Trump’s Tax Plan and Education

I did a fair bit of research on the impact of Trump’s tax plan on education policy on Friday and Saturday. For various reasons, it’s not going to pan out into an article, so I’ll park that info here.

One of the proposals in the bill is to tax private college endowments at the same level as foundations.

The Atlantic had a piece just a few weeks ago saying that such a proposal might enjoy bipartisan support. Others with liberal credentials have criticized the untaxed endowments in recent years.

Taxing the rich college’s endowment just the same as foundations would seem to be a Democratic plan, right? Even better would be a Robin Hood type scheme that would redistribute that money to colleges that primarily educate low income students or to the students themselves. But I can’t find any statements by Democrats in Congress supporting a plan like this. And it’s not like it’s never been discussed before. In 2016, the Senate Ways and Means committee had hearings on this topic and made 50 or so colleges provide them with reports about what they do with their endowments. There was plenty of time for the democrats on that committee or on the education committee to say something. None did. Not even Bernie.

I did a little on the plan to tax tuition grants, but not enough to write anything about it yet.

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4 thoughts on “Trump’s Tax Plan and Education

  1. Taxing tuition grants would be a mess. Possibly a mess that I might benefit from since the main alternative to having a graduate student do the kind of work I did is to have me to do it and it would make graduate student labor more expensive. The system for funding graduate students isn’t at all coherent, but this would be equivalent to tossing a grenade into it.

    Anyway, I don’t see anything wrong with taxing huge college endowments. If it were put forth as part of a plan that wasn’t absurdly regressive, I’d probably support it. But the Republican tax plan is basically is the culture war by other means when it isn’t just deliberately cruel (e.g. removing the exemptions for medical expenses or adoption).

  2. No comment on the Trump Tax Plan’s attack on higher ed, but two slightly related links to higher ed issues:

    Making me rethink pushing my son towards chemistry, which he’s showing a knack for. Back to computer science it is!

    and

    https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/11/08/syllabus-bars-duke-newspaper-staffers-course

    “For Duke University students interested in learning about hedge funds and the economic forces that drive them, Economics 381S — Inside Hedge Funds, taught by Linsey Lebowitz Hughes, a lecturing fellow of economics — is probably a good place to start.
    There’s just one small catch, found six bullet points down on the front page of the course syllabus.
    “Anyone who is on the staff of The Chronicle is not permitted to take this class.””

    What the everlovin’ eff. Well, this is the Duke *I* knew.

  3. Prohibiting a Duke student who is on the paper from taking the class (or even saying so on the syllabus) — truly ridiculous. I thought it was a joke from your clip, or potentially a scheduling issue. But, apparently real in words if not in deed. I wonder what I would have done if I saw that in a syllabus.

    It’s interesting to see these instances of what seems like gross attempts to use power to suppress the press (which, still are not violations of the first amendment unless they are done by government): Disney & the LA times fiasco, Boies & the New York Times (on Weinstein, which might have been a professional violation — I’m guessing the law firm tried to define some limits in their representation of the New York Times, but the laws on conflicts are pretty strong), and now this.

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