Thursday, June 24, 2010

Education, Health Care, and National Security

Recently I heard a retiree say that she was moving from New York to escape the high taxes. I am sympathetic to that, but it raises again for me a question about tax policy in the United States. I have long believed that services that were of vital interest to the nation ought to be completely or chiefly paid for with federal tax dollars. I would put health care and education in this category because I think both are matters of national security. When most people lived their lives in or near the community where they were born, it might have made sense to pay for education and health care locally. With such a highly mobile population, it makes no sense to leave these vital matters to localities. When someone is raised in a community or a state where public education is inadequate and moves to another state, it is the other state that will continue to bear the burden of that inadequate education in ways to numerous to mention. Or when a child grows up with inadequate health care and then as an adult moves, it will be the new community and state that bears the cost of dealing with the poor health of that person. Until we decide to fund the lion's share of these vital services at the national level, we will continue to have regional health care and educational inequality. And that is a matter of national security.

No comments: