Democrats, readying for the 2016 presidential campaign, are trying to enhance their image as “everyday Americans” by pushing free community college tuition. When asked about possible funding, they instinctively go to their income inequality talking points, which by extension include the need to raise all manner of taxes on whoever they designate as being in the “upper 1%” of income earners.
Dems consistently target that group for increased payments on marginal rates, capital gains, investment income, gifts and even long held, inherited family assets. The latter has been called the “death tax” and feds now clip a stunning 40% when deceased family members leave behind estates valued at $5,430,000 or more.
But, in the interest of furthering their “populist” image, the self described “party of the people” could find a much better source of dough for all those eager students attending local, 2 year schools. They could pay tuitions by demanding our nation’s most affluent universities share just a small percentage of their enormous wealth with less fortunate community colleges. And it could be done by simply levying a “fair tax” on the hundreds of billions of dollars in endowments now being sheltered within the cloistered halls of the top 22 richest institutions of higher learning.
Think that’s crazy? First, consider synonyms for endowment include revenue, income, gift, and inheritance; which are buzz words frequently employed by left wing class warriors bleating about taxing away “income inequality”. Next, check out how the dollars and cents play out.
- Using 2013 numbers, adjusted up for a reported 11.7% appreciation, the above mentioned schools had roughly $246 billion in endowments by 2014.
- Total Community College tuition in 2014 was $16.75 billion. That’s less than 7% of $246 billion.
- Putting a 7 % levy on the collegiate “upper 1%” hoarding that $246 billion would cover the cost of CC tuition.
- Given financial endowments grew at almost 5% more than the proposed tax, fat cat colleges would hardly feel the loss.
Let’s zero in on the the alma maters of three of the biggest voices for no cost community college specifically, and wealth redistribution in general. Barack Obama attended Columbia University ($9.2 billion) and Harvard ($36 billion). Michelle went to Princeton ($21 billion). Hillary Clinton graduated Wellesley ($1.8 billion) and Yale (24 billion). That totals up to $92 billion in endowments alone, and is well over 5 times the amount of money needed to meet the 3 Democrats’ stated goal of keeping community college attendees free of indebtedness.
In other words, if just those five institutions’ endowments were to be taxed at 19% (less than half the 40% rate Hill, Barack, and Michelle want to tax our “top 1%”), millions of undergraduates would be able to live the Clinton/Obamas’ utopian, debt free dream.
Democrats could take a page from candidate Obama’s successful 2008 playbook by reintroducing his socialist lite,”when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” Actually this plan would just redistribute a tiny percentage of treasure from our nation’s most affluent colleges down to many working poor and middle class students looking for a leg up in life.
With that compelling backdrop, why wouldn’t tireless gatekeepers of the redistributionist flame such as Mrs. Clinton, along with Barack and Michelle Obama, be more than willing to light a little fire under their former, filthy rich alma maters? As this trio has lectured us many times, “It’s only “fair” to do it for the children”. So do it already.
Featured image via Zerohedge