Lately it seems plenty of debatable bills are being passed or not passed through Congress. From forgotten deadlines for low income children, insurance to net neutrality, Congress has had their fingers busy signing bill after bill, and the latest is the new tax reform bill effective in 2019. The big questions are ‘Are these new tax cuts beneficial to everyone?’ and ‘Why was it passed so quickly with little to no notice to the public?’
While the bill was passed in with the idea it would decrease the national deficit and increase the tax cut for low and middle class individuals and families, it’s a dark road for current and future graduate students. For this reform to work, the bill proposes adding an additional tax to the tuition of graduate students, claiming their school tuition as income. And as we all know, no college student, undergrad or graduate, can afford to pay the taxes of a $10,000 to $20,000 income while making slightly above minimum wage. This tax reform will only make it harder, even impossible, for some students to further their education. What is more worrisome is the shady tactics of the Republican house to achieve this congressional victory.
In an article by Tony Nitti, a Forbes magazine contributor, he says Senate Finance Committee Leader wrote a 515 page proposal for the tax reform, yet failed to publish the reform until Nov. 21. It is hard to believe the committee thoroughly reviewed the proposal, of 515 pages, in a matter of two weeks. To further the shady suspicions, Nitti says the bill, referred to as HR-1, was published in late evening, but voted on the next morning, giving little to no time for journalists or the public to review and comment on the bill.
Congress’ lack of professionalism in 2017 has reached an all time high. Sen. Jon Tester, democratic senator of Montana, posted his disappointment and disapproval of the bill to his Twitter page last week. In the posted video, Tester is seen exposing the approved tax reform with hand-written and quiet illegible amendments and revisions along the margins of the page. Our legislative leaders felt a vital and enormous tax reform that will affect the entire nation was worthy of chicken scratch revisions and nearly secretive approvals. This fact is frankly horrifying and appalling. These are the hands we have left our nation in, but are we completely out of options for solutions?
It seems we are in a losing battle between our citizens and our leaders. We will only see changes if we become more attentive of who we are voting into these positions of power. Researching state senators and house representatives is the first logical step. We must be active in our government if we want to see changes. Nov. 6 2018, 33 of the 100 senatorial seats will be up for the grabbing. We need to prepare now for the most deserving individuals to hold those spaces. Let’s actually make America great, for everyone.