Students will suffer if GOP, corporations have their way


Zoe Haworth

Politicians are supposed to unify, not divide

By Eric Bradach

After numerous attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the GOP pivoted its attention to reforming the U.S. tax code. Unfortunately, the proposal is nothing more than a scathing spending plan that cripples several corners of the nation, including higher education.

As news organizations, political opponents and economic analysts waited in anticipation, House Republicans released their tax plan, and it was all that was feared. The proposal is nothing more than a redistribution of wealth with practices like eliminating or capping state and local tax deductions at $10,000. It will also pile on $1.7 trillion to the U.S. deficit by 2027, according to a Nov. 8 analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

While those reforms are alarming, Tuition, Checks & Balances is here to discuss government policies and events that directly affect education. And the tax overhaul proposal, if passed, will only make it more difficult to obtain a college degree and will act as a deterrent for others to explore the rewarding venture of education. 

The plan will tax tuition waivers that graduate students who work as teaching assistants or researchers receive, which means they may have to work a part-time job to make ends meet. It will also eliminate tax deductions for donations to college athletics departments and add a 1.4 percent tax on university endowment income. This will cause higher educational institutions to look for other avenues to increase revenue, such as raising tuition, a practice Columbia students have grown accustomed to. 

But if that wasn’t enough, college students, who already suffer from more than $1.4 trillion in student loan debt, will no longer be able to get deductions on interest paid on student loans. 

The cost of higher education has been surging for years. From 2006 to 2016, tuition and fees at colleges and universities have been hiked 63 percent, housing raised 51 percent and college textbook prices skyrocketed 88 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Why is this? Because other revenue sources are needed to make room for the juggernaut of all welfare: corporate welfare. The GOP tax proposal will lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. 

The Republican Party is always howling that the corporate tax rate is too high, killing the U.S. economy and limiting job market growth. But with all the loopholes and subsidies, the effective corporate tax rate is only 21.2 percent, and 100 corporations paid nothing in federal income taxes or received a tax reimbursement from 2008–2015, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

It’s disheartening when the federal government is stripping the few practices that make college more affordable in the name of trickle down economics, the theory that benefits for the wealthy trickle down to everyone else. But they have forgotten that history has demonstrated it doesn’t work.

Both former presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush incorporated this practice, and the U.S. economy plummeted, leading to devastating economic recessions.

If there is any demographic that needs and should receive financial assistance, it’s students.

While working at a college newspaper, you’re exposed to the struggles and obstacles students face. It’s depressing that our so called representatives aren’t looking out for us in favor of their donors. It’s insulting and beyond shameful.