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French Science and Higher Education Programs Avoid Austerity 139

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the we're-clearly-in-the-mirror-universe dept.
ananyo writes "Bucking a trend of cutting science seen elsewhere, the French government has committed to increasing spending on research and development in its draft austerity budget for 2013. France's education and research ministry gets a 2.2% boost under the proposed budget, giving it a budget of just under €23 billion (US$29 billion). Most other ministries get a cut. The upshot of the cash increase is that 1,000 new university posts will be created, no publicly funded research jobs will be cut and funding for research grants will rise (albeit less than inflation) by 1.2% to €7.86 billion. The move to spend on science during a recession is notable and means that French politicians understand that a sustainable commitment to public spending on science is vital for long-term economic growth. The situation is in stark contrast to that in the U.S. and in the UK, where a recent policy to boost hi-tech industries, unveiled with much fanfare, failed to do much for science. Meanwhile, in Australia, there's alarm over proposals to freeze research grants— a step that could jeopardize 1700 jobs."
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French Science and Higher Education Programs Avoid Austerity

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  • by concealment (2447304) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @09:57AM (#41538411) Homepage Journal

    Social programs cost a lot of money, much of which seems to go to those administering the programs, and not to the intended recipients.

    Research is -- on the scale that government or really large corporations operate -- cheap. It is a relatively small portion of the budget and yet returns value over decades and centuries.

    Some unsung R&D programs like the military, NASA and our espionage programs are also worth spending on.

    I don't understand austerity; is the idea "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today"? I bet that will work about as well as it sounds.

    Congratulations to the French on ducking this foolish trend and instead supplementing education and research.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Social programs cost a lot of money, much of which seems to go to those administering the programs, and not to the intended recipients.

      I'm pretty sure where the money ends up is all public information. You could get off your ass and show us some numbers instead of issuing vague assertions with absolutely no citations.

      Research is -- on the scale that government or really large corporations operate -- cheap.

      Oh yeah, particle accelerators come in six-packs at CostCo for $43. And you can pick up DNA reading chips at Walgreens for $5. Oh and a cloud of computers or a super computer is basically free for anyone who wants one. Who writes this kinda shit?

      I don't understand austerity; is the idea "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today"? I bet that will work about as well as it sounds.

      Right, you can tell the Greeks that they should have just kept spending spendi

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You're a moron.

        Small particle accelerators that you would use at a university for example are not very expensive.

        Large national and trans-national particle accelerators that are required to make certain kinds of advancements are expensive if you compare them to grocery items that you personally buy, but that's a stupid thing to compare with. Few of them are required. LHC, which is one of the largest and most expensive devices ever built cost about $9 billion. This is around 1% the cost of wars for USA in th

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "I don't understand austerity; is the idea "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today"? I bet that will work about as well as it sounds."

      Well, yes. Yes, it is "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today", because unfortunately for a few decades the idea has been "spend tomorrow's money today" or "borrow money from the future", and we've run out of credit. AKA "deficits don't matter" [wikiquote.org].

      Since 2008 we've been finding out what happens when you borrow too much money from the future. "Austerity" has become popular because th

      • by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @06:32PM (#41544301)

        Yes, it is "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today", because unfortunately for a few decades the idea has been "spend tomorrow's money today" or "borrow money from the future", and we've run out of credit. AKA "deficits don't matter".

        Deficits don't matter. Either you can produce enough to cover consumption, or you can't; money is just an abstraction over resources. But since resources can't be borrowed from future (assuming you don't have a time machine), if you're running a deficit but there aren't bread lines the problem is in your bookkeeping, not in your actual production/consumption ratio.

        Since 2008 we've been finding out what happens when you borrow too much money from the future.

        No, since 2008 we've been finding out what happens when you let a bunch of powerful sociopaths to act free of regulation.

        "Austerity" has become popular because there's no more that can be borrowed from future earnings.

