Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Coming Attraction: Sloane and Leirer on Tax Exemptions in Higher Ed

By Richard Vedder

CCAP is starting to grow beyond being a blog site to doing more substantive research on issues of higher education. I hope to commission (particularly if some outside funding comes through) three types of additional efforts beside blogs and op-eds like the piece by Bryan O'Keefe and myself wrote for yesterday's New York Sun: research papers and studies by academics, perspective articles (opinion pieces) by persons interested in higher education issues (who may or may not be academics), and conferences.

The first in our Perspectives on Higher Education series will appear very shortly on the CCAP web site (collegeaffordability.net). We are aiming for a posting by tomorrow. Wick Sloane and Jonathan Leirer are questioning a stealth subsidy to higher education that benefits mainly the rich, elite schools: tax subsidies. The data show that the "rich are getting richer" faster than the "poor are getting richer" in higher ed --the spending gap between the private and public schools is widening sharply. Federal tax policy is a big factor in this growing elitism in higher education, as Wick and Jonathan show.

This piece is an interesting and unusual collaboration. Wick and Jonathan have never met each other. Wick was the former CFO at the University of Hawaii who I met at a Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago higher ed conference a year ago. I was impressed with his imaginative thinking and articulate (in a somewhat quirky way) method of presentation. So I contracted with him. Jonathan is the Chief Whiz Kid, an undergraduate kid who is working his way through school, working hard, studying hard and, being a typical young American college student of the early 21st century, playing hard. He and Wick make great music together, despite never having met. Be sure to check it out on the CCAP site.


superhiker said...

"Elitism, tax subsidies, rich getting richer ..."

Is this some kind of left-wing website?

TC said...

Superhiker - There's an old phrase used in a much different context then politics, and maybe you remember it: "You can't fly on one wing!". I think economists have to walk a fine line because our economy is influenced by politicians. Their (Economists') points of view sometimes align with a particular political party - intentional or not. But the message should - whether interpreted as "right" or "left", trump any political affiliation. It's a job hazard for Economists. But there's no such thing as a free lunch.

With that said though, I would be a mental midget if I thought all economists do not have a political agenda. But I don't think these guys do. It would undermine their credibility.

These guys strike me as Bill O' Reilly's - some people think they are lefties, and some people think they are consrvatives.

I'll take on both extremes at the same time with my brain stem removed. So if they go nut-job on us, let's attack. Hmmm?

TC said...

For Marketing purposes, it would be better if Sloane's last name were "McNeil".