[Marxism] Fwd: Poison Ivies | Chris Lehmann

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Nov 16 07:10:12 MST 2017

When schools earn income from enterprises unrelated to their core 
educational missions, they can be required to pay a tax that was 
intended to prevent nonprofits from competing unfairly with for-profit 

But just throw a blocker into the mix, and presto: by “establishing 
another corporate layer” in their operations, university administrations 
can make all those pesky tax liabilities vanish in an instant. Instead 
of accruing to the host institution, the “tax is instead owed by the 
[blocker] corporations, which are established in no-tax or low-tax 
jurisdictions like the Cayman Islands or the British Virgin Islands.”

And make no mistake: while the number of heavyweight higher-ed outposts 
joining in on blocker funds may be comparatively small, they represent a 
hugely outsized segment of the market. Nearly three-quarters of the 
estimated $500 billion sloshing around in university endowments belongs 
to just 11 percent of the colleges and universities in the country. So 
not only are our institutions of higher learning delivering a defective 
consumer dividend, in the form of stalled social mobility and 
metastasizing student debt—the college system is a de facto cartel, 
ensuring that the already very rich are ideally positioned to grow 
richer still, at the expense of everyone else. As Dean Zerbe, the former 
tax counsel to the Senate Finance Committee, told Saul, the 
concentration of university wealth is “overwhelmingly weighted towards 
the 1 percent.”

full: https://thebaffler.com/blessed-and-brightest/poison-ivies-lehmann

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