        Austerity has become popular because it happens to be fashionable. It's all about pretending that you're an ascetic: you get the smug feeling of self-righteousness while others - the poor and the weak - pay the price. In that sense it's every bit as mindlessly self-indulging as the worst excesses of materialism. It's also just as insane, and will result in just as much damage, if not more - because a materialist wants everything no matter the cost, while an austerist wants to deny everything to everyone else no matter the cost, and the former position is merely selfish while the latter starts crossing over into scorpion [wikipedia.org] territory.

        It's like half the world has been partying and running up a huge bar tab, and now the bill has come due.

        And to whom is the bill due? Who has been supplying the beer of credit? Why, it's the very same half of the world that "owes" the debt to itself. Which is precisely why this is all so stupid: we are producing enough to cover our consumption, so the only thing this entire "crisis" consists of is a bunch of numbers going to one column or another. This is not an economical crisis, this is a financial crisis - and that's another way to say imaginary crisis.

        • Austerity has become popular because it happens to be fashionable. It's all about pretending that you're an ascetic: you get the smug feeling of self-righteousness while others - the poor and the weak - pay the price. In that sense it's every bit as mindlessly self-indulging as the worst excesses of materialism. It's also just as insane, and will result in just as much damage, if not more - because a materialist wants everything no matter the cost, while an austerist wants to deny everything to everyone else no matter the cost, and the former position is merely selfish while the latter starts crossing over into scorpion [wikipedia.org] territory.

          Just to avoid any confusion: I'm agreeing with you. But let me add that austerity is even more devious that you say. While deficits may not matter, debt does. Only we often call it "credit." Banks created trillions of dollars in derivatives that amount to bets that are just a fancy way of getting around limits on capital reserves. They were allowed to once again merge investment banks with commercial banks; so not only did they over-leverage, they did it with your savings account and your pension fund. And,

        • And to whom is the bill due? Who has been supplying the beer of credit? Why, it's the very same half of the world that "owes" the debt to itself.

          My arse it is. China is not Greece and Spain.

    • I am confused by your statement "I don't understand austerity". From my viewpoint, it is simple: pay for the programs you implement, don't leave it to your grandkids to pay for. In my country, we have Social Security. I like Social Security, it is a good idea. yet we ahve this notion that seniors have paid for their benefits. The reality is that the current generation of recipients paid between 50-70 cents on the dollar for the benefit they are receiving. My generation will likely be in the 70-75 percent ra

      • by rsborg (111459)

        I am confused by your statement "I don't understand austerity". From my viewpoint, it is simple: pay for the programs you implement, don't leave it to your grandkids to pay for. In my country, we have Social Security. I like Social Security, it is a good idea. yet we ahve this notion that seniors have paid for their benefits. The reality is that the current generation of recipients paid between 50-70 cents on the dollar for the benefit they are receiving. My generation will likely be in the 70-75 percent range. At some point, someone has to pay for the shortfall, and it will likely be my kids and grandkids. That is a horrible sign of selfishness and immaturity.

        I assume you live in the USA. One way to permanently fund Social Security [1] would be to remove the limits on the tax (which is currently limited to an arbitrary $106k) so millionaires (who do receive SS benefits when they retire) have to pay the same overall % of income as middle-class and the poor.

        This is but one of the more well known ways to fix shortfalls in government without having "our kids and grandkids pay". Perhaps we should remove corporate loopholes that allow companies to essentially pay no

        • One point: "so millionaires (who do receive SS benefits when they retire) ". Those millionaires don't receive a benefit past the point they stop paying taxes. Really it comes down to a philosophical debate. Who is responsible for paying for my retirement? But you are 100% correct that this would fix the problem immediately.

          Frankly, at this point, I'm not sure I care about the philosophical debate. I just want the hole plugged.

      • by ultranova (717540)

        I like Social Security, it is a good idea. yet we ahve this notion that seniors have paid for their benefits. The reality is that the current generation of recipients paid between 50-70 cents on the dollar for the benefit they are receiving. My generation will likely be in the 70-75 percent range. At some point, someone has to pay for the shortfall, and it will likely be my kids and grandkids. That is a horrible sign of selfishness and immaturity.

