By Maggie Hsu
The tax proposal suggested by incumbent President Donald Trump may not be for everyone; it implements policies which are mainly beneficial towards the wealthier population of the country and may result in an increased national debt. In this plan, many taxes are repealed, and it also allows more money to be deducted from taxes, therefore allowing some people to pay less taxes. However, This is problematic as when people pay less taxes, there is less governmental revenue, so national deficits may increase when the tax plan is implemented.
This tax plan would change the amount of tax brackets, which defines how much people pay on different levels, from seven to three. Various taxes like the Alternative Minimum Tax, which restricts how many tax deductions certain individuals have to pay and increases the tax rate for higher-earning people, and the inheritance tax are also repealed. Trump also planned to double the amount of money in a standard deduction, which means that people can remove twice as much money from their income taxes via these tax deductions. The previous 3.8% tax on investment income, for people with an income over $200,000, is also repealed, which was used for the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, corporations, including small businesses, will have to pay a 15% corporate tax, reduced from the former 35% corporate tax rate. Companies also only have to pay taxes if the profits were acquired in the United States, creating a territorial tax system. Overall, there are many different changes made to the American tax policy by Trump which reduces the tax rate people normally have to pay, especially because of the repealed taxes and deductions set.
These policies carried out will benefit mostly wealthier individuals, while having varying effects on the average American. people with the upper tax bracket now have to pay less tax, with a reduction from 39.6% to 35% for their tax rate. The upper 1% (based on income) of the United States population gets 76.3% of the tax policy’s proposed benefits, and the top 5% gets 94.8% of these benefits as well. The removal of the Alternative Minimum Tax and the investment income tax also means that wealthier people who were previously affected by these taxes do not have to pay as much as before. These benefits are not distributed equally throughout the nation, as some people in the middle class will have increased rates of tax, especially because of the state and local tax deductions being overturned. The standard deduction will also be doubled, which benefits people with lower and middle incomes. The overall effects of the tax plan not only affect individuals, but also influence the national debt because of the various cuts and reforms placed. Overall, people who earn more money in the nation will benefit the most from these plans, as opposed to the average citizen in the middle class.
However, these tax reforms have also been criticized as it could increase the federal deficit by 3 trillion to 7 trillion dollars, increasing U.S.’ debt. One major area where the amount of tax will increase the deficit is in the corporate tax cut which would decrease revenue by 2.2 trillion dollars. The change in tax brackets will also lower the tax rate for people in the top bracket, which means that the deficit will increase by 1.5 trillion dollars.. The federal budget will be influenced by other policies offered as well, which end up totalling to a 3 trillion dollar increase in the federal deficit. This means that the overall changes in these taxes will only increase how much money the US owes by decreasing national revenue from some people.
By benefitting people with high incomes in the United States, the tax policies introduced provide a negative effect upon people in the country, especially because of a projected increase to the national deficit. These policies affect rich people more than most people positively because the tax proposal plans to cut and deduct many taxes for them as well, unlike other classes in America.
By Jennifer Huang
From the Vietnam War protests to the Civil Rights Movement, many political movements and counter-cultures have begun on college campuses. Arguably, though, the most widespread college counter-culture has been the emergence of meme groups in colleges across the U.S. While not necessarily political or social in nature (In fact, they normally just ridicule testing policies and poke fun at students with certain majors), memes are an extremely prevalent part of college life, a relatable way for students to connect, make humorous jabs at other schools, and laugh over relatable content.
But is it possible for memes to go too far?
According to Harvard, yes. In April 2017, a group of students admitted to Harvard were discovered messaging inappropriate memes joking about sexual assault, the Holocaust, child murders, and lynching, among other things, in a chat titled “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens.” Upon discovering the contents of the chat, Harvard rescinded the admissions of ten applicants, justifying its decision with a reminder that “Harvard College reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under various conditions including if an admitted student engages in behavior that brings into question his or her honesty, maturity, or moral character.”
This decision comes at the crux of the free speech debate on campus. With the recent demand for safe spaces, the riots at UC Berkeley against alt-right speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, UChicago’s unwavering defense of free discussion, Harvard’s decision adds another voice to the heated debate. With the radical right believing that their ways of life and points of views are being increasingly demonized by “liberal media” and “libtards”, convinced that the world is stacked against them, the free speech debate was already heated and controversial. Harvard added fuel to the flames.
