Thursday, March 22, 2012

Brazil (High Growth Economy) Commits Tax Dollars to Higher Education - United States (Lower Growth Economy) Commits Tax Dollars to Tax Cuts for the Wealth

Wonder Which Country Will Come Out Ahead on This One?

There is simply no priority higher for the Republican party than enacting tax cuts for the wealthy.  They honestly, if stupidly, believe that this is the way to economic growth, and it just happens, coincidentally to reward to financial stalwarts of the party.  Elimination of the Estate Tax, for example, could save Presidential candidate Mitt Romney over $100 million in taxes.  Of course, that’s not why he would do it, it’s for the children.

Brazil, a country whose economy is booming and a country that is challenging the U. S. in a number of ways (where are the 2016 Olympics?) has a different idea.  The country realizes that higher education is critical to keeping the country growing, and so it is committing tax dollars to send its brightest students to major college and universities abroad.

By the end of 2015 more than 100,000 Brazilians—half of them undergraduates, half doctoral students—will have spent a year or so abroad at the best universities around the world studying subjects such as biotechnology, ocean science and petroleum engineering which the government regards as essential for the nation’s future.

The cost, well over $1.6 billion.  The source of the money, well it surely wouldn’t be coming from businesses and it surely wouldn’t be coming from taxpayers.  Actually, it would.

That will cost 3 billion reais ($1.65 billion), a quarter of which will come from businesses and the rest from the Brazilian taxpayer.

And where will many of these students go?  Why to the United States of course, where they will pay full price for their education, thus relieving U. S. taxpayers of even more burden so tax cuts for the wealthy can take place. 

Foreign universities and governments are leaping at the chance of teaching Brazilian students. The United States has already signed up to take 20,000; Britain, France, Germany and Italy will take 6,000-10,000 each. Laggards are scrambling to attract the rest. The Brazilians will pay full fees.

And after the U. S. has educated these students, they will of course return to their native country where they will be more than able to compete with the U. S. in terms of the world economy.

Those Brazilians who have foreign degrees have had a disproportionate influence back home. In the 1960s and 1970s the government paid for PhDs abroad in oil exploration, agricultural research and aircraft design. Brazil is now a world leader in all three fields.

 And of course every slot taken by a foreign student means one less slot for a U. S. student unless the U. S. schools use the extra money and government raises its support of higher education to place more U. S. residents into the elite schools.  Yeah, like that’s what they are going to do.

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