The Atlantic

Elite Universities Are Entrenching a Privileged Class. An Endowment Tax Can Fix That.

The tax has been attacked as cynical and pointless. In truth, it didn’t go far enough.
Source: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

Conservatives aren’t terribly fond of America’s elite universities. Recent research from the political scientists Carlos X. Lastra-Anadón and Thomas Gift found that while liberals consider elite-educated politicians more competent than those with less illustrious pedigrees, conservatives find them considerably less appealing. Though liberals were just as inclined to back candidates educated at Ivy League universities as those who were not, conservatives were less likely to vote for Ivy Leaguers. It seems that President Donald Trump’s frequent boasts about having attended the elite Wharton School were, to conservative voters at least, less a draw than an obstacle to overcome. And that is as it should be.

Lastra-Anadon and Gift observe that Ronald Reagan was the last U.S. president not to have been educated at an Ivy League university, and that more than 40 of the 535 members of the 115th Congress have degrees from Harvard alone. The most recent Supreme Court confirmation battle drew attention to the egregious overrepresentation of Yale and Harvard law schools among the justices and the clerks who serve them, virtually all of whom then rise to the loftiest heights of the legal profession. Graduates of elite universities are overrepresented in countless other domains, from the arts to

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