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Thread: GOP Tax Plan and Graduate Student Stipends

  1. #1
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    GOP Tax Plan and Graduate Student Stipends

    So here's the deal:

    There are a lot of anxious graduate students at universities around the country right now.

    That's because to help pay for more than $1 trillion in tax cuts for U.S. corporations, the House Republican tax plan would raise taxes on grad students in a very big way. These students make very little money to begin with. And many would have to pay about half of their modest student stipends in taxes.
    Basically, it's really common for graduate students to work for the university as T.A.s or R.As. etc. They get a modest stipend, and often, their tuition and fees, and sometimes a student health fee, are waived.

    They've always been responsible for paying income taxes on the stipend; it's an actual pay check.

    But they've not had to pay taxes on the tuition waiver. The GOP proposes charging standard income taxes on it.

    But at a lot of schools, the tuition waiver on paper is a lot of money. 50,000.00 or even more, for in state "local" students. More for out of state.

    So if you're at a school that pays graduate students c. 30-40K a year for their work, the tuition is going to be a big taxable income increase. Schools like MIT pay that in the sciences. Humanities grad students are often paid less.

    It's not like you're getting rich, mind. Nor are you being paid the actual value of your work as "apprentice personnel."

    Here are the pay scales for the apprentice personnel stipends at UCLA. It doesn't include tuition and fees, which are waived.

    Keep in mind:

    * You're not allowed to work on campus/for UCLA for more than 20 hours/week and be considered a full time student, so look at 50%.
    * 50% time for an English Ph.D. student for most means teaching two sections (20-30, max in a section) of English comp classes a quarter.
    You're responsible for everything, including creating the syllabus, creating assignments, grading, lecturing, and office hours. You're absolutely working more than 20 hours/week, but you're paid for 20.

    That stipend pays for food, rent, transportation, textbooks, medical expenses, utility bills, everything.

    It's pretty common for a full time student to have a T.A. ship or R.A.ship, and some part time or off campus side job.
    You are paid for the actual classes/quarters you work. So at most, you're going to have UCLA income for 38 weeks out of 50.
    So a lot of people also have GSL; which are interest charging, and typically, they already have loans for undergrad.

    Being taxed on the tuition stipend will make it impossible for a lot of students who don't have parental support to go to graduate school.

    We're already turning out people with Ph.D.s, DDS, MDs, DVMs, who graduate and start their career with thousands in debt from student loans.

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW Twick's Avatar
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    GOP believes education is destructive to the moral fibre of the nation.

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    practical experience, FTW heza's Avatar
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    I know a woman who thinks that. She asked me one day if we should abolish universities. I was asked her why on earth she'd think that, and she said, "Kids go to universities, and then they become Liberals." She was serious. She would rather not have any more doctors than have more Liberals.
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  4. #4
    Barricade AW Moderator regdog's Avatar
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    To ensure it is harder for those who need student loans **cough**(nonwealthy) to get any college education, the GOP tax plan will eliminate the $2500 deduction on student loan interest.

    Link



    Couple this with the tax on graduate student stipends, and it is glaringly obvious the GOP believes only the wealthy should receive higher education.
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  5. #5
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heza View Post
    I know a woman who thinks that. She asked me one day if we should abolish universities. I was asked her why on earth she'd think that, and she said, "Kids go to universities, and then they become Liberals." She was serious. She would rather not have any more doctors than have more Liberals.
    Well who needs doctors 'cos faith and prayer heals people, doesn't it?

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW MaeZe's Avatar
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    Along with all the increased taxes for students, the proposal is going to take the deduction away from teachers (taking away their deduction for spending their own money on student supplies) while we expand the windfall estate tax deduction for millionaires and billionaires. What is wrong with the GOP?

    No it is not money that was already taxed. Most of the estates in question here have huge amounts of untaxed capital gains. Those capital gains are simply erased when one's heirs inherit one's estate.

    Saving the family business has already been addressed with the current 6 million dollar exemption.

    How about we tax offshore accounts? Drop the corn and oil subsidies. Stop paying farmers (or rather land owners) who get a big payment tied to land they own which used to be a program to allow rotating crops or keeping certain crops viable, but has turned into earning a big paycheck for the land owner. There are many places the tax laws could be revised.

    You can't give someone a tax break without either raising someone else's taxes or increasing the deficit. If we are going to increase the deficit it should be for rebuilding infrastructure.

    Past experiments in trickle down prove it doesn't work. Instead we got an increased deficit and Increased productivity without any real increase in real wages. Stagnant wages is what has slowed economic growth. Cash rich corporations are not going to increase wages or create jobs because they get more cash. If that were the case what is stopping them now?

    Whenever you can, remind people about these neglected topics.
    Last edited by MaeZe; 11-16-2017 at 01:00 AM.

  7. #7
    I meant to do that. Lyv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaeZe View Post
    Along with all the increased taxes for students, the proposal is going to take the deduction away from teachers (taking away their deduction for spending their own money on student supplies) while we expand the windfall estate tax deduction for millionaires and billionaires. What is wrong with the GOP?
    Yes to your whole post.

