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Full School Choice In Nevada

By Sara Scarlett
June 15th, 2015 at 11:36 am | Comments Off on Full School Choice In Nevada | Posted in education, US Politics
As of next year, parents in Nevada can have 90 percent (100 percent for children with special needs and children from low-income families) of the funds that would have been spent on their child in their public school deposited into a restricted-use spending account. That amounts to between $5,100 and $5,700 annually, according to the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Those funds are deposited quarterly onto a debit card, which parents can use to pay for a variety of education-related services and products — things such as private-school tuition, online learning, special-education services and therapies, books, tutors, and dual-enrollment college courses.
Notably, families can roll over unused funds from year to year, a feature that makes this approach particularly attractive. It is the only choice model to date that puts downward pressure on prices. Parents consider not only the quality of education service they receive, but the cost, since they can save unused funds for future education expenses.
I’ve been wanting to see how a full school choice model will work and now we finally get a chance. It’s a profoundly egalitarian model that gives access to all whilst still allowing the markets to function freely and obliterating the flailing government monopoly on education. Despite record investment in education, the USA’s public school system remains an inconsistent, mediocre, zipcode lottery.
School choice interests me because it’s one of the policy areas that should be loved by Libertarians and Social Liberals alike. To me, it’s a policy that schould distinguish the Social Liberals from the Social Democrats. The way it will be enacted in Nevada, it makes the State’s poorest completely equal with the majority of the Middle Classes. The more affluent Middle Classes will still be able to top up these funds, of course, but this is a hitherto unknown level of education equality. Local government ensuring equality of access to services whilst fully exploiting the benefits, decentralisation and pluralism of the markets. This should be the dream of a Social Liberal. Sadly, SLF’s declared hatred of monopolies never seems to extend to failing government monopolies…

Why ObamaCare Champions Disgust Me

By Sara Scarlett
October 2nd, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Comments Off on Why ObamaCare Champions Disgust Me | Posted in health, US Politics, Welfare State

One of the criticisms that was leveled against me on LDV recently was that I don’t support ObamaCare. No, I do not support ObamaCare. I am ferociously proud of the fact that I do not and have never supported ObamaCare. Here are two very good reasons reasons why:

ObamaCare in no way changed the structural problems inherent in the US Healthcare system. ObamaCare just involved more people in the system through the coercion of others. ObamaCare is legislation that forces people to buy a private product. That is quite possibly the most illiberal legislation that has been passed in recent years. Obama handed consumers to the Insurance Companies on a plate. There is now no escape from this sad, corporatist mess now the option of remaining consciously uninsured has gone.

ObamaCare does not extend health care to everyone. Not even close and we’re talking millions of people. ObamaCare has not meant Universal Coverage. There are now many, many Americans paying higher taxes who still don’t have health care.

The structural problems of the US health care system are still a long way off being dealt with and that’s a shame. A missed opportunity, even. The best health care models are those found on the Continent and that has remained true both before and after ObamaCare was passed.

Land of the Free????

By Angela Harbutt
February 4th, 2011 at 12:38 am | 8 Comments | Posted in US Politics

I always thought of America as the place where personal choice and individual freedom where held in high esteem. Where informed discussion was preferred to berating and banning. Where politeness won out over prohibition. Where they chose discourse over directives.

Well that was then and this is now. In New York anyway. The very epitomy of the Land of the Free got that bit more Soviet today when Michael Bloomberg -Mayor of New York – extended the ban on smoking to  all of city’s 14 miles of beaches, marinas and boardwalks and some 1700 parks (including Central Park) as well as many”other” public places such as  Times Square.

“This summer, New Yorkers who go to our parks and beaches for some fresh air and fun will be able to breathe even cleaner air and sit on a beach not littered with cigarette butts,”said Mr Bloomberg. “Breathe even cleaner air” (I love the “even” in that sentence) – that’s if you can see the air for the car fumes of course… (no they lost the congestion charge battle some time ago).

Still, the few tourists they will have left following the introduction don’t have to be too concerned just yet.. It has also been announced the smoking ban will be self-enforced, with residents rather than police warning others not to smoke in public places. And should an over eager policeman decide he will fine you, a delightfully named “quality-of-life summon” will be handed down to a violator of the smoking ban, similar to what the city does for public urination (!) with a fine of about $50. But no “on-the-spot” fines here as the fear of corruption is too great! Go figure…..

So where can you smoke in New York? City sidewalks (obviously) and private businesses where smoking is presently allowed, e.g. rooftop bars and private apartments of course – though watch this space as many want to see a ban on smoking in private residences introduced here too. What will it be I wonder? Secret surveillance cameras in their bathrooms? or just good old ratting on neighbours.

There is much controversy about this ban as you might expect. Over half the city say they are against it, and the phone-ins across the city are awash with people asking why ban smoking in public parks (where there is ample space to get away from the smoke) but allow it on the pavements where people are squeezed in six to a dozen.

Well, welcome to the world of soviet planning folks…no rhyme nor reason…

It has been suggested that this ban is more about the cost of cleaning up the cigarette butts than it is about the “cleaner air”.  And they may be right. In 2010, New York taxpayers worked until April 23, ranking it 3rd highest in the nation, 2 weeks after the national Tax Freedom Day (April 9). …Who knows….

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Anti-war what it is good for?

By Sara Scarlett
January 23rd, 2011 at 3:08 pm | 7 Comments | Posted in Civil Liberties, International Politics, US Politics

Sadly, only for making partisan political points it seems. A theme of foreign policy debates recently has been: ‘where did the anti-war movement go?’. The protests and venom aimed at George W. Bush’s foreign policy have all but nearly disappeared. The anti-war movement was political motivated, however, just because an action is politically motivated doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong. ReasonTV makes an interesting point:

“How liberals argue”

By Julian Harris
November 9th, 2010 at 3:21 pm | 2 Comments | Posted in US Politics

When I appeared as a “witness” on Radio 4’s Moral Maze programme [/self plug], I found Melanie Phillips to be very articulate, persuasive and well-prepared. She may not be the most popular figure around these parts, and I disagreed with some of her angles on the issue in question, but she did earn my respect for her conduct.

However, she’s done herself no favours by linking to this video (below) through the Spectator blog. “Moronic” isn’t the word for this animation. Well, actually, it is. Along with “strawman” and “bang your head against a wall repeatedly”.

I’m no America-basher, but this kind of thing does make our side of the pond look somewhat more attractive. In spite of our “rampant muslim immigration”.  Tsssh. Watch it, but prepare for despair…

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