        /blockquote>

        How are you calculating this? Because the wo

        • How are you calculating this? Because the work done by each generation benefits the next beyond just the taxes paid. How much did productivity increase during working life of the current generation of Social Security recipients?

          You cannot seriously use productivity gains to justify under funding social security. There is no rationale basis for doing so.

          What does that mean - that your grandkids will be hopelessly indepted to themselves?

          Another "deficits don't matter" proponent. I stopped voting Republican

    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @10:28AM (#41538767)

      I don't understand austerity; is the idea "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today"? I bet that will work about as well as it sounds.

      Austerity in tough times is ass-backwards: it feeds the economic vicious cycle. The only sensible way to run a country is to set spending at a long-term sustainable level, borrow to maintain that level when times are tough, and pay the debt down when times are good.

      Unfortunately, most countries are run by politicians, so when times are good they cut taxes and go on a spending spree instead of paying down the public debt. Then when times are tough the find themselves in a real jam. (Cf. USA, 2001-present.)

      • I agree with you 100%. In the US, if we didn't have George Bush running up Trillions in debt we wouldn't be in the situation we are now. Obama has also spent far above what is needed to the tune of $6T debt in 4 years.

        The question I have is how do we change our US system to restrict this kind of spending. Clearly leaving the power in the hands of President/Congress hasn't worked. Balanced budget proposals have failed. How do we change the system to control ourselves better? I can't beleive we are doomed to

        • by rmstar (114746)

          The question I have is how do we change our US system to restrict this kind of spending. Clearly leaving the power in the hands of President/Congress hasn't worked. Balanced budget proposals have failed. How do we change the system to control ourselves better? I can't beleive we are doomed to an endess boom/bust cycle like we've seen around the world for centuries.

          Spending more would not a problem at the moment, for example, as borrowing costs for the US are so ridiculously low.

          Most of the money that the go

          • Spending more would not a problem at the moment, for example, as borrowing costs for the US are so ridiculously low.

            This makes a couple of prseumptions. 1) That the money being spent earns a higher (or at least equal) return. I don't think this is true. 2) Interest rates will remain low. I fail to see how this is possible long-term 3) We are able to repay the debt. We can do so any time by increasing money supply, but then inflation goes through the roof.

            Zero debt is not desirable, but neither is debt that

            • by rmstar (114746)

              1) That the money being spent earns a higher (or at least equal) return. I don't think this is true.

              This money will never be repaid. The key word is 'refinanced'. The people buying the new debt are the same that held the old.

              2) Interest rates will remain low.

              Bonds get auctioned, and the the rates are fixed for the lifetime of the bond.

              You will have to explain to me why Japan can borrow basically for free with a lot more debt than GDP, and a bad rating by the agencies.

              • 1) That the money being spent earns a higher (or at least equal) return. I don't think this is true.
                This money will never be repaid. The key word is 'refinanced'. The people buying the new debt are the same that held the old.
                2) Interest rates will remain low.
                Bonds get auctioned, and the the rates are fixed for the lifetime of the bond.

                The refinancing occurs continually, and there is no guarantee rates will remain this low.

                You will have to explain to me why Japan can borrow basically for free with a lot more

                • by rmstar (114746)

                  While you clearly have a handle on economic concepts, essentially your argument is that we can borrow without consequences. Dick Cheney got laughed at when he suggested this, and I laugh when I hear it today... or at least I would if it weren't my kids that will pay for it.

                  Well, Dick was right, and your kids have a lot less to fear than you think. The people that were laughing were the idiots.

      • I'd say that the problem is that politicians are working on day to day politics instead of thinking long term. Being elected, maintaining their positions, etc is always a higher priority (And short term) than anything long term and that benefits everyone more generally. The rewards for his short term political goals are immediate and satisfactory. Long term rewards are diffuse and uncertain and might mean risking the achievement of short term goals.

