Overcoming Political Polarization: Federal Funding of Education Is the Key

5 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2021 Last revised: 30 Apr 2021

Date Written: November 27, 2020


The best way of overcoming political polarization in the US (the last two elections were both decided by fewer than 100,000 votes in WI, MI, PA (2016) and WI, AZ, GA (2020)) is to reduce disparities in education. But how can we do that?

The basic problem arises from the US system of funding K-12 education from property taxes. While the picture above refers to college education, it is K-12 education that determines both college admissions and college readiness.

Thus, the only viable solution is a federal solution. As President Nixon proposed in 1972, the United States should adopt an “Education Value Added Tax” (E- VAT) and use the revenues to equalize per student school funding across the country, as well as funding universal free public pre-K programs (such as the ones instituted by Mayor DeBlasio in NYC) and universal free public colleges for in-state residents (as used to be the case in California).

Keywords: E-VAT, K12 education funding

JEL Classification: H26

Suggested Citation

Avi-Yonah, Reuven S., Overcoming Political Polarization: Federal Funding of Education Is the Key (November 27, 2020). U of Michigan Law & Econ Research Paper No. 21-005, U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 21-005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3738526 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3738526

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
734-647-4033 (Phone)

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