Other writers, on school vouchers, commuting

Other Writers

The case for school vouchers

A. Barton Hinkle in Reason : what is a school voucher but a kind of Obamacare subsidy?

Obamacare’s subsidies make private medical care accessible to their recipients. With it, they can choose from among a variety of approved providers—just like those who use school vouchers. The NEA, which supports Obamacare, certainly doesn’t consider this “dangerous.” Nor does it fret that offering people a range of choices among health care providers commoditizes medicine. Nor, evidently, do public-education advocates think Obamacare’s limited freedom of consumer choice places “individual benefit before the public good.” After all, the public good is served when people get medical care—not when they get it through one particular source only.

Granted, while health care reform was being debated the NEA said it “strongly supports a public health care option.” Guess what? School voucher programs include a public option, too—existing in public schools. Nobody is forced to use a voucher.

Critics of vouchers always warn about the dangers of giving parents more options: private schools with low standards, lousy curricula, “abhorrent discipline policies” and so on—as if we didn’t read about similar problems in the public schools every day. They don’t bother to mention that public-school teachers send their own kids to private schools at twice the rate the general public does—and, in some places, three to four times the rate.

The education model, meanwhile, is nothing like Obamacare. It’s not like Obamacare with a public option. It’s not even like a single-payer system, such as a Medicare-for-all program would be. Rather, it’s the equivalent of a state-run system in which the vast majority of the public is consigned to a government-run hospital or clinic, while the rich buy their way out.

But imagine for a moment that America’s education system did resemble Obamacare. In each case, consumers chose from a wide array of private providers, along with a couple of public ones, and the government guaranteed financial support for those who couldn’t pay. Now imagine someone coming along and suggesting that we scrap the entire free-choice system and herd everyone, except the very rich, into state schools and hospitals managed run by government bureaucrats.

If Rubio is too poor, is Hillary too rich?

Emily Zanotti in The American Spectator : As has it been made clear over the last few days, Marco Rubio is simply too poor to be president. His stubborn failure to suddenly re-manifest as a lilly-white sexagenarian plutocrat may cost him the highest office in the land.

For Hillary Clinton, however, being richer than God is proving no problem at all. With an estimated net worth of $100 to 200 million, Hillary Clinton should obviously be making ends meet, and unlike Marco Rubio, without the aid of her book deals (though those have undoubtedly helped). At an average of $200,000 per speaking engagement, she was clearly earning more than enough to afford the finer things. And while the New York Times frets over a fishing boat, it turns out that Hillary Clinton has had seaside adventures of her own, in a lovely summer home in the Hamptons - a rental that costs $200,000 per month.

That’s quite the condo. You can tour the full 6,600 square feet at an earlier Daily Mail link, but suffice it to say, the sprawling estate is easily as well-outfitted as John Kerry’s yacht. It has “numerous” guest rooms among the eight bedrooms, sweeping views of the ocean, a lovely den with a billiards room and a pool.

The cost of long commutes

Gillian B. White in The Atlantic : Commuting, by and large, stinks. Congested roads can quickly turn what would be a scenic drive into a test of patience, and for those who use mass transit, the decision to put their trips in the hands of local public-transit systems can quickly go from freeing to aggravating thanks to late trains, crowded buses, or the bad behavior of fellow riders. But lengthy and burdensome commutes are awful for another reason, too—they disproportionately affect the poor, making it more difficult for them to reach and hold onto jobs.

A recent survey released by Citi found that on average, round trip commutes for those who were employed full time in the U.S. took about 45 minutes and costs around $12 per day. But for both cost and time there were enormous variations. In metro areas like New York and Chicago, average round-trip commute times were longer than an hour, and in Los Angeles the daily cost of commuting averaged about $14—that’s more than $3,500 each year. Nearly two-thirds of commuters said that the cost of getting to work had increased over the past five years.

Most unfair of all: When it came to the most extreme commutes in terms of price, the survey found that about 11 percent of respondents who said they paid $21 or more for their daily commute made less than $35,000.