      • The problem is that some of that spending spree goes into persistent costs like salaries and hiring extra people. Then when times get tough, these people still expect to be paid, and you're going to have problems firing them in the public sector. So instead non-unionised expenses get cut since tax revenue has dropped considerably, and taxes are increased to pay for non essential costs while more important services suffer. Some departments even go so far as to deliberately cut important services in order to

      • by grep_rocks (1182831) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @12:16PM (#41540225)
        Austerity in times of high unemployment and low interest rates is pointless and self defeating - unemployment means you have unused human capital, which could be used to make capital improvement and inprove the nations assets, not to use it is to throw that away and that is not even considering the human cost - second when interst rates are rock bottom, it means it is a good time to borrow, the US treasury can now borrow at 1% so if the US borrowed $1Trillion you would only pay $10Billion in interest/year, it is called buy low sell high - Finally in a macoeconomic sense, which is the level at which the US government operates since it can print money and consumes a good fraction of the nations GDP, you _cannot_ "borrow frrom the future" this is the stupidist statement have ever heard, who the fuck has a time machine? One person's borrowing is another person's savings - that is an identity, when the US government goes into debt, the private sector balance sheet improves (it is called deleveraging), if the private sector whiches to reduce its debt the money has to go somewhere, where it goes is US treasuries, which is US gov't debt - finally most of the US debt is not owned by foriegn counties, it is owned by US citizens.
        • by Wildclaw (15718)

          you _cannot_ "borrow frrom the future" this is the stupidist statement have ever heard, who the fuck has a time machine? One person's borrowing is another person's savings - that is an identity, when the US government goes into debt, the private sector balance sheet improves (it is called deleveraging), if the private sector whiches to reduce its debt the money has to go somewhere, where it goes is US treasuries, which is US gov't debt - finally most of the US debt is not owned by foriegn counties, it is owned by US citizens.

          Thanks for the great post. most people have a horribly twisted view of macro economy, because they think being a currency owner works similarly to being a currency user. In reality it is often very much the opposite.

          A currency user earn money so that he later can spend it. A currency owner spends money so that he later can tax it back.

          The spending of a currency user is limited by the amount of money he has. The spending of a currency owner is limited by the unused productive resources of the economy.

          It is p

      • I don't understand austerity; is the idea "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today"? I bet that will work about as well as it sounds.

        Austerity in tough times is ass-backwards: it feeds the economic vicious cycle. The only sensible way to run a country is to set spending at a long-term sustainable level, borrow to maintain that level when times are tough, and pay the debt down when times are good.

        Unfortunately, most countries are run by politicians, so when times are good they cut taxes and go on a spending spree instead of paying down the public debt. Then when times are tough the find themselves in a real jam. (Cf. USA, 2001-present.)

        There is some irony in the fact that the Great Recession was brought on by an orgy of private borrowing against flawed intangible promises (e.g. mortgaged-backed securities), but people find it a horrible idea to borrow in order to invest in skills and knowledge.

        Realistically, of the these 3 bases of running up a debt: faith in other people's promises, faith in the government, and faith in education, the most risky of the 3 is the one we worship the most. Yes, I know, the government is evil, and it weasels

      • by Wildclaw (15718)

        With a sovereign floating fiat currency there is no need to pay the money back. The value of the currency will automatically adjust over time to the demands of the currency owner on the economy.

        In fact, there is really no need to borrow at all. The currency owner can simply print money to take the stuff it needs, and then it taxes the economy to keep up demand for the currency it prints, as well as to keep down inflation.

        As long as the taking is aimed mainly at unused resources in the economy (Read: Hiring

    • This is a very important point in these tough times.

      Too many countries want to 'cut waste' and preserve social spending.

      The problem is simply that the big social spending takes up so much of the budgets. The other cuts are pretty much meaningless, but can have drastic impacts on the areas affected.

      University R&D - cheap but essential for new discoveries.
      K-12... expensive and not much payback once u get past basic education. We keep spending more money and our kids aren't getting any smarter. Taboo to

    • "I don't understand austerity"

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compound_interest [wikipedia.org]

    • I don't understand austerity; is the idea "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today"? I bet that will work about as well as it sounds.

