The Next Bail-Out: Academia! - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Next Bail-Out: Academia!

If you thought that no one else was coming after your money, think again!  America’s universities, already deeply on the federal dole, want an extra dose of taxpayer money.  Reports Barbara Hollingsworth in the Washington Examiner:

Just before Christmas, the Carnegie Corporation of New York – a philanthropic organization set up by steel baron Andrew Carnegie, who in his day was the richest man in the world – took out a rare double-page ad in several prominent newspapers.

The ad, an open letter asking President-elect Barack Obama to put them on his economic stimulus list, was signed by the heads of 54 academic institutions, including UVA president John Casteen.

Like most investors, UVA lost $1 billion in the recent stock market meltdown due to the fact that if followed the so-called “Yale model” – shunning safe, traditional investments such as Treasury bonds to pursue much higher yields in risky hedge funds and then-popular private equity offerings.

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine also says that the commonwealth’s own worsening financial condition will force him to cut $23 million out of the $160 million UVA typically receives.

So like many of his peers, Casteen is now publicly begging for a federal bailout. Does the man have no shame?

For one thing, UVA had a $4 billion endowment as of October 31. Watching it lose $1 billion in value was no doubt a most unpleasant experience, as millions of workers with much smaller 401(k)s can attest, but when you still have about $3 billion left over, it’s survivable.
And despite the fact that UVA will receive $23 million less in state funds, the university has no plans to lay off any employees – even though payroll accounts for two-thirds of UVA’s operating budget.

Besides his reported $797,048 university salary, Casteen himself also made $220,000 annually for serving as a part-time director of Wachovia Bank. He’s apparently okay with the federal government taking even more money away from single mothers and truck drivers, but won’t even consider scaling back his own lavish lifestyle.

I keep arguing that the best thing we could do is load up B-52s with $100 bills and carpet bomb America.  Then at least everyone would have a chance of getting their hand on some of the loot!

Doug Bandow
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Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.
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