Reading through Austerity Blues, I had a hard time thinking of what an argument for austerity could possibly be. I know I live in a quasi Democratic/Socialist bubble, but how could the erosion of publicly funded good lead to anything but a further reliance on public goods. If you decrease the quality, breath, and depth of public assistance without any policy in place for a transition (i.e.: getting individuals off unemployment via job training or an increase in civil job opportunities), you’re leaving already vulnerable citizens in an increasingly vulnerable position.
I thought about Paul Krugman (currently on the GC’s faculty, I know this is controversial) and what a large Keynesian he is. Increased spending doesn’t just seem like an option for getting over deficits, it seems like the only one.
Public education is a clear investment into the future. An educated (of we could debate what this means and the white supremacist ideal of being “well educated”) population makes for a more productive population (a capitalistic ideal). I’m not advocating that we strive for a high-earning population, but it appears to me, individuals who graduate from college are more likely to find long-term employment and have high earning potential than not. This is to say if we subsidize education, are we not paying it forward? Are we not shepherding in a generation that will go on to be less reliant on public “handouts?”
In a sense, I’m oversimplifying this, and perhaps relying too much on the myth of social mobility, but a BA (or even an Associates) from any university, public or private, increases the number of positions you’re qualified to hold, and you’re in a place where you can continue on to more schooling if that’s of interest.