Day 9 - Vouchers and Childless Taxpayers
Opponents of meaningful parental choice have used several arguments against vouchers. We address two of those today, and we’ll address the others in the next couple of weeks, especially the opponents’ favorite objection, so-called fixed costs.
Vouchers and childless families and individuals
The anti-voucher argument du jour claims that vouchers are unfair because childless families and individuals will not receive vouchers. The argument has logical problems.
- Taxpayers, including childless individuals, are currently (FY05) paying $6,309 per year to educate other people’s children in public schools (figure includes capital, debt service, and school lunch which are normally excluded in official government statistics on education spending). A voucher, on the other hand, would cost taxpayers, including childless taxpayers, less. The average voucher amount will be less than $3,000, which provides a savings for all taxpayers, including childless taxpayers. Keep in mind that the voucher will be means-tested which means that the vast majority of voucher recipients are currently attending public schools or would be attending public schools if they were old enough.
-If vouchers are unfair because childless taxpayers don’t receive a voucher because they have no children to send to private school, should childless taxpayers be exempt from paying for public education because they don’t have any children in public schools? Of course, the answer is no. All taxpayers – including childless individuals -- benefit from other people’s children being educated, whether that includes public or private education.
Vouchers, competition, and fire departments
Voucher opponents have argued against pro-voucher assertions that competition improves the product. Opponents argue that competition between fire departments and sewer districts is impractical therefore competition between schools would be impractical.
OK, so competing fire departments and sewer districts may not be practical, but does that mean competition is universally impractical? Competition and choice work very well in higher education. Operationally, K-12 schools are more like colleges than they are like sewers?
Competition works well in the private sector, but even in the private sector there are exceptions, particularly natural gas and electricity distribution. Should the entire private sector be monopolized because certain segments need to be monopolized?
Vouchers and subsidies for private schools
We’ve addressed this issue previously. Please click [here] to read more.