Conservative public policy reforms in the 1990s significantly reduced bad behaviors. Tough policing, pioneered by New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and widely copied, vastly reduced violent crime. Work-oriented welfare reform pioneered by Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson and widely copied, vastly reduced welfare dependency. Economic and job growth in the 1990s and 2000s surely owes much to these policy successes.
But more is plainly needed. One possible area is education, where 1990s reforms and the Bush education law have encountered strong institutional resistance from teachers unions and education schools. Manzi, citing models in Sweden and the Netherlands, calls for “the creation of a real marketplace among ever more deregulated publicly financed schools — a market in which funding follows students, and far broader discretion is permitted to those who actually teach and manage in our schools.”
Democrats are prevented by their teacher union paymasters from pursuing such goals seriously; witness their battle to kill a small school voucher program in the District of Columbia. Republicans could do much better, starting at the state level and daring the Obama administration to stop them in Washington.