Arnold Kling  

Video Victory for Vouchers

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Tim Harford's Next Book... The Topic du jour...

Megan McArdle seemed to me to get the best of her debate. Fortunately for her, she was on the same side as the master, Milton Friedman.

Thanks to Greg Mankiw for the pointer to the Friedman interview--go here to find more excerpts..


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COMMENTS (2 to date)

I wish that tax credits for tuition and scholarship donations received more attention that vouchers. With vouchers, parents are still receiving a check from the government, so they are not spending their own money. [Yes, they pay taxes, but try following those dollars...] Hence, they have less incentive to be picky customers than if they were spending their own money.

Also very important is that since funds for vouchers are in the hands of government before being returned to parents, there's more risk of strings being attached to them, which will further government control of now private schools.

For a good article on this, see Andrew Coulson's article in the Independent Review: "Giving Credit Where It's Due." Also, his Forging Consensus paper is a good reference. It's linked here.

Boonton writes:

I've debated vouchers until I couldn't take it anymore. Why not simply expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and/or the childcare tax deductions/credits.

The money parents would save would be their own hence they would have an incentive to spend it wisely. Unlike vouchers, they wouldn't be locked into one way to spend it.

A single mother in Trenton NJ, for example, might find it more useful to hire a private tutor for her kid a few hours a week rather than enroll in a private school. Alternatively she might buy a car which will allow her to move 10-15 miles into the suburbs where she can use a good public school in a better neighborhood. Or she might just buy a computer with internet access or use one of those after-school tutoring services.

Many of these options would be almost impossible under vouchers and quite probably be considered fraud. With the EITC, though, the parent is able to apply the additional dollars to what yields the best marginal benefit...whatever that may be.

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