Academic Ode to Wealth Redistribution

, Bethany Stotts, Leave a comment

The cultural disconnect between academia and the overall population never ceases to amaze. Yesterday “Pennywise”—the nom de plume for a Humanities professor who composes for The Chronicle of Higher Education—wrote about how much he loves tax day and the redistribution of wealth. Then he counseled his readers on how to pay fewer of them on tax day.

“Truth be told, I like paying taxes,” writes Pennywise in his April 11 column. “I’ll even go further—gasp, if you must—and say that I like the redistribution of wealth.”

“I like knowing some of my money goes to medical care for the poor, benefits for the jobless, federal parks, passenger rail, well-paved roads, and a public postal service,” he continues. “I wish a bigger bite were taken from the Big Boys whose share of the national pie is now at positively gourmand dimensions. Improved tax fairness would benefit civilization while reducing the proportion the rest of us must pay every April.”

The anonymous professor then goes on to instruct academics how they might reduce their share of taxes for the year through the use of retirement and college savings accounts, making investments more tax efficient, preparing one’s own taxes and adjusting one’s own withholding.

“If you are due for a huge refund, it may seem a triumph,” writes Pennywise, who calls himself “a frugal academic, not a financial professional” in his bio. “In actuality it’s as if you loaned all that money, interest-free, to the IRS for a year.”

Pennywise also visualized a whole new “tax itemization” scheme, “one where we allocate where our dollars go.”

“‘Not a farthing to the salary of Rep. John Boehner, that ignorant scoundrel,’ I would say,” he writes. “‘Not one penny to the unmanned drones killing villagers in Pakistan. Yes, yes, a bit more to the K-12 teachers.’”

Additional money given to public education is unlikely to lead to student gains, however, as can be seen in this chart compiled by the Heritage Foundation in 2008, for their article “Does Spending More on Education Improve Academic Achievement?

(image courtesy of Heritage:

“Despite the lack of consistent findings, leading researchers in the area acknowledge that any effect of per-pupil expenditures on academic outcomes depends on how the money is spent, not on how much money is spent,” write the authors.

Bethany Stotts is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.


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