admired, and about how much we should aspire to the US education system, he in fact hides the biggest indicator of all. He is destroying UK investment in education as a portion of GDP, while doing so he is undoing a decade of Labour success.

The Tories should be ashamed of themselves- but so should we. We are wrong.  The Tories are not trying to turn our education system into something akin to the USA. That accolade does not even befit them.

In future when we seek a reference point to denigrate neo-Liberal investment in public services we should remember that UK Neo-Liberal zealots are actually much worse than their US counterpart.

Do me a favour, the next time someone heralds America as a beacon of how the state should invest in public services, repeat after me, “Yes Please!”.

I’m no America-phile but its time we rubbished the suggestion that this UK Neo-Liberal mess has any big brother. That gives it a semblance of respectability it does not even deserve.

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About the author
Eoin is an occasional contributor. He is a founder of the Labour-Left think-tank and writes regularly at the Green Benches blog.
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Reader comments


One thing that needs to be taken into account when comparing public-funded school systems, is the US’s moral crusaders who detest the very idea of publicly funded schools and work to get themselves elected to school boards so that they can bring them down from the inside. Also Texas pretty much determining what gets taught everywhere else doesn’t help things either, especially with the current bunch of nutters deciding what goes into textbooks.

It’s almost as if the US doesn’t spend as much proportionately as we do on certain things… *cough*healthcare*cough*.

3. Éoin Clarke

No. 2,

Don’t bet on that for long http://tinyurl.com/6yxpxn7

Any hard facts and figures to support you assertions? You’ve drawn a nice colourful graph, had a nice rant, but you haven’t provided any real evidence to support your claims…

What matters is not spending but attainment outcomes compared with other countries, surely?

Try this media news about the OECD PISA report from last December about retrospective attainment in schooling standards:

World education rankings: which country does best at reading, maths and science?

The OECD’s comprehensive world education ranking report, PISA, is out. Find out how each country compares
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/dec/07/world-education-rankings-maths-science-reading

The PISA report, “shows the UK’s reputation as one of the world’s best for education is at risk, and has tumbled several places since 2006. The UK is ranked 25th for reading, 28th for maths and 16th for science. In 2006, when 57 countries were included in the study, it was placed 17th, 24th and 14th respectively. Poland has stretched ahead of the UK in maths, while Norway is now ranked higher in reading and maths.”

6. Éoin Clarke

4. see velow

CSR/OBR spending/growth forecasts = 20112-2015, ie government data
The rest ‘actual’ spending 1985-2010
2011/12 = HMRC red book data

The most recent comparative data I can find from a source in December 2010 for public expenditure on education for OECD countries in 2007 is available via this link:
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/45/48/37864432.pdf

“Forgive me, I am an old fashioned lefty. I measure things by state spending.”

Christ, I don’t even have to start with this one. Nice one, Eoin.

What’s included in education spending? Does it include higher education? What about preschool or private tutoring? Is this just state expenditure or does it include private expenditure too? Also are there lots of US schools that have high costs per pupil because of low population density?

10. Éoin Clarke

Harriet,

Just “state” & all levels

Try this from the BBC website: Does cash get results in schools?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12176305

“So is it true that spending has little effect on results? This question has absorbed the energies of academic economists for decades.

“Sadly they have failed to come up with any conclusive findings. One major study (by Hanushek and Kimko, 2000) looked at pupils’ international maths scores and compared them to several different measures of school spending.

“Their conclusion was: ‘The overall story is that variations in school resources do not have strong effects on test performance.’

“Another study, by Francois Leclerque for UNESCO in 2005, surveyed a wide range of other economists’ attempts to find a correlation between resources and results.

“Some found a positive correlation. Others found the opposite.

“Leclerque concluded that, whichever view you took, it was as much a matter of one’s previous belief and opinion as it was of scientific knowledge.

“So are there any answers to be found in the recent big international surveys of educational achievement?

“The recent Pisa study from the OECD, which compared academic performance across a wide range of countries, appears to offer some support for the government’s view that money is not a key factor.”

