Tax the Privately Educated


Dillow wants to tax the privately educated more heavily. I think this is

a great idea. And in fact it’s not all that far from one idea which really has

been taken seriously in the UK: a higher rate of income tax for university graduates.

The UK department of education even put out a paper

in 2003 entitled "Why not a Pure Graduate Tax?".

The losers in this kind of scheme would be private schools: middle-class parents,

worried about imposing a larger-than-necessary tax burden on their children,

would be more inclined to send their middle-class kids to state schools, thereby

improving the quality of those state schools.

Areas with many private schools, pretty much by definition, tend to be wealthy

areas. If all those wealthy parents sent their kids to the local state schools,

those local state schools would be excellent. But because the wealthy parents

send their kids to private schools instead, the local state schools often turn

out in practice to be quite bad, which only increases the desire of parents

to send their kids to private school.

This is an inefficient use of resources, especially when you consider that

the parents sending their kids to private schools are already paying for their

local public schools. It’s slightly ridiculous that the likes of Harvard and

Princeton are spend a huge amount of effort trying to prevent themselves from

becoming rich-kid ghettoes, while their private counterparts among primary and

secondary schools positively sell themselves on their rich-kid-ghetto

credentials. Let’s try to level the playing field earlier on, instead of waiting

until those kids graduate from high school.

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