Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thought experiment

Let us imagine that, following an outcry among leftists over hunger and malnutrition among the public, the government decided to run its own grocery stores and operated them in the same fashion as government-run schools. It might look something like this:
  • Members of the public would only be allowed to patronize one such store, with the store assigned based on where they lived. 
  • If the public found out about another government-run store that had better offerings, was better staffed, cleaner, etc. they would have to move to a new neighborhood in order to patronize it.
  • Workers at the store would almost never be fired.
  • There would be no prices listed and food would be nominally "free." Instead patrons would pay indirectly through increased taxes. Most would have little idea how much they were actually spending for their food. 
  • The decision over which products to offer (think milk brand instead of textbooks) would be made by an elected Grocery Store Board. This would be the one brand offered at all government-run grocery stores in the state.
  • The grocery stores would face directives not only from state and local government, but a federal Department of Food.
  • Attempts to offer vouchers, perhaps known as "food stamps," for citizens in neighborhoods with sub-standard government grocery stores so they could instead shop at privately-run facilities such as Whole Foods, Safeway, Harris Teeter etc. would be fought tooth and nail by leftist politicians. 
Would such a scenario represent an improvement or deterioration from the status quo?

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