12. blackwillow1

Certainly, there is a problem in the USA, religious/political influence often determines where, when and how funding is allocated in the state education system. And now we have that odious creature, Gove, trying to erode any sense of ambition or optimism in our state schools. The so-called ‘free schools’ are anything but, the price being paid by the state system, with funds being diverted to his wealthy supporters, those who would normally pay a fee for their kids education. I for one, would never consider sending my two to a school that only exists because another school has been starved of cash, denegrated and pushed to the bottom of the heap. The % of GDP spent is one factor, but if the money is targeted at some elitist, non-inclusive sector, we end up with a two tier system that has a knock-on effect throughout society. As Bob B @5 pointed out, attainment is what matters. And yet, Gove has tried to engineer the system, so that the bright, gifted kids in the state are prevented from fulfilling their potential while, perversely, the ‘free school’ kids get every advantage thrown at them. This is, IMO, political ideology masquerading as education policy. What next, the exam system being totally privatised, £100 per exam. You can only sit them when mum and dad cough up the readies?

As mentioned before, I live in a London borough which regularly features at or near the top of the Local Education Authorities league table for England. The table for 2010 GCSE results was based on the percentage of pupils achieving at least five A*-C GCSEs or equivalents, including English and maths GCSEs:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12173503

The borough is only a modest per capita spender on schools and neither of the constituencies in the borough featured in the listing of the 100 most affluent constituencies in England in 2007:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-477325/League-Wealth-Tables.html

Home life is also a factor in education, our more robust social security safety net likely helps those out at the low end more than the workfare no-time-to-raise-your-kids American model. Though ymmv with each individual case.

“a decade of Labour success.”

Given that Britain fell down the international league tables during that time, I’m not sure why anybody would want to call it a “success”.

“Forgive me, I am an old fashioned lefty. I measure things by state spending.

Thus, when I seek to compare our education system to America, my starting point is how much we in the UK, and they in the USA, spend on Education as a percentage of their GDP.”

That doesn’t make you an old fashioned lefty that makes you an idiot.

Compare and contrast this amount of GDP that the US spends on health care against the amount the UK spends on health care. By the definition you’ve just used you would have to declare that the US has a better health care system for they spend more of GDP on it.

Something that you absolutely do not believe in the slightest. Which is the idiocy bit.

What we want to measure is what do we get for how much is spent?

Evening Dr Eoin.

I’m not engaging with this one, beyond noting that it is outcomes that matter, not how much money you throw at things; I’m still waiting for some answers about the holes in your previous housing revolution piece.

eg Just how do you build a house that requires no maintenance expenditure at all in years 2 to 80?

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/06/12/we-has-an-affordable-housing-problem-not-an-immigration-one/

My tentative conclusion is that you’ve fallen prey to the Hari-Penny effect – that people with humanities backgrounds trying to write about numerical subjects end up looking like tools when they get stuff wrong.

Rgds

18. Éoin Clarke

Tim,

Incorrect,

The UK has higher state spending on health than the USA. I provide a link on comment three go follow 🙂

Matt,

I began my career in business as a matter of fact, so you are also incorrect in that working for Coca Cola is not what I would describe as a humanities background

“The UK has higher state spending on health than the USA. I provide a link on comment three go follow”

OK, so I have followed this. To a post, by youself, which gives no link to your underlying sources.

Umm, no, that ain’t proof of anything.

So, let us try to do this ourselves. Wikipedia (the only source I’m willing to trawl through at this time of night) says:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_the_United_States

Current estimates put U.S. health care spending at approximately 16% of GDP,

OK….

Health insurance is now primarily provided by the government in the public sector, with 60-65% of healthcare provision and spending coming from programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Veterans Health Administration.

OK….

60 % of 16% is, umm, 9.6%…..which is higher than the UK percentage of GDP spent on health care by government.

So, back to my original point: the very definition you use, that the more spent by the state on something desirable the better, means you have to treat the US health care system as better than the UK. Because you refuse to consider outputs, you look only at inputs. And yes, that does make you an idiot.

Quite apart from the fact that as Mr. Scott once said, facts are sacred. And your *facts* seem to be at variance with reality as well as your old style lefty idiocy.

Jeebus, I don’t mind people disagreeing with me about what is desirable but Lordy, please save us all from people too stupid to understand why they’re wrong.

20. Charlieman

I have no idea about why Coca-Cola was mentioned. But I have happy memories from the 1980s dealing with their market research data.

A colleague produced cluster diagrams in 2D — which brand is conceptually closer to another written on a flat space — so that Coca-Cola was always at the north pole in order that the Atlanta boys could find it.

21. Éoin Clarke

Tim woefully incorrect.

That includes private investment as well as state spending.

Of course throughout we are only measuring “state spending”.

This will help you

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/

22. Éoin Clarke

Tim,

Now I look forward to you having the good grace to return to Liberal conspiracy to admit that I am right.

