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LARRY KUDLOW: Harvard doesn't want to admit any wrongdoing

Fox Business host Larry Kudlow calls out university leaders for allowing antisemitism on college campuses amid the Israel-Hamas war on "Kudlow."

Why has America come to hate Harvard? Or Penn? Or MIT? Or Carnegie Mellon? Or a bunch of West Coast schools? Or fancy elite universities, in general?

Why? Well, for one thing, they lack the backbone to stop antisemitism. By the way, the same could be said about the Biden White House, which set up an interagency working group on "Islamophobia," but not one on antisemitism. It’s tragic pathetic and awful.

Let's go back to Harvard and its president Claudine Gay. Not only did she flunk the antisemitism test posed to her by House Republican Leader Elise Stefanik, then tried some mealy-mouthed walking it back tactics, which will never pass the smell test.

She's also embroiled in a plagiarism scandal, where a number of experts have clearly and unambiguously pointed the finger at the Harvard president.


In the academic world, plagiarism is one of the biggest no-no's, not as big as antisemitism, but a major and presumably punishable offense. Usually, students and faculty get expelled for that, but not Ms. Gay.

The Harvard Corporation has, for reasons unclear, stood behind Gay so far as president, and allowed her to retroactively whitewash her plagiarism.

Then, the New York Post wrote a scathingly detailed story about how Harvard lawyers worked arduously to cover it up. Normally, in America you'd say "three strikes and you're out" – antisemitism, plagiarism and then the cover-up, but Harvard doesn't want to admit any wrongdoing. So, for now, they're sticking with Claudine Gay.

Many people believe she got where she got and remains where she remains, because of Harvard's left-wing policies concerning diversity, equity and inclusion. Not merit, mind you, but DEI and, showing up for the first time to help a bunch of Harvard Jewish kids light the Hanukkah candles is so transparently phony that it will not change Claudine Gay's shaky standing.

Harvard lost some money from large donors over all this, but there's an even bigger money scandal regarding all these well-endowed elite universities and that is: they're really permitted to run tax-free hedge funds with their endowment on the one hand and remain recipients of massive volumes of federal spending on the other.

Another hat-tip to the New York Post breaking this story. The combined endowment of Harvard, Penn and MIT is just short of $100 billion. Any capital gains from their stock sales or interest on bonds are taxed at zero. That's right, zero.

Ordinary, run-of-the-mill wealthy people have to pay a top rate of 37%. The long-term capital gains for individuals have a top rate of 15%, the corporate tax rate is 21% and dividend income is taxed at 37%.

For Harvard and the other big shot schools, their tax rate is zero. For all income combined, these schools have a 1.4% tax rate and, on top of that, just Harvard alone, besides their $2.5 billion in virtually tax-free investments, received $676 million from federal government grants, $349 million from state governments and $1.3 billion from tuition, including federal loans and Pell grants.

Professor Rich Vedder from Ohio University has estimated that government subsidies and tax breaks at Ivy League schools are more heavily subsidized than students at public institutions. This inequity, on top of their egregious left-wing social policies as well as their spiraling antisemitism, should be changed.

At the very least, there should be a heavy cost imposed on these schools. Ohio Senator J.D. Vance has an excellent idea. He recently tweeted about his bill that would tax the largest endowments at 35%, not 1.4% in order to impose significant consequences for these DEI and woke insanities.

Harvard and the others may still hate America and traditional American values, but at least they'll find that hatred to be far more costly than the free lunch they're getting now.

This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow’s opening commentary on the December 14, 2023, edition of "Kudlow."

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