Suppose that we were supplied with groceries in same way that we are supplied with K-12 education.
Residents of each county would pay taxes on their properties. A huge chunk of these tax receipts would then be spent by government officials on building and operating supermarkets. County residents, depending upon their specific residential addresses, would be assigned to a particular supermarket. Each family could then get its weekly allotment of groceries for “free.” (Department of Supermarket officials would no doubt be charged with the responsibility for determining the amounts and kinds of groceries that families of different types and sizes are entitled to receive.)
Except in rare circumstances, no family would be allowed to patronize a “public” supermarket outside of its district.
Residents of wealthier counties – such as Fairfax County, VA and Somerset County, NJ – would obviously have better-stocked and more attractive supermarkets than would residents of poorer counties. Indeed, the quality of public supermarkets would play a major role in determining people’s choices of neighborhoods in which to live.
The whole piece is worth a read. One could easily argue here, however, that people get pigeon-holed into crappy grocery stores all the time because market forces don’t justify having a bunch of expensive food in the ghetto. There’s a big difference between buying leeks and educating kids, though.