Public policy misses

Public policy misses

Sound public policy requires at least a modicum of intellectual wherewithal. None can be found in the below examples:

The administration of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says his state Department of Education will enact new fees directed at charter schools.

But here’s the kicker: Not in essence, but in reality, “The State” now will charge charter schools to enforce the law requiring local school districts to transfer the dollars that go with each student going to those respective charter schools.

Seriously? Talk about a poison pill designed solely to enable the flouting of the law and raising the cost of charter schools which, according to a recent commentary in the Tribune-Review, educate students with 15 percent less taxpayer funding per-student than traditional school districts.

The new fees, which go into effect Sept. 15, are nothing more than taxpayers yet again being forced to pay tribute to the teachers’ unions. Talk about a racket.

Allegheny County Airport Authority officials were rah-rah-sis-boom-bah-ing, woot-wooting and toot-tooting when they announced the heavily subsidized return of British Airways’ direct flights between Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) and London’s Heathrow Airport earlier this year.

Why, one would have thought it was the second coming of sliced bread and soft butter all rolled into one.

But a funny thing appears to be happening in a deal likely responsible for Delta Air Lines canceling its previously subsidized seasonal direct flights to Paris and which also came in a climate of heavily subsidized WOW Air going belly-up:

The Airport Authority’s own statistics show PIT’s total international passenger count is down 30.7 percent year-over-year from July 2018 to July 2019 and down 18.4 percent year-to-date, 2019 over 2018.

Rah-rah-sis-boom-bah? Woot-woot? Toot-toot?

A state legislator reportedly will introduce a bill that would cap the monthly cost of insulin for Pennsylvania patients.

The measure, to be proposed by Rep. Jeanne McNeill, a Lehigh Democrat, would limit the monthly cost to $100. McNeill laments that the average annual insulin cost for a person with Type I diabetes was, as of 2016, $5,705 (or about $475 monthly).

Never mind that a price cap will have the expected economic effect of making insulin supplies scarce. And never mind that there are numerous programs offered by pharmaceutical companies to make insulin available to patients at a heavily discounted rate.

Capping priced leads to product shortages.

Eschewing intellectual rigor guarantees poor public policy.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).