|What if We Bought Groceries the Way We Buy Public Education?
||[Apr. 4th, 2004|05:48 pm]
The New Effluvium
Thoughts By Jerry Agar|
Public education is a monopoly controlled by the government. Whenever I point out that socialism doesn't work, I am invariably told that I am wrong and that education is too important to be left to the private sector. Children have a right to education, and some children would not be educated without total government involvement.
Should we then decide that food is too important to be left to the private sector, in the belief that only the government can equitably distribute groceries? After all, if we don't eat, we can't learn. What would it be like if we purchased food the same way we purchase education?
Grocery stores would be government owned and operated. There would be a Department of Groceries with a highly paid Superintendent of Groceries, along with tenured positions such as Secretary of Celery, Deputy of Donuts and the Administrator of Arugula, all with fine offices and a staff (assistant Secretary of Celery.) Naturally, they would be housed in an expensive office building, full of people who never actually stock shelves, run the register, bag the food, unload trucks or retrieve the carts from the parking lot. Every person would be assigned a grocery store. Despite public hearings, in the pretense of listening to the public, your grocery store would be assigned and you would NOT -I repeat NOT, be allowed to shop in ANY other public food store regardless of its proximity to your home. From time to time, due to population changes, each person would be reassigned to a different grocery store. So as to ensure that we get a proper ethnic and socio-economic mix you may be assigned to a store in another neighborhood, this would be only for the good of the community. White people should learn a greater appreciation of tacos and ethnic people need to embrace white bread and mayonnaise.
If we bought groceries the way we buy public education, each person would get the same amount and type of groceries. This would ensure that no longer would the rich be consuming sirloin in greater amounts than do poor people. That would not be fair. Of course, as they tend to do, the rich could opt out and go to private grocery stores, but their share of the public grocery budget would remain with the public store and they would have to pay extra from their own pocket for their greedy consumption of private food. The fact that these private stores would sell food at a cheaper prices, with greater variety, showing vastly superior customer responsiveness, would be of no consequence to the government food stores monopolizing the public grocery dollars.
This large administration would annually demand more money for the
public stores and the legislature would invariably give it to them. If there were to be any threat to NOT increase funding of the public food stores, the Dept. of Groceries would threaten the public by declaring that they would no longer be able to fund bread and milk. There would never be a threat to decrease the size of the administration, only the supply of bread and milk. "Clean up on aisle 5," would be a reason for a tax increase. Private, "more expensive" grocery stores would flourish, leading to a private-stores "vouchers" movement. This would be opposed, of course, by the NGA, a powerful grocers' union, even though many NGA members would be frequenting private stores simply because their fare is obviously superior and because they can afford to. "Home-growers" would also proliferate, to the dismay of the NGA, who would openly fret about the lack of quality guarantees on the food grown by home growers. The grocers lobby would seek to stifle the movement by the sheer weight of new state and federal regulations on home growing.
Media reports on home growing would seek to the movement by association, by focusing exclusively on hillbillies making white lightnin'. CNN hosts would regularly make snide comments about home growers as toothless, drunken hicks in a trailer at the end of the road, who don't know how to behave in a public grocery.
Food is more important than education. We have left the distribution of food to the private sector. Are we experiencing food distribution problems in America? No, we are not. Are we able and willing to feed people who can't, for whatever reason feed themselves. Yes we are, with food stamps, welfare and many private charities. I think we can agree that it is in our interest to publicly fund education. It is not in our interest to let a socialist monopoly government operation actually run it. Monopolies stifle innovation, efficiency and excellence by eliminating the choices of the marketplace.
Public funding and operating of the food stores and grocery supply as I have described is incredibly foolish. Why do we stand for it in education?