Arnold Kling  

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Glenn Reynolds discusses using charitable donations to fund the now-killed D.C. school voucher program. In Unchecked and Unbalanced, one of the reforms I propose is to allow citizens rather than Congress to allocate some of their tax dollars to their preferred causes. Another reform I propose is wider use of vouchers instead of other spending programs. Charity-funded school vouchers would combine these two ideas.

The conflict between voluntary charity and progressive tax-funded spending is a very interesting potential battleground. Progressives want to shift away from charitable giving and toward taxes, while libertarians (or civil societarians) ought to be aiming for the reverse.


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CATEGORIES: Political Economy



COMMENTS (9 to date)
JayDee writes:

This is a perfect opportunity for the Tea Party movement. Kick in a buck a head to "stick it to the man", and simultaneously make it very hard for the opposition to keep making the claim that we're just selfish.

Doc Merlin writes:

It wouldn't stop them from claiming we are selfish. Its a very old method. Claim your enemies are evil in precisely the way they are not.

Anyway, I am all in favour of us funding those kid's educations.

Mogden writes:

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Travis McKee writes:

On the private end, I consider collecting revenue from sales referral fees to be the best means of building a K-to-12 endowment.

I reasoned in a Redstate post that referral links (through merchants like Amazon) are under-used in charitable giving, so such a voucher fund could collect this way without competing with equally valid charitable giving through other means.

I called it the Schoolhouse Scholars Fund, and literature about my proposal comes up top on a Google search for the name, if anyone's interested.

Rich Casebolt writes:

The reliance on taxation vs. voluntary contribution for supporting efforts like this is indicative of the vast difference between the (so-called) "progressives" and their opponents with respect to how they view the individual ... and themselves.

The "progressives" view the individual as someone who can't be trusted to do the right (read: progressive) thing ... so they must be compelled to do so, by the force of law if necessary.

The opposition's view: we can trust the individual -- far more than a self-selected subset of "enlightened" expert elitists -- to do the right thing ... and we sure don't want to tie the individual's hands with even our own judgment, to prevent him from doing so.

The difference is as much in how each side views themselves ... as near-infallible saviors of humanity vs. those who know the limitations of human omniscience ... as it is in how much they trust their neighbors.

Charlie LNU writes:

This would seem to be the way DC wants it:


Obama - 245,800 (93%)

McCain - 17,367 (7%)


Power to the people

Nicholas Weininger writes:

This is precisely why I donate regularly to the Children's Scholarship Fund. Great organization, worth a look if you'd like to chip in for private vouchers.

Aussie writes:

I am an outsider, and as such I cannot understand why the liberals in Congress were so keen to stop supporting these underprivileged children via the voucher system.

I think the idea of setting up a fund is a good one. In fact I hope that moderate Democrats who are like-minded with moderate Republicans will help set up the fund and contribute to help these children with continuing scholarships.

I really do think that if ever there was going to be equality of opportunity it has to come from the individual actions and not from government.

This applies to the Australian government as much as it applies to Congress. The government interference is detrimental to the education of our children.

guthrie writes:

Aussie,

By way of explanation, the common objection to the voucher system, from what I'll term 'Big Education', is that using vouchers will take funding away from already struggling schools. Weather this argument is true or not is subject to debate. What Arnold is suggesting would likely not do much to change this objection, b/c many schools are funded based on student population (among other criteria).

Teacher's Unions are very active in denouncing these vouchers, because union membership isn't required for private school teachers. The less money to the public school, the less in dues the Unions receive. And most of your liberal politicians will line up with the Unions on most issues.

However, there seems to be a seam opening between these various groups, b/c there are many who live in these traditionally liberal urban areas, who are very much in favor of some kind of voucher system due to the poor state of their local schools. So it would seem there is opportunity for change (or 'revolution' if you will!).

Hope this helps!

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