      There are only three options:

      1) Cut spending to match tax income.
      2) Increase taxes to match spending
      3) Borrow and hope that your economy grows enough to pay for it (or just create inflation).

      You have to understand how deeply in the hole some of these countries are. France is trying all three; they've increased taxes, cut spending, and they're still borrowing.

      Each strategy has advantages and drawbacks. Each strategy can fail horribly. The 'best' strategy obviously depends on the exact details of the

      • by timeOday (582209)

        It's not clear what Obama wants, other than canceling the Bush tax cuts for the rich, but unfortunately that won't raise enough revenue.

        I think the secret plan is to let the Bush Tax Cuts expire for everybody (not just the rich) after the economy starts to recover and inflation becomes a concern. And the reason he's not talking about it is because of the election next month.

        Or maybe I am just wishful-thinking out loud here. But if the recession ends (increasing the tax base and decreasing the demand o

        • f we could get back to moderately higher taxes (Reagan-era, or at least Clinton) and avoid any major new military escapades, things will be OK.

          No they won't, this chart explains why [wikipedia.org]. If a corporation managed its books the way the national government does, the CEO and board would be in jail. The unfunded liabilities are crushing, even without war.

      • You have to understand how deeply in the hole some of these countries are

        Public debt as a percentage of GDP:

        Japan: 208.2% (2011 est CIA)
        USA 104.1% (2011 est CIA)
        France: 86.5% (2011, est Eurostat).

        (Similar figures from IMF).

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_public_debt [wikipedia.org]

        So, some of these countries are in a pretty deep hole. Maybe not the ones you were thinking of.

        • You don't consider 86.5% to be deeply in the hole?
          • You don't consider 86.5% to be deeply in the hole?

            Compared to 208%?

            Compared to 104%?

            No, I don't.

            Oh, by the way, what's the figure for Germany?

            82%

            • hehe, ok, you're dumb. 86.5% is deeply in the hole.
              • hehe, ok, you're dumb. 86.5% is deeply in the hole.

                So, what is 82%

                What is 102%

                What is 208%

                Personally i've had a house loan of 220,000 EUR when I was making 44,000 EUR a year, i.e. my debt to "gdp" was around 500%. Was I "in a deep hole"?

                • So, what is 82%

                  Dangerous.

                  What is 102%

                  Lucky you're not dead.

                  What is 208%

                  Never going to be paid back.

                  Personally i've had a house loan of 220,000 EUR when I was making 44,000 EUR a year, i.e. my debt to "gdp" was around 500%. Was I "in a deep hole"?

                  I don't know your personal finances, but I'd guess you could devote 50% +-20% of your income to paying off the house. Most countries could do that too, but they would not be able to support their social services, etc. Also, my guess is, as you made housing payments, your total debt went down. In the case of these countries, total debt keeps going up. Which is depressing.

    • Austerity is a loaded word. Its true meaning is "don't spend more than you make." Sound advice. It is a masterpiece of media manipulation how it's been made into an evil act that should be avoided at all costs.
      • austerity |É'ËstÉrÉti, É"Ë-| noun
        1 sternness or severity of manner or attitude:
        2 difficult economic conditions created by government measures to reduce public expenditure: ( austerities )

    • I don't understand austerity; is the idea "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today"? I bet that will work about as well as it sounds.

      It seems to me that people in power have decided that the prevailing wisdom that "austerity" caused a deepening of the Great Depression and the stagflation of the '70s is bullshit, or that it's true but for other reasons they'd prefer to say it's not.

      I guess we get to learn that lesson again. Yay.

    • I don't understand austerity; is the idea "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today"? I bet that will work about as well as it sounds.

      Nope, the idea is "Don't sacrifice tomorrow to spend more today." Spending has to be paid for one way or another. Either now or in the future, directly via taxes or indirectly via inflation. There is no free lunch.

