The current system of government rewards failure.

These examples (police, fire, public hospitals) are all monopolies, so their incentives could be guided by either A) discerning or vengeful taxpayers who would punish them for inefficiency, or B) frightened taxpayers who will give them whatever they demand.

Of course, this what happens now, and I doubt that pragmatarianism would be worse.

But I do think there’s evidence that taxpayers don’t mind seeing their money flushed down the toilet. Specifically, where I live, voters — by large majorities — almost always support wasteful school budgets. And because almost all voters pay dedicated school taxes, it comes pretty close to voting with their money. And, even worse, they are choosing to allocate money to public schools not from other public goods, but instead from private goods.

(Yes, I’m aware that the 20% who vote against school budgets are in effect giving a 20% discount to the 80% who want to spend the money of the 20% — but the school budgets are still wasteful, even with a 20% discount.)

Like I said, pragmatarianism would probably improve matters, but I think the problem would still exist as long as services are provided by monopolies.

My own view is that school budgets should be split among everyone who votes to support them —combined with unregulated entry into K-12 education markets. Those who support schools should pay 100% of the cost. And if, after the vote, they are unwilling to put their money where their mouths are, the school district can resubmit a new budget to the electorate.

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