Actually, I think Epiphone is Gibson's cheap line, they make cheap versions of Gibson's line of guitars. Squire makes cheap Fenders in Asia if I am not mistaken.
I agree about learning to play on accoustic, but many people never want to play on accoustics - so an accoustic is a waste of money. Some kids will "stick with it longer" if it is an electric guitar, and won't end up with a $250 accoustic in the closet beside the tennis rackets and golf clubs.
Either Epiphone (Gibson) or Squire (Fender) are good cheap guitars. I'm sure there are others good ones, but I can recomend both of the above.
If money is not an option, I'd go with a Gibson. I've got a 67' Gibson SG reissue ('92), it is now worth 3 times what I paid for it (an investment) - and sounds better each time I bang it around a bit.
Also, if I ever decide to go as Angus Young for Halloween, I've got a really good costume prop!