A nation’s tax system is in many ways a reflection of its priorities. The United States offers tax exempt status to places of worship because of our culture’s deep ties to religion. We impose excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco in part because we want to discourage their use. The latest example is a bill set for a vote in the Senate next week. Its authors aim to drastically change how we prioritize higher education: They plan to make it unnecessarily difficult to earn a graduate degree, and in doing so, they threaten to deal irrevocable damage to scientific progress.