Earlier this evening, I overheard some school-voucher advocates remarking upon how astonishing it is that socialist Sweden has adopted a voucher program of the sort that Milton Friedman and others have advocated, with little success, for the U.S.
To me, what’s astonishing is how blind “free-market” voucher advocates can be to the nature of vouchers when something like this puts it right in their face: the Swedes like vouchers because they like socialism. In Sweden, the government pays for everything else, so why wouldn’t it pay for “private” schooling, too? If anything, the addition of vouchers makes Sweden more socialist, not less.
The welfare-handout nature of vouchers can be seen in many of the voucher programs that do exist in the U.S.: they tend to favor people with low incomes, who don’t pay taxes, or other politically correct groups (for example, in Ohio, the autistic).
Meanwhile, in Sweden as everywhere else, government money no doubt means government control over what is taught — despite the appearance of greater freedom for schools in areas that are less important to the state.12:37 am on August 1, 2008 Email Jacob Huebert