As a staunch liberal, I’m always predisposed to agree with actions against racism and sexual assault. But even conservatives shouldn’t complain, and here’s why.
As a private institution, Harvard has the right to make its own admissions decisions, and choose its students. Conservatives, who believe in very little government involvement (except in cases of big business and religion), should be happy that this private college was able to make its own decisions. After all, if diversity policies in the workplace are so detrimental, and corporations should be “free to hire without regulation”, then why not colleges as well? Just as conservatives believe a corporation should judge “solely on merit,” so Harvard judges on merit as well: And they happen to value “honesty, maturity, and moral character.”
These students’ memes violated Harvard’s tenets: They lacked moral character, making fun of genocide and racial violence, child abuse and sexual assault, exploiting real victims for their own laughs. They lacked maturity, not understanding the serious implications behind death and abuse, believing that their fun trumped real-world implications. They may have even lacked honesty, lying on their applications to fit Harvard’s “diversity and acceptance” clause.
Beyond the obvious horror of the memes themselves, Harvard realized that the students wouldn’t be a good fit on campus. They might provoke fights, make it literally unsafe for other students, hinder others’ studies. This decision was has implications beyond just “free speech”–College is a community of individuals who are supposed to engage in educational discussion, but having students with twisted humor on campus would have been counterproductive to that goal.
Hopefully, Harvard will set a precedent for other students: That jokes ridiculing serious events will not be tolerated on their campus, or any campus. Whatever you may think about free speech, contextualize it to the institution and its community. Think before you start laughing about deaths from drone strikes and the Holocaust.
Real memes are supposed to be good-humored content and a way for the disenfranchised Z-Generation to relate and communicate their stresses with each other through a short, funny venue. Let’s not give memes a bad name, and let our fun be corrupted by disrespectful people. Keep our memes meme-ingful.
By Emily Pan
On May 31st, 2017 Ohio became the second state to sue companies such as Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Johnson & Johnson and Allergan for fueling the ongoing Opioid addictions. Ohio primarily took legal action because companies underestimate the detrimental risk of opioid addiction and overstated their benefits in easing chronic pains. In 2015, both Mississippi and Kentucky sued the same companies for the same claims; they settled the case eventually. However, in neither cases did these companies admit to any wrongdoing.
In recent years, the opioid addiction in Ohio alone has increased significantly. In 2016, roughly 20% of Ohio’s population had been prescribed an opioid (1). In just 4 years, 3.8 millions prescriptions were made out for opioids as painkillers including oxycontin and percocets (2). Many people turn to pharmaceutical companies for blame, and with good reason. Companies often trivialize the side effects of opioids and merely highlight the benefits of using them for pain relief. One company, Purdue Pharma, purposely misled consumers in order to trigger an addiction to their opioids. The company marketed their drug as a pain reliever that lasts for 12 hours yet they knew it lasted for a much shorter period. With consumers believing the drug could last for 12 hours, they suffered strong withdrawal symptoms and slowly became addicted (1).
While the main group affected by these companies are the consumers, states have also been largely affected. This is because each year, millions of dollars are spent on purchasing opioids as painkillers for programs like Medicaid, Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, and various state programs to diminish drug use. If these companies truthfully stated the major side effects of their medications, states would not need to allocate money to buying these drugs, and thousands of deaths could be prevented (2). Furthermore, babies born from mothers with opiate drug addictions suffer many health risks and require states to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to help them.
Although one might believe the state of Ohio has an easy case to make since companies mislead consumers, there are many setbacks. The companies that are being sued claim that the only cause for opioid addiction is the consumer themself. Law professor Lars Noah explains that it is difficult for lawsuits to specifically target the deceptive marketing of companies when consumers fail to use the opioids as directed. When consumers do not follow the directions given with opioids, the courts blatantly state that they believe the problems caused by opioids are results from the actions from consumers, not the companies. Additionally, these companies often place the blame on doctors who prescribed the medication in the first place.
Ultimately, it proves to be extremely difficult to pinpoint the cause of the opioid addiction epidemic. It is impossible to place the blame on one group. While companies largely catalyze citizens to become addicted to these dangerous drugs, doctors sometimes also downplay opioid effects just as companies do. In the end, the common goal should be to stop these fatal addictions and put an end to the thousands of lives lost to them. Perhaps the only solution to ending this epidemic is the fear factor. Emphasizing the side effects of opioid addiction may scare people to stop abusing opioids and eventually decrease the amount of addictions.