      Many countries have been going on spending sprees and now they have to pay for it. Yes, it sucks. Yes, it is painful. Proceeding as usual (or increasing spending) will just make the pain worse, albeit in the future. Right now the US pays about $500 billion in interest per year. Our defi

    • Research is -- on the scale that government or really large corporations operate -- cheap. It is a relatively small portion of the budget and yet returns value over decades and centuries.

      I'm not so sure about that. PhD Comics broke down the FY 2009 budget. [phdcomics.com] It's worth taking a look. $68B out of $3,518B, or about 19%. Now, having said this, there are impacts from government research funds that reach far beyond a large corporation research budget. Research can produce massive savings that last decades, grow whole new industries, or create entirely new "really large corporations" (Google came from an NSF grant). A typical corporate lab is not focused on problems that lead to societal-level savi

    • by khallow (566160)

      Research is -- on the scale that government or really large corporations operate -- cheap. It is a relatively small portion of the budget and yet returns value over decades and centuries.

      When it returns value greater than the cost, sure. I see you mentioned NASA later on. One should remember NASA's International Space Station as a counterexample which sucks up a lot of money, but delivers very little of scientific value.

      Frankly, I think there's a long term trend towards ineffective but massive, publicly funded research and an overall decline in the quality of scientific research. Similar problems occur with education, though that appears to be mostly a US thing right now.

      I don't understand austerity; is the idea "sacrifice tomorrow to pay for today"?

      No, it's sacrifi

  • Every new media technology back to the time of Edison was hyped to revolutionize costly labor-intensive education. (Edison initially promoted phonograph and motion pictures for education rather than entertainment.) Have MOcs turned the corner? Will national austerity budgets force colleges to do more of this?
    • We've had the Open University in the UK since 1969. One of it's more successful initiatives was putting lectures and demonstrations on TV at stupid-o'clock in the morning (only 3-4 channels back then) for it's student to videotape and watch later, with other course material being transmitted in the post. I don't know how much of an issue plagarism has been since the Internet grew in popularity, and it's perfectly possible that such distance learning has now had it's heyday.

      I really hope it hasn't - at

      • I really hope it hasn't - at £5000/year full time, it's tuition fees are considerably lower than the £9000/yr everyone else seems to be charging for an undergraduate degree. When you take into account the student loans that everyone here takes out to pay them, lower tuition fees seem like a good way to reduce our reliance on credit.

        And please never forget that the people who voted for those fees didn't pay them themselves, instead they were paid to go to university.

        (AFAIR I used to get about GBP 1000 a year, not a lot even then, but I left university with a a debt of only GBP 200. <yorkshireman>Try telling that to the kids of today</yorkshireman>).

        • ...the people who voted for those fees didn't pay them themselves...

          The tyranny of the majority rears it's ugly head once again.

          • ...the people who voted for those fees didn't pay them themselves...

            The tyranny of the majority rears it's ugly head once again.

            Not really. Universities were pretty selective, back in the day. Even if you lumped in the poly's and FE/HE sector it would have been considerably less than half.

  • Since Piaget et al times, France always gave priority to education and science. One example is the AEFE network of French Schools abroad (For instance, check here for an insight), with their trademark of academic excellence. No other country have such kind of networked schools abroad. Illegal immigration from Africa, unskilled immigrants mainly, supposed them a lot of problems, but investing in education and science, is the best possible bet to face problems with long term vision. It's amazing how other f
    • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @10:17AM (#41538641) Journal

      Believe it or not, the US spends more per capita on student education than France. I tend to think part of the US problem is that we do not target our money well, instead spending a disproportionate amount on those who don't want to learn. I do think we need to help those in lower income brackets, but I think it would be better to spend the money inside of that bracket on those families clearly trying to improve their situation.

      My wife teaches in inner city schools and there are programs that focus on high achieving students. But programs for those with disciplinary problems, behavioral issues or developmental problems seem to get funded much better. One program, for example, for children with severe disabilities is really just a day care program with a teacher and an aide for 6 children. The ratio is so low because the kids need constant care to keep them from hurting themselves. Is this a role for an educational system or for a welfare program? I want these kids to be safe, but I also want our educational system focusing on those who will lead our future. Do we really need Master's degree teachers in a role that is probably better suited to nursing. These kids will never learn what four plus four is yet we spend money on a teacher that could be used elsewhere in the inner city.

