White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says that teaching critical race theory and other forms of so-called “anti-racist” education is the “responsible” thing to do. Her remarks were in response to a question regarding legislation put forward by Republican Sen. Tom Cotton to tax the endowments of the nation’s wealthiest academic institutions to be put toward vocational training.
On Tuesday, Cotton introduced the bill to tax private university mega-endowments and support workforce training programs. The legislation is dubbed the Ivory Tower Tax Act.
“Our wealthiest colleges and universities have amassed billions of dollars, virtually tax-free, all while indoctrinating our youth with un-American ideas. This bill will impose a tax on university mega-endowments and support vocational and apprenticeship training programs in order to create high paying, working-class jobs,” said Cotton.
Speaking at a White House press conference on Thursday, Psaki was dismissive when asked by a reporter about Cotton’s proposed legislation to seize the endowments, which calls for a 1 per cent tax on the endowments of the country’s wealthiest colleges and universities to be put toward training for working-class jobs.
The New York Post reports that the journalist who asked the question noted Cotton’s opposition to critical race theory and the New York Times’ debunked 1619 Project, which argues for the existence of “systemic racism” and its lasting effects on American society.
“I don’t think we would think that educating the youth and next and future leaders of the country on systemic racism is indoctrination. That’s actually responsible,” Psaki responded.
If passed, the Ivory Tower Tax Act would:
- Levy a one per cent tax on the fair market value of endowments held by the richest private colleges. The tax would apply to private colleges that 1) have more than 500 full-time enrolled students, 2) have endowments worth more than $2.5 billion and $500,000 per full-time enrolled student, 3) do not have a religious mission.
- Generate an estimated $2 billion in revenue per year, which would be redirected to support vocational and apprenticeship training programs.
- Require the richest private colleges to distribute at least five per cent of their endowment to support their educational mission per year, or else face a penalty. This requirement mirrors the tax treatment of private foundations.