10.01.2008 0

I’d Like to Introduce You to My New Best Friend

  • On: 10/07/2008 17:15:41
  • In: Taxes
  • The elite Ivy League colleges and universities – those bastions of self-proclaimed enlightenment providing much of the impetus for the expansion of government – are now under attack from their own creation.

    Rev. Harvard, meet Dr. Frankenstein.

    Today, the ravenous monster of unbridled government is banging at the door of Harvard University and eight other Massachusetts institutes of higher learning. It seems that the monster has cast its greedy eye on imposing a 2.5 percent annual “assessment” (liberalspeak for “tax”) on colleges with endowments over $1 billion. Harvard currently has a $34 billion endowment – so its “contribution” (as the liberals like to call such things) would be a tidy, tasty $850,000,000.

    And one can almost hear the monster salivating.

    Now, let’s be clear at the outset here: Americans for Limited Government is adamantly against taxing “tax-exempt,” not-for-profit organizations. For the government of Massachusetts to even think of doing so is a shame and a sham. It is illegal, and should remain so. But, the real story here is the bite-the-feeding hand culture of Big Government, which these liberal institutions are in such large part responsible for creating.

    It is, in fact, an irony that cannot be overstated. A 2006 survey of 1,269 college faculty members from 719 institutions from across the country found that college professors are disproportionably registered as Democrats, 46% to 32% for the general public. And they are disproportionably liberal, 48% to 22% for the general public.

    That comes as no surprise, of course, to any parent who has ever sent little Johnny or Jane off to college only to have him or her return home spouting some economic balderdash only an ivy hall recluse could possibly believe. Fortunately, the youngsters’ subsequent entry into the real work-a-day world quickly disabuses him or her of such bleary-eyed econobabble.

    So, to a large extent, we expect college faculty members and administrators to have only the vaguest notion of the damage they do with the vacuities they teach. But, alas, what happens when those vacuitious chickens come home to roost?

    Enter Harvard University’s esteemed Associate Vice President for Government, Community, and Public Affairs, one Kevin Casey, who in response to the Massachusetts’ legislative proposal scrambled to the podium to breathlessly proclaim:

    “You’d be taxing success here … Over time, this would put us at a real competitive disadvantage, which would drastically hurt the Commonwealth.”

    Well, no kidding, Kevin! Ya think? To quote Winston Churchill, “Here, surely, is the world’s record in the domain of the ridiculous…” Suddenly, it has dawned upon the Harvard literati that onerous – yes, even ruinous – taxation puts those who are seeing their pockets picked on a daily basis at a “competitive disadvantage.”

    What do Mr. Casey and his august colleagues think it has done to American business over the past several decades to see their success taxed at the second highest rate in the industrialized world? Do they think it might have put our struggling manufacturing base at a “competitive disadvantage”?

    And how about the American family? Do Mr. Casey and his fellow “Havard” Peckniffian poohbahs ever stop to think of the “competitive disadvantage” it puts Mom and Dad at when they have to compete with their own government for the money to buy their children food, clothes, and the very roof over their heads?

    Somehow, I doubt it. And, frankly, even if they did, I doubt they’d really care. Because, you see, up until now, the monster hadn’t fixed its covetous gaze upon them.

    So, at least now, we can be thankful that Mr. Casey and his cronies have finally been forced to strike a blow for limited government and tax freedom at one of the nation’s most liberal institutions. But, if they truly want to make amends, then like their literary progenitor, “the agony of their feelings should allow [them] no respite.” In short, they have a lot of damage to help undo.

    Assuming their sincerity, we have a few suggestions. First, perhaps they might want to drop the all-too-trendy course, “Economics of Climate Change,” and replace it with something a little more real-world – like “Taxing Success: Why It Is Stupid, Immoral, an Counterproductive.” What do you think, Kevin? You seem to have caught on to the concept; now maybe you teach the course to the Harvard students who have been led astray.

    But, the making amends shouldn’t stop there. What about all of the illustrious alumni who didn’t get the message against “taxing success” before they went out to do the same to wretched excess? Guys like Ted Kennedy, Russ Feingold and Barack Obama? Maybe it’s time they returned to the Crimson for a little remediation. How about “Competitive Economics 101”?

    After all these years of watching the deans and denizens of Harvard promote Big Government’s gargantuan appetite, it is remarkable to see them striking a blow for fiscal restraint – even if only in a transparent attempt to assure their own survival. Like the demented doctor of yore, the descendents of the good reverend are now looking into the “dull yellow eye of the creature” they helped create. Now, perhaps, having belatedly learned a lesson they failed to teach, they will finally help euthanize the monster of their own making before he devours us all.

    ALG Editor’s Note: Interestingly, Mr. Casey served as the Boston office Chief of Staff for Congressman Edward Markey (D-MA), a big fan of tax increases. Where were Mr. Casey’s principles against “taxing success” then? Apparently, liberals are only in favor of progressive taxation when it does not apply to them. We get it


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