(Original post by FDR)
1) Education is something that should be available to everyone, regardless of income.
2) I appreciate what you are saying, that in a market prices would be pushed down, and that there would be gains in efficiency, and that, in theory you could still make attendance compulsory, however in practice this wouldn't work, even if it seems like it would in theory. This is because whilst wealthy families can afford to shop around, and move so that they live near the best schools, the poorest can't, so they will just send their children to the nearest school, regardless of standard, and these schools will have little incentive to improve, and may just cut costs and therefore compromise quality in search of higher profits. In our current system, families can find the best state schools, and try and send their kids to them, but many do not. The answer is to raise state schools to the standard of private schools. How? Well that's another debate.
3) You're right in that many people in state schools do achieve, and go on to top universities. But the proportion of privately educated children at top universities is still very high - as you would expect, given that parents fork out a lot to ensure their offspring get the best education. If someone makes a lot of money because of sheer hard work, then they deserve their money, and if someone else didn't work so hard, then they deserve what they get. However, they should have the same opportunities to achieve, and they don't.
4) But the progressive way is equal in that the income between 0-£30k that both earn is the same for both - the person earning £150k doesn't have to accept the extra £120k they make, but in doing so accepts that they will enter a higher tax bracket, in the same way that the person earning £30k accepts that if they earn another £10k or so, they will move into a higher bracket. The Law is the same for both.
5) I could also argue it's not equal in that it's only the proportion that's equal, and in absolute terms, it's still not equal.
6) The tax system is (well, was) designed to maximise revenue, not wellbeing. However it also ensures that those who make less keep more of what they make as they need more of it.
A Land value tax may not be a bad idea however.
7) In theory, the free market should lower prices. In practice, it doesn't. Just look at the US - healthcare there is much more expensive per person that pretty much anywhere else, and to be honest, the results aren't great - a life expectancy below the OECD average, and an appaulling infant mortality rate.
8) As for people not having children, what if they choose to? Should society let the children and parents suffer because they made bad decisions? I hope not.
9) When Thatcher took office in 1979...
10) Most governments, including the US, UK and Eurozone have no control over the interest rate, but yes, central bankers such as Alan Greenspan and Mervyn King were irresponsible. The governments were by no means innocent, but the truth is, they had no idea what was going on, and the regulators were told to be light touch. This wasn't an elaborate plan by the government to blame the banks, but rather a mistake that they didn't make sure they had a reliable set of eyes and ears on Wall street and The City.
11) In the US, UK, Japan and pretty much any country that can borrow in it's own currency, debt isn't an issue - they can borrow at very low rates, and have no urgent need to cut down whatsoever.
12) Should we make some necessary cuts in five or six years? Perhaps. But for the UK, a country that can borrow cheaply and which has it's own currency, to cut now is resulting in us being in the longest depression this country has ever seen, with no signal of us getting out. Even the market for UK 10 year bonds (a measure of how easily a government can borrow) is too cheap - the markets show that they are worried that the UK will be in a long depression with periods of deflation, and therefore signals that we need to spend more to offset the lack of private demand.