Bad Marriages

As I’ve been thinking through a number of different issues, I keep arriving at the utter stupidity of two contingent, harmful linkages in our social system. Both linkages should be dissolved immediately.

(1) The house-school linkage.

(2) The work-health care linkage.

Both of these connections are an accident of history, make almost no sense whatsoever, and make it very very difficult for people to create unique modes of living that suit their individual situation. If I could push a button and divorce houses from schools and work from health care, I would do it. I would prefer generous federal-level education vouchers, and generous federal-level universal insurance coverage over the status-quo. And I don’t like either of those ideas very much.

(I will die in the last ditch, however, to prevent further government involvement in the provision, as opposed to the financing, of education and health care. Whether you can get redistributive taxpayer financing without terrible government provision and control is a question for the ages. Other things equal, you should be opposed to a policy roughly in proportion to the degree that it interferes with price signals.)

Are there any other bad policy marriages that need to be annulled?

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center