“The United Kingdom state spends more on their health system than the USA”

This is contrary to your two posts that argue otherwise 🙂 🙂 🙂

23. Éoin Clarke

Tim,

The World Health Organisation state that only 48% of USA spending on Health comes from the state.

This is significantly below your 60%-65% figure.

This of course matches to the penny a) my table b) the us-pending link I gave you. I attach the WHO link for you benefit 🙂 🙂

I await to see you have the good grace to admit you are wrong….

http://apps.who.int/ghodata/?vid=1901

Try this source for OECD countries on Health Data 2010 in Excel file format:
http://www.oecd.org/document/16/0,3343,en_2649_34631_2085200_1_1_1_1,00.html

As a percentage of national GDP, the US was spending 16%, public and private, in 2008 (the latest year) compared with 8.7% for the UK.

As a rough rule-of-thumb, the percentage of GDP spent on public healthcare in the US is about equal to the percentage of GDP spent on public + private healthcare in the UK.

Note that average life expectancy at birth in the US is marginally lower than in the UK, where it is marginally lower than in most other west European countries.

As many of us remarked years ago, Americans get a bad deal for what they spend on healthcare.

25. Tim Stanley

Eion you haven’t answered the main actual objection to this article. Who ultimately cares how much you spend, its what you get out at the end which is what matters.

If we spent 1% of GDP on education but had the most literate, mathematically competent and scientifically knowledgable citizens in the world, are you saying that would be worse than if we spent 10% of GDP on education but our system produced people who couldn’t count, speak a foreign language, read a book or understand what they were doing when voting. If you are, Tim’s right, you are an idiot.

If not… well then what’s the point of this article.

26. Éoin Clarke

Bob,

That is not “state spending” it includes private investment. Tim’s posts and mine are solely concerned with “state” spending.

Tim says that 60-65% of total health spending in the US comes from the state
He is wrong

It is 48%…

Tim knows that of course which is why I await his graceful return to admit he is wrong

27. Éoin Clarke

Tim,

When your namesake returns to admit he is wrong, I may if I decide, return to consider your point.

28. Éoin Clarke

It is funny we have the Daily Telegraph duo on to comment on an article that they have resolved is meaningless. One wonders why if it so meaningless what has them in a Tizzy 🙂

Tim No. 2, did you Daily Telegraph colleague Tim No. 1 send you on t try a different angle? If so, send him back to admit he is wrong won’t you 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

29. Charlieman

@28. Éoin Clarke: “It is funny we have the Daily Telegraph duo on to comment on an article that they have resolved is meaningless.”

It may seem funny to you to score petty points about percentage points.

Please get real. Pound notes in the pot do not guarantee results. And it is not necessary to be a Tory to expect our taxes to be spent productively.

It has been said sufficiently in this thread that spending does not correlate with results. If you don’t follow the argument, you aren’t a lefty or a righty but something else.

30. Éoin Clarke

Charlie,

Lets take the £500m on 650,000 children getting EMA.

The IFS said it was value for money.

I believe them.

that is now scrapped.

thus on the chart it will register.

79% cuts in our teaching budget at Uni[s] matter.

The mistake you make is to assume that a reduction is these ependiture items do not make an impact.

As do guaranteeing free schools meals in “Freedom Schools” [there is no such guarantee]

So you see, unlike you, money in the pot does matter to me 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Nite Nite 🙂

31. Éoin Clarke

Value for money in the pot?

See a report on the IFS study of EMA

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11998992

@ 30:

“The mistake you make is to assume that a reduction is these ependiture items do not make an impact.”

If your concern is about the impact of certain cuts, why not say so, instead of just saying “The government is bad because it’s spending less money”? Spending more money is not automatically good; spending on education increased significantly over the last decade, but British children fell down in the international league tables.

33. Éoin Clarke

XXX,

Oh but I did, I said I quote “Now for the scary bit. The Tories are ‘about’ to butcher that ratio”.

Of course I relied on the reader’s common sense to know they were butchering that ratio through “cuts”… perhaps that was a bridge too far for some 🙂 🙂 🙂

34. Charlieman

@30. Éoin Clarke: “79% cuts in our teaching budget at Uni[s] matter.”

That number is made up. Central funding for some departments will be cut. Possibly by lots. Central funding is not the “teaching budget”.

For the last 20 years at least, non-sexy STEM undergraduate courses have been subsidised by UK universities. Or rather, the UK government has paid less to fund UGs than it costs to teach them. If that was not the case, the UK would have no universities with Chemistry or Geology UGs. (Courses are subsidised because universities value and earn from post grad students.)

