Americans Don’t Want Higher Taxes to Support College

“Think education is expensive, try ignorance.” That popular bumper-sticker phrase is generally attributed to Derek Bok, scholar and occasional president of Harvard University. But if Bok’s phrase has been fashionable, the sentiments behind it have generally proven unpopular.

Eh, never mind; we’ll go with ignorance, say the American people.

According to a recent publication from the Pew Center on the States, Americans say they’re happy to pay higher taxes for elementary and secondary schools and heath care and social services. They’re not so interested in paying higher taxes for public colleges.

In an analysis of five of the largest states in America, Pew reports that almost 70 percent of those polled said they’d be willing to pay more taxes “to protect public schools.” Only 40-45 percent of those surveyed said they’d be willing to pay higher taxes to support higher education.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer