Friday, August 17, 2007

vouchers for home vs. school

In this morning's C-J (Indiana edition):

The New Albany Housing Authority has been recognized for the way it runs a program that provides vouchers to residents who qualify to rent apartments in the private market.

So, if vouchers are good enough for the housing market, why aren't they good enough for elementary and secondary education? If poor people can make reasonable decisions about housing, why not about the education of their children? If the market can absorb consumers with housing vouchers worth thousands of dollars per year, why isn't it possible to do the same with schooling?

Or reversing it: If the government should be in the business of operating schools, why shouldn't they operate public housing? If the poor can't choose a school, why should they be allowed to choose an apartment? Wouldn't it be more compassionate and more efficient to have the government run public housing and force poor people into the same apartment buildings?

The primary difference is not efficiency, compassion, or the decision-making ability of the poor-- but a special interest group which wants to protect its monopoly power. Significant monopoly power is a great gig for suppliers-- if you can get it (typically from the government).

1 Comments:

At August 18, 2007 at 7:34 AM , Blogger Darrell said...

Eric,

I'm catching up on reading your blog. Very prodigious! I once recall George Grant saying that with his blogs he need never have an unpublished thought.

You've written a few items on vouchers of late which got spurred me to write a little something that might be of interest to your readers (it can be found at http://dowblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/what-about-vouchers.html)

Maybe we can share our handful of readers :)

I make the case that I think biblically, which is what we're primarily interested in, education is in the hands of the family. I tend to think that vouchers would have a nasty egalitarian effect, leveling everything in their path.

My question for you would be why and how you think vouchers would strengthen a family by giving them more choices. I tend to think the choice winds up being illusory, but am willing to be educated on the matter.

Darrell

 

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