Friday, November 30, 2007

Consent Of The Governed: Tax Credits For Homeschoolers - Bad Idea!

Courtesy of this week's Carnival of Education, comes this postabout tax credits for homeschoolers. This particular homeschooler thinks it is a bad idea.

Judy Aron writes that the homeschooler tax credit is an unconstitutional usurpation of a state and local matter--namely education.
While policies and proposed legislation like this at first glance appear to benefit homeschool families, ultimately legislation adopted by Congress establishes the unconstitutional precedent that the federal government has the authority to enact legislation regarding education. When homeschool families do not receive any federal funding or benefits, the federal government has no constitutional authority to enact any legislation. By enacting legislation that provides for federal funding and benefits, Congress unconstitutionally is granting to itself the authority to enact further legislation affecting homeschooling. In addition, because in the federal legislation, the word, “homeschool” appears, and is defined, the definition of that word may conflict with the definition in one or more state statutes. Because of the “supremacy clause” of the Constitution, when a federal law conflicts with a state law, the federal law supersedes state law, thus, placing into jeopardy the validity of all state statutes regarding homeschooling. For these reasons, even seemingly beneficial federal legislation must be defeated or repealed.
Aron of course is right. A tax credit would be the nose under the tent for homeschoolers.

Look at it this way, if Congress defines homeschoolers in a certain way in order to get a tax credit, then Congress has established a preference for certain types of homeschooling. When they establish a preference, Congress can then reshape, redefine that preference and the definition in an attempt to reshape the manner in which homeschooling is conducted. The other word for that is regulation.

Sure the regulations won't look like regulations, but if anyone wants to qualify for the tax credit they have make sure their homeschooling reflects the homeschooling that Congress wants to see. While people have the option (at least under the tax rules) to not take the tax credit, it does open the door for regulation.

I have no doubt that there are other areas that Congress regulates that got their start this way.

While I don't agree with parts of Aron's legal analysis, she makes a very solid point about the slippery slope.

1 comment:

Dana said...

Quite true. I think a few people are starting to look at homeschoolers as an interest group and are exploring ways to pander to them. More than one presidential candidate talked about tax credits.

I think they don't understand that for the most part, we just want left alone to do our "thing." We aren't like other groups who seek certain privileges or protections. Not that there aren't those who'd love the tax credit, but we certainly aren't the ones pushing for it.