Tom Steyer laid out his plan to support HBCUs during a talk in South Carolina on Tuesday (Dec. 10).
The billionaire former hedge fund manager said he’d propose investing $125 billion over 10 years, The Post and Courier reports.
Although many other Democratic presidential candidates have already divulged their proposals to fund and support HBCUs, Steyer is confident his plan will stand out amongst the rest because of how much money he thinks it’s worth, The Post and Courier reports.
“This is a robust program,” he told The Post and Courier. “So what separates me? I guess how much money I think it’s worth, how essential I think it is.”
Steyer further explained the importance of his plan, telling The Post and Courier, “These are institutions that were designed specifically to combat historic racism and prejudice, that do fulfill those roles and that have been starved for capital. If you take a look, they have seen 42 percent of their federal funding disappear from 2003 to 2015. These are schools that have relied traditionally disproportionately on tuition. So we have the poorest people with institutions that don’t have great state support or equivalent state support, don’t have great federal support and don’t have huge endowments. So they’ve really been struggling economically at the same time that they’re at least as critical as they’ve ever been in terms of offering that opportunity to low-income African Americans. So it’s really important that these institutions for a variety of reasons be supported and strengthened.”
The 62-year-old longtime liberal’s plan is now the highest, following New Jersey Senator Cory Booker’s $100 billion proposal.
Steyer told The Post and Courier that he intends to fund his plan by “raising taxes on high-income Americans” and “raising taxes on big corporations, many of whom are paying zero.”
“Also I’m in favor of the wealth tax,” he added. “Look, everything in a budget is about priorities. There’s an assumption in Washington, DC, that nothing ever gets cut, so therefore anything that you do has to be paid for entirely from new revenues … That’s a disastrous assumption.”
The cuts, Steyer said to The Post and Courier, could come from things like trillions spent on fighting in the Middle East.
“I don’t think we should spend $7 trillion again on Middle Eastern wars, but that’s just me,” he said.
As he moves forward in his campaign, Steyer takes on the questions of similarity to Trump in the way that he too is a billionaire who has never held elected office.
“I take that point. I spent a decade working in politics as an outsider and getting things done successfully,” he told The Post and Courier. “The other thing that’s true is there’s a reason Trump got elected. The people voting for him thought the system was broken. The system is broken. So the idea that someone from the outside who’s worked for 10 years fighting corporations successfully and pushing for grassroots power down to the people is an illegitimate candidate for president? Maybe in a democracy that’s working, but not in one that’s totally broken.”