In the campaign rhetoric leading up to the Great Indecision of ’06, the Democrats promised to roll back the “tax cuts for the rich” and offer “tax cuts aimed at the middle class”. The American people responded with a thunderous, “What?” as they marched off to their local alcohol-dispensing establishments to drink away their miserable decision to replace one sucky political party with another.
And now we see the promises of politicians coming to light. The Washington Times is reporting that the Democrats are offering tax cuts! Permanent tax cuts! Hooray, right?
Well, according to the story:
Democrats have long attacked President Bush for the historic tax cuts he ushered through Congress during his first term and have promised to reverse at least some of them.
So, they are reversing a global tax cut. Sounds like a tax increase. But wait, here’s the good news:
Included in their “Six for ’06” platform that they say helped them win majorities in the House and Senate, Democrats promised to: “Make college tuition deductible from taxes, permanently.”
Huh? What? That’s a “tax cut”? That’s only a tax cut if you’ve got a child going to college. So it’s a very specific tax cut. It does nothing to help the single, the elderly, those with children under the age of 18, those with children not classified as dependents above 18, and young adults who are going to college but are claimed as dependents by their parents.
Not to mention the fact you have to dole out the cash for college first, and then you get to deduct a part of it next year from your taxes.
Bush’s tax cut was across the board. We even got a small amount of a refund (which caused numerous heart attacks and fainting spells across the country when the government actually gave back some of its tax revenue). Of course, we soon descended into deficit, but in Bush’s defense, we were attacked, and we did pursue two different and prolonged military conflicts, something that’s a healthy drain on the economy.
But the Democrat tax cut isn’t a tax cut. It’s a scholastic incentive. And it’s a “tax cut” only for the four or five years your kid goes to college. What’s worse is that it removes the pain from paying for college. Let me explain.
Everybody in this country gets to go to school, K-12, for “free”. (If you own property, it’s hardly “free”.) Now we’re edging towards making college “free” as well. That’s not a good idea.
At some point, young adults have to strike out on their own. If they are living off their parent’s buck continuously, they aren’t going to learn about investment, savings, budgeting, credit, and work ethic. College should be tough. You should strive to be in college. You shouldn’t treat it like 2-4 extra years of high school. People with college degrees should be standouts in our society. The easier it is to get a college degree, the lower the value of those college degrees. College degrees (B.S., B.A., and equivalent) will begin to approach a value comparable to that of a HS Diploma.
At 18, children in America enter the first year of their adulthood. The dedicated get scholarships, the smart go to college, the persevering get student loans, borrowing now to get a good paying job in the future. We do a disservice to all these gifted individuals when we dilute higher education and make it easier for other unqualified individuals to stumble through and get the same degree.
What should be done is dedication to making college tuition cheaper. Tuitions have been going up steadily around the country at public institutions. Instead of supporting the mission of the public university, lawmakers have been shelling out cash on their own pork-barrel projects. In the meantime, faculty go without raises, class sizes increase, and standards drop. If the “tax cut” goes through, it will just make things worse for the faculty and students because it will affect the quality of education.