    If you haven't seen Congresswoman Suzan Delbene's line of questioning about the tax plan, it's worth a watch.

  8. #8
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting this. I've been meaning to start a thread about it, because if this goes through with the rest of the sordid mess that is the GOP tax plan, it will quite literally make graduate school un-affordable for many.

    There's a war on academia, and it's not getting a lot of media attention. Most of the news articles I've read (and broadcasts I've heard) about the Trump budget don't even mention this slam to grad students.

    I got my doctorate at the University of Colorado, and since I didn't live in that state prior to acceptance (many, possibly most, doctoral students end up attending schools out of their home state), I wasn't a resident of CO during my first year. Out-of-state tuition would have been utterly un-affordable without the standard tuition waiver. Even after I established residency, it would have been impossible to pay in-sate tuition on the tiny stipend I was paid for working as a TA. Tuition was much lower in the 90s than it is now, but it was still too high to pay on less than 20k a year (what my TA stipend was) and have enough left over for food and rent.

    Taxing grad students on their tuition wavers may seem like a small meanness, but in these days of bloated college costs (even at state schools, let alone private ones), the tuition waiver portion of a grad student's "benefits" for being a teaching or research assistance is generally much greater than the stipend itself (which have been taxed on since the days of Reagan). It will raise the tax burden for most grad students by 200-300% without increasing their stipend.

    This effectively puts grad school out of reach of anyone who doesn't have wealthy parents who can foot the bill or who doesn't want to go into the same kind of debt medical students go into (without much likelihood of a high-paying job once they get their degree).

    I can't say if this decision is cluelessness about the situation grad students are in, or if it's another attack on academia, or merely an attempt to make sure that the next generation of Ph.D holders will be only from well-to-do families or working in disciplines where they can get private endowments to go to school.

    I'm inclined to think it's the latter. Or maybe just pure meanness to group of people who tend to be disinclined to vote for the GOP anyway and are often more "politically active" than other left-leaning constituencies. The amount of money they're going to get out of increased grad student taxation is minuscule compared to the cuts they're giving out to the wealthy. Or maybe it's an attempt to discourage people from pursuing advanced studies in purely academic disciplines that are unlikely to result in employment anywhere but academia.

    Another thing #45 wants to cut are "indirect costs" from research grants in the NIH and NSF. This is the percentage of money from science faculty grants that goes to the institution(s) the person/people applying for the grant is at. It's used to pay for various administrative and operating costs (and indirectly benefit everyone working at the institutions in question, even those without grants). It's why universities and colleges want their faculty to get grants and do research and will often pony up money of their own up front to help new faculty establish their research programs.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/...s-universities
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  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW MaeZe's Avatar
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    The Trojan Horse, they don't even have to vote on it when the tax cuts don't 'pay for themsleves': Republicans’ tax bill could trigger a $25 billion cut to Medicare
    Republicans are trying to pass a $1.5 trillion tax cut — which the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday could trigger a sequestration across some major mandatory spending programs, like Medicare, federal student loans, and agriculture subsidies, and even some funding for customs and border patrol.

    It all comes down to the “pay-as-you-go,” or PAYGO, rule — a 2010 law that says all passed legislation cannot collectively increase the estimated national debt. In other words, if Republicans want to pass a tax cut, they have to pay for it with mandatory spending cuts — or, inversely, if Congress boosts funding for entitlement programs, it has to increase taxes.

    If Congress violates this law, the Office of Management and Budget, which keeps the deficit scorecard, “would be required to issue a sequestration order within 15 days of the end of the session of Congress to reduce spending in fiscal year 2018 by the resultant total of $136 billion,” the CBO said in a letter to Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD)....

    Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, and all social safety net programs are exempt from this sequestration. But Medicare, the Social Services Block Grant, student loans, and mandatory spending in the Affordable Care Act (other than exchange subsidies and Medicaid expansion), among others, would all be on the chopping block.

    Cuts to Medicare are capped at 4 percent, about $25 billion per year, meaning cuts to the other mandatory spending programs would have to make up the difference. Based on Republicans’ current plans to pass a $1.5 trillion tax cut, the CBO calculates that would be about $111 billion in cuts across the board, in addition to the $25 billion cut to Medicare. OMB can’t pick and choose which programs to cut.