Oh for those inspirational years when Bunkett was the New Labour education minister from 1997 through to the election in 2001:

“In just three years, between May 1997 and April 2000, the DfEE sent out 315 consultation papers, 387 sets of regulations, 437 pieces of guidance, 143 requests for information, 9 ministerial letters to Local Authorities and doubled its annual spending on advertising to £15m. Lord Haskins, then chair of the better regulations taskforce, said that the drive to raise educational standards was being impeded by over-zealous officials at the DfEE, the sheer weight of instructions and the speed at which the government expected each new initiative to be implemented. Haskins, chairman of Northern Foods, confided to colleagues that the DfEE was ‘the most Stalinist department I have ever come across.’ PM Blair denounced opponents of reform as ‘forces of conservatism.'”
http://socialscience.stow.ac.uk/rab/SociologyA/educationpolicy_review.htm

36. Chaise Guevara

@ 17 Matt W

“My tentative conclusion is that you’ve fallen prey to the Hari-Penny effect – that people with humanities backgrounds trying to write about numerical subjects end up looking like tools when they get stuff wrong.”

Yeah, because studying humanities makes you incapable of understanding economics or statistics. In fact, when you start a humanities course the first thing they do is hit you repeatedly on the head with a mallet until you forget all your times tables…

Back in what we might call reality, it’s perfectly possible for people to excel in more than one field. Sorry if that makes it harder for you to feel superior to everyone who didn’t take a BSc.

@ 33:

You said that the government would cut the Education budget. You didn’t say how that would be a bad thing.

That last one of yours was actually funny, Chaise!

An interesting discussion. My interpretation of the article Is that Dr Clarke is putting things is perspective. The phrase “old-fashioned leftie” implies an attitude where financial investment in education shows how it is intrinsically valued. No one would claim, not I, that every pound spent by the Labour government on education was wisley spent. Nevertheless, I have had the opportunity far more than those who write for newspapers who perhaps even went to private schools, to have observed from the workplace changes in governments’ effects on education since Labour in 1974. After Thatchers had cut so deeply, it was a relief that Labour set to repair that damage. I have massive reservations that there was undue focus on league tables to please those who read newspapers rather than focusing on individual children’s needs, as they do not tell the whole story. But nevertheless, that there were massive improvements was clear. The cuts that are now being made are particularly hurting the most vulnerable. But my biggest concern is this. This government are pulling out state funding which should be provided by all of us to ensure education of our young people, and to replace it with what? Private prospectors who look to make money out of our education system? This government cares more about them than children in our schools. Investors who feed the banking organisations who milk our systems? Children will be victims, people who advocate gambling with our chldren’s futures to make a few bob should hang their heads in shame. I don’t know how to sell newspapers like the DT or even care. I do know about children and education though and what this government is doing to our education system is ideologically based, and cynical. Our children are not commodities; they are our future. We should be investing in them, not seeking to use them to feed the banks. These policies are unwelcome, ill-conceived and immoral. I am waiting in hope for the U Turn.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-923X.2011.02169.x/full confirms Dr Clarke’s findings… This report estimates full implementation of the CSR would result in UK spending on public services would be less than the US by 2014/15.
I am ashamed, and frightened, but above all angry. The Tory government did not even win the election. The Liberals should be ashamed.

@39 Pam: “This government are pulling out state funding which should be provided by all of us to ensure education of our young people, and to replace it with what? Private prospectors who look to make money out of our education system?”

Only 7 per cent of school pupils attend non-maintained schools. But I have the distinct impression that the usual complaint about those private schools is that the resulting financial incentives provided an unfair advantage to their pupils by giving them a superior schooling.

By the mid 1970s, half Britain’s adult population had no education qualifications at all. Twenty years later, that was down to a quarter.

The case for league tables is basically this:

“Just one in six pupils in England has achieved the new English Baccalaureate introduced by the government, England’s league tables show.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12163929

The number of adults unable to read or count remains unacceptably high in England despite £5bn spent by Labour trying to improve the situation, according to an influential parliamentary spending watchdog.

Even if the government, which has made greater efforts than previous administrations to tackle this problem, hits its targets, the country’s basic skills will still not match the best in the world, concludes the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Progress on numeracy has been particularly disappointing. The government’s Skills for Life programme has helped barely one in 10 people with maths skills below the level of a good GCSE
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/jan/29/literacy-numeracy-skills

Parents want to know how good the school down the road is at getting its pupils through GCSE exams and then A-levels for university entry.

