Harvard Shakes Down Taxpaying Families

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2020/04/21/harvard-shakes-down-taxpaying-families/

The most grotesque and least surprising headline of these coronavirus times reads:  Harvard Grabs Nearly $9 Million in Stimulus Aid.

Actually the precise figure is $8,655,748, every last penny undoubtedly being banked by a small army of university accountants at this very moment. 

The thought that the wealthiest university in the world is also the greediest may shock some liberal sensibilities. And the idea that a cobbled-together $2 trillion government stimulus package might include such goodies for “millionaires and billionaires” may even catch a few social activists off-guard. 

Puzzled leftists must be wondering:  “Aren’t we supposed to be on the side of the poor and minorities?”

Well, in Harvard’s case, “minorities” has included a salary tallying hundreds of thousands of dollars for Elizabeth Warren, no doubt a small price to pay to secure the services of such an esteemed Native American scholar.

Even hard-pressed liberals will be forced to admit that Harvard University, flush with its $41 billion endowment, hardly qualifies as needy or even financially challenged. Yet, Harvard has long held the position as the most revered institution of higher learning among the prosperous elites of the political and social left. Referring to the work of a Harvard professor or the results of a Harvard study is their way to cut off debate, settling controversies in favor of any left-wing position.

Of course, liberals justify trillions of dollars in big government spending as a means of correcting the inequality between their wealthy Harvard allies and the poor, whose votes they covet. What’s a liberal to do when those bureaucratic government programs subsidize a bloated institution already fattened with a rainy day slush fund?

And it’s not as if Harvard is the only one. Such other gilt-edged Ivy League universities as Yale, Cornell, and Columbia also cleaned up to the tune of millions and millions. That clinking sound you hear comes from liberals raising their wine glasses in a toast to their favored exclusive universities. You know, the ones which brag about diversity, while well-nigh exclusively hiring leftist professors and administrators. 

How did this subsidization of the rich come about? From the jerry-rigged Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, often shortened in the media to its beneficent sounding acronym:  CARES. The spurious CARES Act includes a total of $14 billion in funding for higher education, including millions for the Ivy League bailout.

And who pays? Working families, those who pay taxes. Those same working families for whom leftist politicians have been feigning tears during the recent presidential primaries. Of course, the chances of a poor U.S. citizen matriculating at Harvard are only slightly less than hitting the lottery.

Already sitting pretty atop $41 billion, the tax-exempt university grasps more. In an interesting turnabout, a tax-paying restaurant chain called Shake Shack returned $10 million in government loans intended for small business as part of the half-baked CARES Paycheck Protection Program. The company decided it was the right thing to do in these extraordinary times.

Of course, as part of the private sector, Shake Shack is supposed to be an example of selfish capitalism, not altruism. And yet their owners acted in a public-spirited way, whether out of brand enhancement or civic-mindedness.

Will Harvard do the same? 


Joseph Tortelli is a freelance writer. Read other columns by Mr. Tortelli here.