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Opinion

A Tax Plan that Hurts Education Will Hurt U.S. Competitiveness

By Amy Webb

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Education matters to our future. It must be made more affordable to all Americans.

My father is brilliant, but he grew up in a family forced to supplement what little they could earn with subsistence farming in rural Indiana. He graduated from high school two years early, at the top of his class, because he needed a paycheck to help support the family. He never went to college. His parents didn’t think it was unimportant—they just couldn’t afford it.

The tax reform bill under consideration in the U.S. congress would put more families in that position, and as a result, make it harder for employers to find educated employees. The lawmakers who are proposing the $1.5 trillion package say it will bring future economic growth and jobs. But by eliminating tax credits for higher education, the plan is more likely to hurt America’s economy.

Tucked inside the Senate and House versions of the bill are provisions that would make it substantially harder for low- or middle-class American students to receive post-secondary education. Two cuts that are on the table: ending the deductions that graduate students can take on their tuitions, and rolling back deductions on the interest paid on student loans. Moreover, other elements of the tax plan – such as a proposal to tax some university endowments – might make reduce the amount of money schools have available for financial aid.

Read the full article as published in Harvard Business Review

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Amy Webb is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Marketing.