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Is HECS repayment and progressive taxation double-dipping?

I had a thought recently.

Public university used to be free in Australia.  Now it is not.  I came out of uni owing 20k to the government- not a lot compared with many other countries, but still, a fair bit.

Now, I am repaying that money now I have crossed a certain earning threshold.  It is automatically deducted from my pay.

But I ask you this:

Given that we have progressive taxation in Australia- the tax rate on the highest bracket is quite high- and that having a degree adds a lot to your earning potential over your lifetime, is the HECS repayment system double-dipping.

I mean, we are creating citizens who earn more, and consequently will pay a higher rate of tax.  But then, on top of that, we are making their tax rate even higher (up to an additional 8%) in order to repay the loans.

In a strange way, are we not paying for the degree twice?  If the institutions weren’t public, it would make more sense…

I know, I know, it’s a fragmented, stupid thought.  And, really, I think 20k for an undergraduate degree is pretty damn good (though the 14k for my masters is going to suck).  But still, it’s like creating thieves then punishing them.

One thought on “Is HECS repayment and progressive taxation double-dipping?

  1. I don’t quite see it that way.
    It only comes across as ‘double dipping’ in this theory because of the fact that the HECS or HELP or whatever the financial support system is called now is a government loan/support system. It just so happens that in our country the govt is providing this support.
    The govt could just as easily say, “screw you, go get your loan from a bank” (which in today’s scenario would leave a lot of people in the lurch given banks won’t even lend to each other let alone ‘risky students’, ha..).
    My POV, anyway :)

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