If you tax everyone, send all the money through a bureaucracy, then....

…then you seem to get less of the output that you were originally trying to engineer in the first place. Leading to the conclusion that perhaps government and bureaucracy aren’t the answer to every problem:

Apprenticeships are falling despite the Government’s introduction of a new levy, the Public Accounts Committee has found. The number of apprenticeship starts dropped by 26 per cent after the apprenticeship levy was introduced, the report said.

In the 2017/18 academic year, there were 375,800 apprenticeship starts, compared to 509,400 in 2015/16, the last full year before the apprenticeship levy was introduced.

The apprenticeship levy forces companies with a wage bill of more than £3 billion to pay 0.5 per cent of it to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), which is part of the Department for Education (DfE).

The companies have until April 2019 to draw down the funding, which they must use to take on new apprentices, or train existing staff.

The DfE has failed to make the progress it predicted when it reformed the apprenticeships programme two years ago, according to the PAC report.

It didn’t work under the first set of bureaucratic rules, it didn’t work under the second set of bureaucratic rules as reformed. Perhaps the problem is with bureaucracy and tax as a solution?

Which is to ask Thomas Sowell’s question again. “Compared to what?”

Perhaps it is true that there are insufficient apprenticeships in the country. This might be the manner in which all the Technical Colleges, which used to do the day release schemes, are now universities doing full time grievance studies courses. It is, theoretically at least, possible that the helping hand of government has been giving insufficient bureaucratic support to the endeavour to train Britain’s young.

Once you’ve stopped laughing at the back there we might just try observing reality. More government here has led to a worse outcome. The solution therefore is to have less of that government.

We’re often accused of having a slash and burn approach to government itself which is fair enough for we do have a distaste for it as an institution. Sometimes it’s necessary and we’ll put up with that. But we do also insist that the other side of the idea be given more of a hearing. Sometimes - often - government just isn’t the manner of gaining the end goal. Assuming that the goal isn’t just more government. Thus there are myriad tasks and problems we shouldn’t apply the government solution to. This apparently including how to teach the young of the nation to do something useful.

That is, the Telegraph article should read “Apprenticeships are falling because of the Government’s introduction…”