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Using price controls effectively

Lead Summary
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

Let’s consider endowments held by some well known universities. Harvard – $53.2 billion; Yale – $42.3 billion; Princeton – $37.7 billion; University of Texas – $31.9 billion; University of Pennsylvania – $20.5 billion. You get the idea.

The total endowment held by only the top 20 degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United State at the end of 2020 was $691 billion. In 2021, many of these reported returns on the investments in their endowments over 30 percent.

In general, tuition at public universities has run more than twice the rate of inflation for the past five years (source

It appears that there are a couple of paths here besides President Biden’s plan to forgive student debt on the backs of the 62 percent of the population that does not have a college education.

First, the colleges and universities could be assessed half their endowments. Again, the $691 billion above was for only the top 20 universities in the country and does not include the tremendous gains they earned in 2021. They won’t even miss it.

An alternative I like more than this first one or perhaps in addition to this first one is to slap price controls on university salaries.

The concentration of socialists and communists in this country appears to be at the universities. I say let them practice Karl Marx’s mantra: “from each according to his ability to each according to his needs.”

There is not a purer application of this saying than at the universities. Instead of us paying these organizations to turn our children into budding atheist and communist acolytes, they should take on the stance of the suffering missionary, out to convert normal people to their way of thinking.

Biden’s plan has been labeled as inflationary. This will not be.

Every time the price of gasoline rises or the rent rises, the progressive left element brings out price controls as a solution. I say let them use this tool on themselves.

We might want to extend this idea to the mainline media while we are at it, they seem to be at least socialists if not communists. Although I don’t consider myself as part of the mainline media, I’ll volunteer—the publisher of The Highland County Press has my permission to hold my salary to the same number it has been since I started writing for The HCP in the spring of 2012. (Publisher's note: And here I was thinking of tripling your salary in 2023.)

As for salary price controls at the universities, I would propose that professor salaries be held to an average 1.25 x the average salary for teachers in the K-12 grades, nationwide. If it is done as an average, the universities will be able to pay a bit more for engineering and science professors and a bit less for gender studies professors.

The university system in this country has become a gathering of pompous elites in many cases (there are some exceptions). They have created an aura of financial success that has motivated the young and their parents to accept penurious conditions in the hopes of bettering their future generations. This has obviously gotten out of hand which even President Biden has admitted by his actions last week.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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