As Gordon Brown's spending spree judders to a halt, the diners at the UK's economic table look at each other uneasily, as the time approaches for someone to pick up the bill. Enter the Confederation of British Industry, with a modest proposal to raise tuition fees from university students.
You've got to admire their chutzpah. Over the past decade, business leaders have been regularly enjoying double-digit pay increases. Meanwhile, the one single aspect where the present government has actually saved money, and not spent more of it, is on student finance. Specifically, they stopped paying for students' tuition, and now expect them to borrow the cash instead. Admittedly, the government lends it to them, at low interest rates.
That's not good enough for the CBI however. They've awarded themselves the above-mentioned pay increases on a regular basis, and only received a pusillanimous, relatively recent, 10% tax increase on incomes over 150k. So what we now have is a bunch of fat cat business leaders telling a bunch of penniless students to pick up the bill for Gordon Brown's uncontrollable spending habit. It's blindingly obvious that taxes will have to go up -- my own as well as the CBI's. You don't have to be an economist (or perhaps you do have to be non-economist) to figure that out.