George Will, on the other hand, is his usual sloppy self. He's upset that leftists like Sen. Charles Grassley think that maybe universities that have accumulated endowments in the billions should perhaps be required to spend some of that money making sure that students who are admitted to those universities can afford to go there.
And he's also upset that California legislators want to require large California foundations to report the race, gender and sexual orientation of their trustees, staff and grant recipients.
He says this sort of thing will cost far more than the $700 billion of our bailout. I'm serious:
Hundreds of billions of dollars that the political class would have liked to direct for its own social and political purposes have been otherwise allocated. That allocation, by government fiat rather than by market forces, must reduce the efficiency of the nation's stock of capital. Which in turn will reduce economic growth, and government revenue, just as the welfare state -- primarily pensions and medical care for the elderly -- becomes burdened by the retirement of 78 million baby boomers.
As government searches with increasing desperation for money with which it can work its will, Willie Sutton Moments will multiply. Government has an incentive to weaken the belief that the nation needs a vigorous and clearly demarcated sector of private educational and philanthropic institutions exercising discretion over their own resources.
So the frequently cited $700 billion sum is but a small fraction of the cost, over coming decades, of today's financial crisis. The desire of governments to extend their control over endowments and foundations is a manifestation of the metastasizing statism driven by the crisis. For now, its costs, monetary and moral, are, strictly speaking, incalculable.
I'd have to say he's kidding, except he isn't.
This is what happens when one gives the equivalent of lifetime tenure to national pundits. George Will can't say anything sufficiently idiotic to knock him from his perch.