Response to ‘Purpose of Government’ post

On Thu, Feb 22, 2018 at 1:16 PM, Robert M Vidaver <rmvidaver> wrote:

Thanks for pointing out the Republican onslaught against higher education via their new tax on university endowments under the cover of tax “reform”. In terms of the $1.4 trillion increase in our ten-year deficit the endowment tax is small change—pennies. But that’s not its purpose. Rather the endowment tax is designed to tax higher education in general, reducing the flow of new knowledge from university to public, while simultaneously punishing the purveyors of this new knowledge—the “elite” universities and their liberal faculties. Some facts: $35 million paid by Yale means that $35 million in student aid won’t happen, or concretely, 3500 students won’t receive $15,000 in scholarship money this year. For most there’s no way to replace it; most are already deeply in debt. Many will simply drop out. Conversely, were the $35 million to come from faculty salaries that’s the equivalent of reducing faculty numbers by 200-300. Fewer classes, reduced number of courses, less students enrolled.

That’s the new future for Yale. Multiply that by many, many fine universities similarly attacked across the country; the best of the best punished for their success—contributions from successful alumni dams them. Result? Reductions in financial aid for disadvantaged children and the children of the lower middle classes. The Republican message: Poor kids and the children of the lower middle classes don’t belong in an elite university. They usurp seats that rightfully “belong” to the rich who, since they pay full freight, wouldn’t be affected by the Endowment Tax. (eg Jared Kushner’s dad’s gift of $2.5million to Harvard).

What happens were the tax burden to impact faculty numbers? Fewer hired, some retired, graduate assistants used in lieu of seasoned faculty, less research. To underline, decreased research. That may well be the larger intent of the education tax. Over the last half-century the US has maintained its competitive edge in the world economy through the production of new knowledge which, in turn, empowered our high tech, advanced financial and health care/pharmacy industries to the top. The final end products of these industries didn’t just happen. They emanated from the creative vision and bench-research of university faculty and then published or carried forward from their academic inception by corporate researchers and university-corporate-pharmaceutical teams.

From that perspective the Republican Education Tax is in reality a blow against American industry (Even as the rest of the world is escalating their investment in public higher education. China, for instance is intent on opening 125 MIT equivalents, that’s right 125 MIT look-alikes. Singapore’s “bought” a Yale satellite). Our US industrial future hangs on the new knowledge that won’t by produced consequent to the Education Tax. But why? Maybe it’s controlling what new knowledge will be permitted. Maybe it’s just a shot across higher education’s bow. Reign in your liberal faculty, control student protest, cease the emphasis of social justice and, above all restrict research to what the “establishment” wants to see “discovered”. Help corporate interests, of course. But let’s have no more of that climate change, fossil fuel, environment devastation, human suffering, and obesity-junk food research. There’s no telling where free and independent academic research may lead the country in opposition to what Big-advertising expects us to think. (Example: 20 years ago Congress under pressure from the NRA forbid the National Institutes of Health to fund any research regarding the 33,000 gun related fatalities in the US per year; hospitals and emergency rooms, psychiatry are forbidden to study ways to reduce the carnage using Federal monies).

Bottom line: Higher education ‘be warned’, fail to curb your liberal faculty dogs and allow unfettered research where ever science tales it and “we’ll” just keep increasing the Education Tax” ‘till you get the message. Remember Ivy Leagues, a century ago only the very richest could attend; maybe it should be that way again?

RMV

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

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5 Comments

  1. RMV is correct in his understanding that taxation discourages productivity. The allocation of resources that have alternative uses is an unavoidable and contentious reality for every system of government. Because need is greater than supply, as on a battlefield, triage is necessary. Even very good causes cannot be allocated all the resources they would like. However, if we can increase the GDP (productivity) there will be more resources available to be distributed (by whatever means) to ALL these good causes. When government does less, thereby allowing a free market to be freer of its market distortions, the GDP is likely to go up. Producers sense degrees of need with degrees of demand. Profit motivates talent to provide supply. But this is basic economics 101.

    Given the explosive demand brought about by both increased personal wealth and lots of government subsidies for the less wealthy, Ivy League universities have played their part in dramatically raising the costs for student admissions. They do it because they can. This flow of government money also allowed professors to demand higher salaries and benefits. Ivy League schools will remain full and will continue turning away bright minds, even if some sources for funding are newly taxed.

    In many ways it is agreed that today’s universities provide immense value to our future. But there is concern about some directions taken by higher education. RMV mentioned that the Universities are trying to disseminate a “new knowledge”. Without a doubt we know more about things, yet many of today’s most “knowledgeable” are at one another’s throats. Do we use this quantity of knowledge with greater wisdom concerning human motivations and dysfunctions than did William Shakespeare in the 16th century? Perhaps it is this idea of “new knowledge” that worries Republicans. What if it isn’t really new knowledge, but it is in truth a manipulation of values, a secular religion cloaked in the guise of education? What if, instead of the scientific method defining “knowledge”, sentiments – moralities – are indoctrinated rather than debated? No one of importance believes that the following are not important issues for study: Climate change, fossil fuels, environmental devastation, human suffering – even obesity junk-food research. But the university isn’t the only agency that can do this good work and there is evidence that on campuses in regard to some of these important issues, debate (and thus the growth of wisdom) is increasingly discouraged. Hostile treatment is thrust at those who have the temerity to present evidence that is uncomfortably contrary to the prevailing moods of “righteousness”. Fundamentally the “scientific method” and the sentiments of “righteousness” are not compatible. “Social justice”, with its necessary divisiveness based on arbitrary constructs of equality, race and “class” illustrates a subjective “moral” stance compared to the process of debating “what will work best” to expand humankind’s inspired survival.

    For an effort at big-picture wisdom there is a no cost “university” now available on YouTube. “Prager University” consists of five minute lectures on all subjects imaginable. In just a few years it has had over a billion views. This is “where they teach you what isn’t taught” in many, if not most, of our formal places of education today. Yet, many of the topics are presented by working professors (some from Ivy League levels). Of great interest, as evidence of an extreme bias on the part of Google, is the fact that more than 30 of these high-quality presentations have been placed on a “restricted” list. Although there is absolutely nothing about them that is obscene, computers in libraries, schools, or with parental controls will not allow them to be viewed. This FEAR of honest, well-researched and well-argued ideas should frighten all including the most liberal of minds. However, this form of book burning is standard practice to a righteous, leftist mindSET where any dissent from their moral orthodoxies is viewed as not only offensive but a form of blasphemy to be “defriended” and punished.

    1. Correction for the sake of accuracy: Prager University in the last few years has experienced over 60 million views – not the billion I had stated. That will be next year?

      1. Another correction that illustrates a problem related to collecting and sorting statistics: Pay attention to qualifiers.
        I just viewed the latest Prager University video on Churchill presented by British historian Andrew Roberts. Afterwards it mentioned the number of Prager University VIEWERS – not views.
        Correction for the sake of accuracy: Prager University in the last few years has been viewed by over 60 million VIEWERS. I was correct with my original statement regarding views. The total number of views now exceeds 1,162,810,600 and is rapidly growing. Also of interest, 60% of the viewers are under the age of 35.

  2. Most “Ivy League” universities were founded by Christian groups. Though, universities should encourage freedom of exchange of views, now, most of “Ivy League” universities are anti-Christian & they don’t allow Christian or conservative speakers to give speeches on campuses. They persecute Christian & conservative student groups. May be, if they respect the views of non-liberal & Christian groups, they get more support from conservative politicians.
    Anwar Ghali, MD, MPA

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