- € 20,99
A solution to inequalities—in health care, retirement, education, recreation, communication—is as close as the public library, post office, community pool, or elementary school. The Public Option shows that opportunities to develop reasonably priced government-provided services that coexist with private options are all around us.
Looking to public schools, libraries, and post offices for inspiration, law professors Sitaraman (The Crisis of the Middle Class Constitution) and Alstott (A New Deal for Old Age) make an enthusiastic, accessible, and convincing case that more "public option" government services would significantly improve the quality of life for average Americans. At present, they observe, employer-provided and market-based solutions for health care and retirement needs leave a large swath of people vulnerable. Providing universally accessible baseline options to coexist with private products for health care, retirement planning, child care, banking, and higher education would, they argue, promote equality of opportunity, and benefit small businesses and market competition, particularly in industries dominated by de facto monopolies. The authors explain that public options have benefits not conferred by subsidies and vouchers (which tend to push up prices rather than ensure universal accessibility) or regulation; analyze the relative successes of familiar public options such as the post office, public libraries, and Social Security; and argue that the more mixed results in public education are due to segregation and political calcification. They succeed in their goal of establishing the general merits of public options and offering a refreshingly "pragmatic look at what government can do well." This eminently accessible work will engage budding policy wonks and civic-minded readers.