Thursday, February 02, 2017

 

Friday Fragments


According to Forbes, the tax deduction for charitable contributions may be on the way out.

For higher education, that could be devastating.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it signified replacing private philanthropy with robust, reliable public support.  But in this context, that’s not what it means at all.  It means desiccating one of the major alternate revenue sources for most colleges, beyond appropriations and tuition/fees.

In part, it’s a side effect of reducing marginal tax rates on high earners.  The higher the marginal tax rate, the higher the value of a tax deduction.  Abruptly and significantly reducing the value of deductions is likely to reduce overall giving.

I know that tax deductions aren’t necessarily the sexiest political topic, but with the speed with which the new administration has been moving, the sector could find itself stranded before it even knows what’s happening.  

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In the meantime, here’s a lovely argument for including public higher education in any meaningful infrastructure bill.  I couldn’t agree more.

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The responses to yesterday’s post about how people knew what they wanted to be when they grew up were gratifying and revealing.  I didn’t see anyone say “I took an interest inventory and thought, voila!”  In most cases it was a combination of serendipity and personal contact.

There’s a lot of truth to that, and it’s worth keeping in mind when discussing the relationship between education and jobs.  Some jobs lend themselves to clear routes, but many don’t and won’t.  The skills that tend to apply to all sorts of jobs across industries are often the classic liberal arts strengths: communication, the ability to synthesize and reconfigure information, and tolerance for ambiguity.  Those skills make serendipity more likely, because they improve the chances of being able to take advantage of opportunities as they come along.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond.  

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I’ve long considered Winona Ryder a national treasure, so I’m not exactly impartial on this one.

Still, this photo essay of her facial expressions at the SAG awards is laugh-out-loud funny.  As successful as she has been in these times, she would have destroyed in the silent movie era.  
Winona forever...


Comments:
LOL at your "interest inventory" remark. I took a skills inventory in middle school, and my lowest score was for clerical speed and accuracy. (Part of the test was literally seeing how fast you could copy numbers onto a bubble sheet.) Nope, those jobs that computers would devour were not for me. So what do I do for a living? Record grades! Slowly and carefully.

Great insight on what we would lose without charitable giving. A lot of the money my college raises goes for scholarships, to help students with the high tuition that resulted from budget cuts during the Great Recession, increases that would have gone away if those cuts had been restored when the economy came back. The rest goes to rehodeling aged buildings, money we also never got back after the recession ended.
 
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