Arthur Brooks made a great point in his Wall Street Journal opinion piece yesterday, Republicans and Their Faulty Moral Arithmetic.
Raging against government debt and tax rates that most Americans don’t pay gets conservatives nowhere, and it will always be an exercise in futility to compete with liberals on government spending and transfers.
Instead, the answer is to make improving the lives of vulnerable people the primary focus of authentically conservative policies. For example, the core problem with out-of-control entitlements is not that they are costly—it is that the impending insolvency of Social Security and Medicare imperils the social safety net for the neediest citizens. Education innovation and school choice are not needed to fight rapacious unions and bureaucrats—too often the most prominent focus of conservative education concerns—but because poor children and their parents deserve better schools.
That reminds me. I have made headway with liberal friends on the subject of school choice by doing exactly what Brooks suggests, making it about the kids and the parents who need the most help.
I pointed out that middle-income and wealthy folks already have school choice because they can afford to live in an area with a good public school district or pay to send their kids to private school. That may contribute to why these schools are successful.
I then asked why low-income parents shouldn’t be given more choice, too.
Several told me that changed their mind about school choice and they became supporters of it.