There are some things in life that are totally worth paying for, such as bacon. Yum. On the other hand, there is an argument to be made that plenty of services and ought to be free, especially since society today cannot function without many of these basics. Let’s take a look at 10 things that everybody ought to have free access to.
If you go to most countries in the industrialized world, you’ll discover that college tuition is either free or heavily subsidized, making it available to anybody who makes the grade. But this isn’t the case in America. Even public schools charge as much as $40,000 a year for the privilege of getting a bachelor’s degree. Even with access to student loans, graduates find themselves drowning in debt. The bottom line is that college should not be reserved for the rich.
2. Public Transportation
Folks, we have a problem with traffic congestion and air pollution in our cities. The solution would seem to be public transportation, but at $120 for a monthly subway pass in places like New York, there isn’t a whole lot of incentive for people to ditch their vehicles. But if offered for free, it would make a huge difference.
3. Driving School
If you’re living in the industrialized world, having a driver’s license is practically a must. But unfortunately driving school lessons are shockingly high. For instance, in the UK you can expect to pay £1,128 ($1,450)! Although to be fair, some states such as Iowa already offer it for free as part of the high school public education curriculum.
4. Health Care
If you look at all of the industrialized countries, America is the only one that doesn’t provide universal health care to its citizens. To add to this dysfunction, each hospital charges its own price for services. Why should the exact same surgery at one hospital cost more at another? Free health care for all is a controversial issue for many, but taxpayers are already footing the bill for those who can’t afford it anyway, so there has to be a better way.
Humans really only need three things to sustain themselves: food, shelter and of course water. Given this, you would think that water ought to be a right, not a privilege. We’re not saying that bottles of Perrier should be given away, but at the very least tap water ought to be available for free. And yet even a water bill can be prohibitively high at a time when a families are already struggling to make ends meet.
6. Birth Control
Unwanted pregnancies, especially among those who are poor, is unacceptably high. But at the same time, access to birth control is virtually impossible if you can’t afford it. Free birth control would more than make up for the cost for welfare services associated with pregnant teenagers and impoverished families.
7. Checking Accounts
Do you have a “free” checking account? Do you still have to pay fees for the privilege? A lot of banks tack on a bunch of conditions in order to not charge you, such as needing to keep a minimum balance of $7,500 or setting up automatic monthly paycheck deposits. For a lot of people, that’s money they just don’t have.
8. The Internet
In countries like Estonia, the Internet is regarded as a right that is freely available to all. But in America, you have to pay nearly $70 a month. Given that so many things are becoming impossible to do without an Internet connection, it only seems right that everybody have access to it, especially children whose school curriculum involves a lot of Internet-based homework.
9. Renewable Energy
With the double threat of global warming and the depleting resources such as carbon-based fuels, theoretically free renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power are sure to be the future. But given that companies (and the government) are always looking for ways to make a buck, the real question is whether citizens will be forced to pay something for it.
10. Checked-In Luggage
Back in 2008 during the global financial crisis and record high oil prices, airlines began charging fees for checked-in bags in order to remain afloat, which today has forced passengers to either travel ridiculously lightly or pay extra to travel with their necessities. Today prices for fuel are much lower, which means the airlines could do the right thing and return to the days of free checked-in luggage, but it seems doubtful that they would.