In Governor Kitzhaber’s final inaugural address last week, he focused on the themes of equality and community. Specifically, he wants to reduce the gap between rich and poor. He also believes that only through collective action can we achieve that goal.
Unfortunately, his obsession with “equal outcome” guarantees that we will lose “equal opportunity.”
For instance, our Governor is passionate about spending more public money on the “free” public education system, because free education is supposed to make everyone better off. But the taxes required for this very expensive entitlement impose major burdens on families that prefer to educate their children at home or through private schools.
Is the Governor proposing legislation offering a money-back guarantee so that dissatisfied parents can get a refund and spend their tax dollars on the schools of their own choosing? No, he is not. His insistence that we all pay for a generic service makes him feel better about himself, but deprives actual students of educational opportunities.
The governor may dream of a more equal world, but if he insists on regulating his way towards that goal, he will dramatically reduce our personal freedom. And what most people really care about is the opportunity to pursue their own dreams, regardless of whether the eventual outcome makes them richer or poorer than their neighbors.
John A. Charles, Jr. is President and CEO at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.