Try this source for OECD countries on Health Data 2010 in Excel file format:
http://www.oecd.org/document/16/0,3343,en_2649_34631_2085200_1_1_1_1,00.html

From here.

UK health spending total as % ge of GDP. 8.7% (2008 figure). Percentage of that which is public spending, 82.6 %. Thus, public health spending as % ge of GDP: 7.18%.

For the US, same year, same definitions: 16% of GDP total, 46.5% of that is public, meaning that public health spending is 7.44% of GDP.

By the definition that Clarke uses, the US public health care system must be better than the UK for they spend more of GDP on it.

Yes, it’s still a very stupid method of measuring it, what we’re interested in is not the resources expended but the output gained from the expenditure.

From the World Bank figures you provide, for 2009. US is 16.2% of GDO, 48.6% is public spending, giving 7.87% of total GDP as public health spending. UK is 9.3 % of GDP total, 83.6% public, which is (just in case math is hard for an arts graduate, 9.3x.836 is 7.77% of GDP) 7.77% of GDP.

By your very own figures which you are using to try and prove your point, I am right and you are wrong. US state health spending as a percentage of GDP is higher than UK state health spending as a %ge of GDP.

Yes, I’ll wait for the agreement that I am correct.

“When your namesake returns to admit he is wrong, I may if I decide, return to consider your point.”

Now that you’ve had to swallow that assertion of yours let us move on to the interesting point. Why are you measuring by how much is spent and not by what the result is? We generally conclude in most parts of life that getting more output for less input is a good thing. Why on earth should state spending be any different?

43. Éoin Clarke

Tim,

You’re wrong… I cite below “USA” GDP/Health Spending/ % of GDP

USA GDP Health % of GDP
2011- 15079.6 [GDP] 1097.94 [Health]- 7.28096236% [% of GDP]
2012- 15812.5 [GDP] 1098.82 Health]- 6.949059289% [% of GDP]

Confirmed here [scroll down] http://tinyurl.com/698h3ou

You’re wrong… I cite below “UK” GDP/Health Spending/ % of GDP

UK GDP Health % of GDP
2011- 1544 [GDP] 122.42- [Health] 7.928756477% [% of GDP]
2012- 1625 [GDP 125.62- [Health] 7.730461538% [% of GDP]

Confirmed here [scroll down] http://tinyurl.com/6jun4pm

Now Tim, clearly, categorically, unequivocally, you are wrong….

The USA does not spend a higher % of its GDP on Health than the UK. The entire readership of Lib Con can click, check and verify these links, so they can now see it plain as day.

After calling me an “idiot” perhaps you wish to pop back onto Liberal Conspiracy and admit you are wrong

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

@43.

Nice try but no cigar.

For the US the figures from 2009 onwards are estimates. For the UK the 2010 figures on are estimates. Just as an example, how many people around here believe Osborne’s estimates of the size of GDP for this or next year? For that’s what you’re doing of course, believing the figures, the estimates of the future, from the budget.

No, I’ll stick with the years for which we have actual figures thanks: 2008, 2009, as you yourself used further up.

BTW, the “idiocy” is not over these numbers. It’s over the logic. “Spending more” is not better. “Getting more for what we spend” is better.

Imagine it this way: I walk into a pub and the bloke says “Our beer’s much better today for we’ve got a special offer. Twice the price!”. Or, he says “Two for the price of one in Happy Hour”.

Which is the better for us the consumer, the person both consuming and paying for the consumption? Spending more or getting more for our spending?

Éoin,

You do realise citing figures for years that have not yet happened (half of 2011 and 2012) is an odd way to win an argument?

Anyway, what I would like to take issue with is the slightly insane contention that an old-fashioned leftist would have been concerned with the spending figures as a measure of success. Even if we ignore the Stalinist/Maoist tendency towards five-year plans and the like, you do realise that sensible socialism was far more concerned with outcomes than spending – and that they preferred better outcomes for lower cost (as this allowed either lower taxation for the people they represented or spending the money left over elsewhere). Left-wingers used to be (I imagine most still are) concerned about the people, not pennies.