      • by vlm (69642)

        I tend to think part of the US problem is that we do not target our money well, instead spending a disproportionate amount on ...

        ... on administrators and sports. Getting rid of as much as possible of both is probably a very good idea.

      • by darthium (834988)

        Believe it or not, the US spends more per capita on student education than France. I tend to think part of the US problem is that we do not target our money well, instead spending a disproportionate amount on those who don't want to learn. I do think we need to help those in lower income brackets, but I think it would be better to spend the money inside of that bracket on those families clearly trying to improve their situation.

        My wife teaches in inner city schools and there are programs that focus on high achieving students. But programs for those with disciplinary problems, behavioral issues or developmental problems seem to get funded much better. One program, for example, for children with severe disabilities is really just a day care program with a teacher and an aide for 6 children. The ratio is so low because the kids need constant care to keep them from hurting themselves. Is this a role for an educational system or for a welfare program? I want these kids to be safe, but I also want our educational system focusing on those who will lead our future. Do we really need Master's degree teachers in a role that is probably better suited to nursing. These kids will never learn what four plus four is yet we spend money on a teacher that could be used elsewhere in the inner city.

        Please mod the former up.

        The Politically correct BS prevent people from saying the obvious. There is far more attention to 'disadvantaged' than to GIFTED KIDS.

        Isn't it tru that 'no child left behind' somehow became 'no child allowed ahead'

        In times of severe crisis, is it wise to invest mainly in the bottom, wasting the talent pool of a nation?

        The inventions and innovations that make mankind progress, have come from such bottom pool, or from the bright people?

        Shouldn't at least be a fair similar budget betw

        • I'm glad you agree. One thing I want to be clear on, however, is that I'd like to see at least as much money spent on 'disavantaged children' as is spent today if not more. I just want it targeted better to those who will benefit.

        • by CptPicard (680154)

          Interestingly here in Finland which seems to be the envy of the world in kids' education, we have always done everything in a very integrated way and we seem to be successful. We don't sacrifice the intellectual weaklings to give "more attention" to the stronger ones, although special ed classes do exist for those with un-integrable special needs. It is only recently that we have started to have a discussion about what to do with exceptionally gifted kids; it seems like it's sufficient to give them extra ma

  • by luke923 (778953)

    In America, we call that a spending cut.

  • It shows that "austerity" is no excuse; let this serve as an example for other countries which are in (or at least brag about being) much better economical situation, yet won't invest anything in education and research (Brazil, I'm looking at you)
    • by tomhath (637240)
      We'll have to wait an see what the final budget looks like. I get skeptical when they make a big show of funding good things like education and research in a "proposed" budget. Chances are too good that in the end the status quo won't change.
  • by lennier1 (264730)

    Not completely castrating the sector that has a good chance of helping them out of this mess just shows that there still have to be a few brain cells left in the French government.

  • by ColMstrd (103170) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @10:34AM (#41538871) Homepage Journal

    yeh, the French know that sacking the public sector in times of crisis does not help the economy; quite the reverse in fact. M. Hollande is old school ENA (Ecole Nationale d'Administration) which turns out highly-educated senior French bureaucrats and politicians, who, whatever else they may be, are not daft.

    • by tomhath (637240)
      From the summary:

      France's education and research ministry gets a 2.2% boost under the proposed budget, giving it a budget of just under €23 billion (US$29 billion). Most other ministries get a cut.

      The proposal is to keep education and research up with inflation and cut pretty much everything else, which I assume means cutting most public sectors. They really have no choice but to take austerity measures, they're close to the same cliff that Spain and Greece are looking over.

    • yeh, the French know that sacking the public sector in times of crisis does not help the economy; quite the reverse in fact. M. Hollande is old school ENA (Ecole Nationale d'Administration) which turns out highly-educated senior French bureaucrats and politicians, who, whatever else they may be, are not daft.

