Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Department of Consumer Goods Distribution

Private businesses produce jet engines, cars that park themselves, machines that can see inside live human bodies, and phones that can access the world's information from just about anywhere. For some reason, though, we’re convinced that government should have complete control over teaching children how to read, write, and understand mathematics and history. This belief is so strong that we allow the government to enforce a legal monopoly and collect compulsory payments for this service, even from those that don't use the service. To make matters worse, no matter how bad the service gets, we keep agreeing to pay more, and anyone that questions this arrangement is branded a danger to society or a heartless, selfish person who wants to deny children the opportunity to learn.

Imagine if the government gave Walmart a monopoly on selling all consumer goods. No other stores are allowed to sell canned chili, tennis shoes, DVDs, and lawn furniture. The CEO and the other officers of Walmart are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The government forces everyone, even people who grow their own food, make their own clothes, and entertain themselves, to contribute to this system. Everyone is assigned to shop at a specific Walmart; you can’t shop at a different Walmart. The Walmart workers are required to join, and pay dues to, a union that represents them. The union is also given a monoply; no other unions are allowed. The union is allowed to contribute to political candidates that it favors and to promote government policies that support the existing system for distributing consumer goods.

Since it works so well for educating children, it should do wonders for Walmart’s business.

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