I’d suggest you are instead in the Gordon Brown school of socialism – it is the headline figure that counts not the details (unless these too can be a headline figure). To be fair, this is a common school of thought across and beyond all political parties, so you (and Mr Brown) are hardly on your own. It is woefully poor thinking for an educated man though – simplifying a process concerning individuals (you know, children, teachers etc) into simply a monetary figure and considering this to be signs of progress – you nowhere show any indication that you’ve checked to ensure the extra spending in the last decade did not all go on headteachers’ salaries for example…

46. Éoin Clarke

Tim,

Wrong again 🙂 🙂 – Let’s look precisely at your chosen year of 2009

Check the links- They have 2009 on them for you. In case you struggle with the links or the maths for your chosen year of 2009, let me kindly reprint them for you

[UK]- 2009- 1395.87 [GDP] 109.95 [Health Spend]- 7.876808012% [% of GDP
[USA]- 2009- 14119 [GDP] 979.01 [Health Spend] 6.933989659% [% of GDP]

To sum up UK 2009 = 7.87%
To sum up USA 2009 = 6.93%

Thus Tim Worstall you are wrong and I am right.

The UK state spends more as a % of its GDP on Health than the USA

Confirmed here [scroll down] http://tinyurl.com/698h3ou &
Confirmed here [scroll down] http://tinyurl.com/6jun4pm

Now having accused me of “idiocy” “Stupidity” lacking “reality”- it is time for the great and mighty oh so perfect Tim Worstall to admit he is wrong!

Let’s hear it Tim 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

47. Éoin Clarke

Watchman,

£500m went on EMA funding for 650,000 pupils- that is now cut.
Free School Meals for kids that go to Freedom Schools is cut.
£4.2bn for a university teaching budget is cut

It is entirely consistent with socialist thinking to view these £5bn odds of investment as money well spent…

Éoin,

£4.2bn for a university teaching budget is cut

No it’s not – it’s being provided (by government) in the form of loans through students. Universities are not making £4.2 billion of cuts.

This seems to be the key issue – you believe only government spending is legitimate spending. Anything else is ignored. That is a form of socialist thinking so extreme I can’t think of a name for it, but it is clearly wrong.

On the lesser things:

£500m went on EMA funding for 650,000 pupils- that is now cut.
Free School Meals for kids that go to Freedom Schools is cut.

It is entirely consistent with socialist thinking to view these £5bn odds of investment as money well spent…

It is indeed. But more consistent if you actually do any analysis of the outcomes etc. Your current approach is to lazily assume spending must mean better outcomes, when any sort of application of intellect would indicate that it might not do so (see throwing money at bankers to save the economy…), and when you are not considering the possibility that spending that money elsewhere might have been better (because spending is good…) then you clearly need to learn that there is more to life than the headline figures.

If Leeds United win a football match 4-0, it does not really matter how they did so. But that is about the most complex example I can think of where looking at the numbers alone is maybe justifiable (and even then, say, the loss of three key players to injury during the match might be regarded as a problem…)

49. Torquil Macneil

Eoin, you are still getting the figs wrong: you are comparing an actual with an estimate. You have to go to 2008 to get actuals for both economies and that shows a higher healthcare spend for the US than the UK which requires you to prefer the US system according to the logic of this piece.

http://apps.who.int/ghodata/?vid=1901

It’s you who links to that site. It’s that site that shows you wrong.

So, how do we explain the difference between the two sets of figures?

Well, the figures you use aren’t actually showing all US spending on health care. For example, it doesn’t include the Veterans Health Agency spending which is hidden over in the military budget. The WHO figures do include this which is why I’ll stick with the WHO figures thank you.

Also, there’s a wrinkle about who pays what for medical care in the US. Medicare, health care for the elderly, is a purely Federal program. Medicaid, for the poor is a jointly funded Fed and State (and sometimes county) piece as well.

Both are reasons why I’m happy to stick with the figures you first mentioned, the WHO ones.

51. Éoin Clarke

Torquil,

Wrong. I include below 2008’s figures 🙂 🙂

2008 /14441.4/ 906.04/ 6.273906962% [USA}
2008 /1448.39/ 102.11/ 7.049896782% [UK
_________________________________________________________

Tim?

Tim is now picking bits out of different budgets… Tim that is changing the rules of the game very very late on…

By any of your measurements the UK state spends more as a % of its GDP on health care than the US..

Tim Worstall’s trail of posts have the appearance of something clearly incorrect and not being magnanimous enough to admit it.

Am I surprised? 🙂 🙂 🙂
______________________________

Watchman?

Outcomes?

See a report on the IFS study of EMA

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11998992 🙂 🙂 🙂

__________________________________

Gees guys, pity, pity and more pity… for this woeful stupid idiot that lacks reality is duffing you guys up pretty badly 🙂 🙂

Éoin,

“By any of your measurements the UK state spends more as a % of its GDP on health care than the US.”

Is this good or bad?

Éoin,

Gees guys, pity, pity and more pity… for this woeful stupid idiot that lacks reality is duffing you guys up pretty badly 🙂 🙂

Really? So your only answer on outcomes is to cite a single report which suggests one particular cut reduced outcomes, without anything to show that increased spending on education is automatically good. Incidentally, I agreed that opposing that cut was probably a normal socalist thing to do – and you’ve now found a link to back up your position, which is exactly what I was suggesting you needed to do.

Since I never claimed that all cuts automatically improve outcomes (which would be an even stranger position than yours, in that it is also counter-intuitive), that hardly shows you duffing me up (great choice of vocabulary there by the way…), and more you actually developing your point in light of criticism (always a good thing). Well done, now just go and find a way of justifying it for the key point that increased spending on education has to be a good thing. I’m sure there’s a googlable link to a news report which mentions a thinktank study on that you should be able to find.

Once you’ve done that, we can get down to critical analysis of your sources, but lets get the gathering of evidence stage sorted first.

54. Torquil Macneil

The problem is not to agree whether there is a one-to-one correlation between increased spend and increased outcomes in education (because nobody would argue that there was) but to work out which pound is effective and which pound is wasted. That’s the problem that markets are a proposed answer for. What other way is other way is there?

Eoin,

It is you @23 who bring up the WHO figures:

“Tim,

The World Health Organisation state that only 48% of USA spending on Health comes from the state.

This is significantly below your 60%-65% figure.

This of course matches to the penny a) my table b) the us-pending link I gave you. I attach the WHO link for you benefit 🙂 🙂

I await to see you have the good grace to admit you are wrong….

http://apps.who.int/ghodata/?vid=1901

I looked at exactly those WHO figures.

“From the World Bank figures you provide, for 2009. US is 16.2% of GDO, 48.6% is public spending, giving 7.87% of total GDP as public health spending. UK is 9.3 % of GDP total, 83.6% public, which is (just in case math is hard for an arts graduate, 9.3x.836 is 7.77% of GDP) 7.77% of GDP.

By your very own figures which you are using to try and prove your point, I am right and you are wrong. US state health spending as a percentage of GDP is higher than UK state health spending as a %ge of GDP.

Yes, I’ll wait for the agreement that I am correct.”

I’m working from exactly and precisely the figures you brought forward to support your argument.

“By any of your measurements the UK state spends more as a % of its GDP on health care than the US..”

Umm, no, by your measurements, by the source that you actually send us to, it doesn’t.

“Tim is now picking bits out of different budgets… Tim that is changing the rules of the game very very late on…”

No, I’m not. I’m pointing to an error in your own estimations. It is true that the VHA doesn’t normally get counted in the US medical budget, it normally gets counted in the military one. Which the WHO have corrected for and you have not.

So, back to relaity……you do accept, that by the WHO numbers which you yourself pointed to, that the US spends more of GDP on state health care than the UK does?

56. Éoin Clarke

Tim,

I am very satisfied that you have made a big enough eejit of yourself. The comments will stand the test of time and can be viewed by all 🙂

Vimothy,

For me a good thing 🙂 🙂

Why?

58. Éoin Clarke

Vimothy,

A state has spending priorities

Libya, Afghan, Iraq, Home Office, Trident, Jails, courts, etc etc etc…

I prefer Health, education and welfare to be the priorities. I view expenditure in these areas by the state as fulfilling a moral obligation to reduce health and educational inequalities…

Why? Well take the average life expectancy of a man in Calton is 53.9. This is less that 25 years that of someone is Fulham…

I am happy to say that under labour this gap narrowed quite dramatically… Investing in the new treatments, doctors and nurses is one of the ways of achieving this.

That requires actual to remedy it… unless anyone has super healing powers that I am unaware of- this requires expenditure…

Basic Moral Sense, one would think

59. blackwillow1

@51: Much as I hate to agree with those on the right, it really is results that matter. I’m the education secretary, I spend, say, £60million buying tablet computers for every state secondary school pupil. No more books or paper, all their work is stored on the tablet. But what if I then find, because the £60million was spent on tech, I do’nt have enough money to employ enough qualified teachers? I’ve spent money on tech that wo’nt get used, because I ca’nt afford to employ the teachers to impart knowledge to the students. Net result, the kids learn nothing apart from where the best net-porn can be found, and £60million goes down the shitter. It’s not just how much you spend, it’s also how you spend it.