      Not Daft? They why is he pursuing austerity, a policy which has always led to economic depression and increased debt? It is nice he restrained to blow education, but then why blowing everything else?

      • M. Hollande is old school ENA (Ecole Nationale d'Administration) which turns out highly-educated senior French bureaucrats and politicians, who, whatever else they may be, are not daft.

        Not Daft? They why is he pursuing austerity, a policy which has always led to economic depression and increased debt? It is nice he restrained to blow education, but then why blowing everything else?

        Uh, because of the fucking Germans.

        • by manu0601 (2221348)

          Uh, because of the fucking Germans.

          UE does not have a problem with germans, but with Germany right wing government and its obsessions. However I have trouble to understand why François Holland accepts that treaty. We even have a precedent, as United Kindown and Czech Republic refused to sign it.

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @10:42AM (#41538973) Homepage

    So basically they are keeping up with inflation?

    • Yes. This is a good thing. Basically they have recognized that there are a few core items that you cannot cut just to meet short-term needs or desires. I would not expect education spending to grow dramatically above inflation.

      • Well it is not a good thing that this is the best that the world has to offer this year for science research, particularly considering that half of the world has reduced spending by far more than inflation.

        France keeps pace with inflation in science research, should not be a newsworthy phenomena.

  • Fake Austerity (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nova Express (100383) <lawrenceperson@g ... inus threevowels> on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @11:03AM (#41539223) Homepage Journal

    So, France is going to cut (or at least pretend to cut) deficits from 4.5% of GDP to 3% of GDP, while hiking taxes.

    That is not real austerity. You know what real austerity is? Cutting spending until it matches the amount of revenue actually coming in. This is the hard discipline that the vast majority of private enterprises have to adhere to, but which no government with a European welfare state seems capable of.

    No Eurozone country [battleswarmblog.com] (with the possible exception of Estonia) has actually practiced real austerity. You know that "Greek Austerity" measure, the one that had Greeks rioting in the streets? That reduced deficit spending from 9.0% of GDP to 7.5% of GDP. And even that amount was probably a lie.

    Politicians need deficit spending the way a junkie needs heroin because the cradle-to-grave welfare state is unsustainable, and no one is willing to face up to that fact. And the price of that delusion will be the destruction of our economy.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Um, real austerity is cutting things so you HAVE no deficit, so you can PAY BACK your debt. A balanced budget should be seen as normal, not austere.

      Your sneering at "European welfare states" is kind of ironic considering that the US (that bastion of "capitalism") is deeply in debt, with huge deficits, and doesn't seem to be too concerned about doing anything about it. Half of the major US political parties still think large national deficits are a good thing.

    • This is the hard discipline that the vast majority of private enterprises have to adhere to, but which no government with a European welfare state seems capable of.

      Strange, isn't it. Almost as if governments and corporations are not the exact same thing.

      Austerity makes zero sense when applied to governments. How many times does this need to be proven? How many gutted middle classes and depressions does it take? "Tightening the belt" on a countrywide scale is a feel good, self flagellating piece of fiction that simply does not work.

      But don't let me take away your smug sense of superiority over nearly all of Europe. Romney 2012!

    • This is the hard discipline that the vast majority of private enterprises have to adhere to, but which no government with a European welfare state seems capable of.

      Why did you use the words "Welfare state" in there? It's as if somehow you're blaming this for the problems? IIRC the US isn't a "welfare state" and it suffered just as bad. In fact the two biggest economic disasters both occured under conservative leadership. I live in Australia, we have a welfare state and into on our 21st year of consecutive economic growth (with at least 4 more more forecast). So if you're trying to imply that welfare is to blame then the facts don't much your poorly thought out claims

      Politicians need deficit spending the way a junkie needs heroin because the cradle-to-grave welfare state is unsustainable, and no one is willing to face up to that fact. And the price of that delusion will be the destruction of our economy.

      O

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