60. Torquil Macneil

A more troubling example, Blackwillow, would be increasing teachers’ salaries. Because they all get the same raise, X% of that money is simply wasted, but we don’t know which X%. I think Eoin’s position is that it doesn’t matter so long as we are spending more money, but that is very eccentric.

Isn’t the higher US spending partly due to the fact that most Americans stay in education for a longer period?

62. So Much For Subtlety

58. Éoin Clarke

A state has spending priorities Libya, Afghan, Iraq, Home Office, Trident, Jails, courts, etc etc etc… I prefer Health, education and welfare to be the priorities. I view expenditure in these areas by the state as fulfilling a moral obligation to reduce health and educational inequalities…

Well this is screwed up. First of all notice the contradiction between your two claims – you seem to imply you want better outcomes, but you finish up by saying you want to reduce inequality. Those are not the same. If people in some parts of Britain are dying young, we could reduce inequality, cheaply, by simply euthanising everyone over that age. Equal, cheap but not sensible.

More to the point, you have your wish. The British state prioritises health, education and welfare. Vastly more so than defence.

This is despite the fact that all that spending on health and welfare means nothing whatsoever unless the State can protect us from predators who wish to take it from us. As it happens, we can hide behind the US which stops most organised predators, but the British state does a piss poor job of protecting us from the predators from within. Given the choice, I expect most people would prefer their homes and persons to be secure than more money wasted on the NHS.

Department? 2007-08 expenditure (£ million)?
Work and Pensions 132,732
Health 104,464
Education and Skills 68,060
Defence 38,986

[So notice that Work and Pensions gets some four times as much as Defence, while Health gets about two and a half times as much and even Education gets about three quarters as much again]

Tax, Excise and Treasury[3] 5,469
Communities & Local Government 28,186
Scottish Government 26,469
Northern Ireland Executive 14,667
Home Office 13,877
Welsh Assembly Government 12,785
Transport 10,150
Cabinet Office 10,090

[Notice the Cabinet Office gets about a quarter of what Defence does. What the Hell do they do in the Cabinet Office?]

Trade and Industry 6,015
Culture, Media and Sport 5,042
International Development 4,772
Ministry of Justice 4,086
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 3,099
Foreign and Commonwealth Office 1,859
Northern Ireland Office 1,370
Law Officers’ Departments 718
Departmental Expenditure Limit Reserve[4] 600
Unallocated Special Reserve[5] 400
Total resource budget 519,229

Why? Well take the average life expectancy of a man in Calton is 53.9. This is less that 25 years that of someone is Fulham…

So what? Perhaps young people start out their lives in crappy neighbourhoods when they have no cash. The only people who die in those neighbourhoods are young people who have traffic accidents or drug overdoses. Over time they mostly save up some money, buy their own place in the suburbs and move. In those places the only people who die are middle aged men who have heart attacks or traffic accidents. Over time they retire, move to the coast where their widows struggle on into the 90s.

Explain to me what is wrong with this picture.

I am happy to say that under labour this gap narrowed quite dramatically… Investing in the new treatments, doctors and nurses is one of the ways of achieving this.

Virtually all early mortality in Britain is self inflicted. Investing in doctors and nurses won’t do a damn thing.

63. Matt Wardman

@Dr Eoin

I’m happy that History Degree + Womens’ History MA + Irish Womens’ History Phd + a teaching qualification + two years teaching history in Nottingham equals a humanities background for someone who left school in 2001.

Meanwhile, I’m still interested in these miraculous self-maintaining houses, and what your Housing Model would look like with a more realistic set of costs included. GEER said they wanted conversation. They had feedback and went quiet. What happened?

For the record, I think co-ops certainly have their place in housing, but not set up like that, and it won’t go anywhere with imagined economics.

@chaise

“Yeah, because studying humanities makes you incapable of understanding economics or statistics. In fact, when you start a humanities course the first thing they do is hit you repeatedly on the head with a mallet until you forget all your times tables…

It’s a tempting thesis based on what some people write 🙂

I refer you to the Hari and Penny’s normal mangling of data in their writing, and to Dr Eoin’s Housing Cost model. Go and factcheck something.

“it’s perfectly possible for people to excel in more than one field”

Of course it’s possible, but if someone produces a numerical model with a number of holes and calls it a basis for Housing Policy, I tend to be slightly sceptical.

64. Matt Wardman

>2001.

Sorry meant 1998.

Where’s that edit button, Sunny?


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