    Because OMB is limited in which programs it can cut from, the CBO estimates this would actually result in $85 billion to $90 billion in cuts.
    While some Republicans are pretending this is not one of their goals, others like Rubio make no bones about it.
    GOP senator says tax cuts must be followed by 'structural changes to Social Security and Medicare'
    The broadly unpopular tax bill — rushed through with almost no debate or expert testimony and zero Democratic input — would have wide-ranging and uncertain effects on all Americans. As AARP noted, the legislation already includes $25 billion in automatic Medicare cuts for next year alone, along with $111 billion in other cuts to federal programs, and it would either raise taxes or keep them the same for 6.3 million Americans 65 or older in 2019 and 10.8 million by 2027. President Trump, who is pushing the legislation hard, promised during the campaign he would not change Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security. You can watch Rubio's interview at Politico. Peter Weber

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW MaeZe's Avatar
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    If any of you are familiar with the Merchants of Doubt playbook, this comes straight from the book:

    GOP’S LIST OF ECONOMISTS BACKING TAX CUT INCLUDES GHOSTS, OFFICE ASSISTANTS, EX-FELONS, AND A SPRINKLING OF REAL ECONOMISTS

    The same tactic was used claiming thousands of scientists doubted that cigarettes caused cancer and later another list was generated claiming thousands of experts doubted global warming was real. In both cases the lists were bogus. So is this one.

    TOUTING SUPPORT FOR their tax cut legislation, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, released a letter this week signed by 137 economists who say they strongly endorse the Republican legislation before Congress. President Donald Trump on Friday afternoon tweeted a short video featuring the list of 137 economists.

    “Economic growth will accelerate if the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passes, leading to more jobs, higher wages, and a better standard of living for the American people,” reads the letter, which was organized by the RATE Coalition, a corporate advocacy group that is lobbying in support of the bill.

    But a review of the economists listed on the letter reveals a number of discrepancies, including economists that are supposedly still academics but are actually retired, and others who have never been employed as economists. One might not even exist.

    One of the signatories, Gil Sylvia of the University of Georgia, does not have a biography page or any online trace of employment at the university. A university representative told The Intercept that no one with the name Gil Sylvia is employed there. There is a Gil Sylvia working as a marine resource economist at Oregon State University. He did not respond to a request for comment. (If you are the Gil Sylvia who signed this letter and exist, email me at the address below.)
    Go to the link to read the rest of the deceptive signatories.
    Last edited by MaeZe; 12-04-2017 at 01:49 AM.

  11. #11
    All about that action, boss. ElaineA's Avatar
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    The veil is lifted on this goal. They do intend to gut medicare and SS and as many of the social safety nets as possible.

    Here is Orrin Hatch on CHIP
    “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves – won’t lift a finger – and expect the federal government to do everything.

    “Unfortunately the liberal philosophy has created millions of people that way, who believe everything they ever are or hope to be depends upon the federal government rather than the opportunities that this great country grants them. And I’ve got to say, I think it’s pretty hard to argue against these comments.”
    Which completely ignores that CHIP is ONLY for people who work. It's the program for the working poor who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to afford insurance. He should know better. He helped write the original CHIP bill in 1997 under President Clinton (with an assist to push that agenda from Hillary Clinton, of course.)

    And here is Chuck Grassley on the Estate Tax repeal elements of the tax plan:

    “I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing,” Grassley said, “as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”
    The Old Dogs of the GOP truly despise the citizens of this country. The citizens that pay their salaries and benefits, and put them in a position to become part of the 1%. They're disgusting excuses for human beings.

  12. #12
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
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    This is what we have when people are put in charge who feel that the enlightenment--and democracy--are bad things that have hurt "Western Civilization."
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    Barricade AW Moderator regdog's Avatar
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    CHIP won't be refinanced but millionaires and billionaires will be able to deduct the depreciation on their luxury cars. Nothing says Party of Family Values like stripping a child of health insurance while ensuring do nothing rich heirs get money back for their Bentley, Bughatti and Lamborghini. They will also however end the tax credit for electric vehicles.

    Oh, and Medicare will not have to pay for cancer treatments either.


    Link 1 Luxury cars

    Link 2 Electric cars

    Link 3 Medicare
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    down the rabbit hole of research... CWatts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by regdog View Post
    CHIP won't be refinanced but millionaires and billionaires will be able to deduct the depreciation on their luxury cars. Nothing says Party of Family Values like stripping a child of health insurance while ensuring do nothing rich heirs get money back for their Bentley, Bughatti and Lamborghini. They will also however end the tax credit for electric vehicles.

    Oh, and Medicare will not have to pay for cancer treatments either.


    Link 1 Luxury cars

    Link 2 Electric cars

    Link 3 Medicare
    GOP to the 99%: Drop Dead.

    I guess we are almost at the point of automation where the mega-rich will no longer need us little people to clean their mansions, drive their limos and raise their children, so it's time to reduce headcount...?

  15. #15
    Barricade AW Moderator regdog's Avatar
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    Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?
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  16. #16
    Pie aren't squared, pie are round! Introversion's Avatar
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    At what point in this trajectory do people begin to hoist torches and Frankenstein rakes to march on Washington with intents other than mere protests? Everyone has a breaking point.

  17. #17
    All about that action, boss. ElaineA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Introversion View Post
    At what point in this trajectory do people begin to hoist torches and Frankenstein rakes to march on Washington with intents other than mere protests? Everyone has a breaking point.
    One of the things about our dangerous American exceptionalism is it's making it hard for it to sink in deep that our government truly is f***ing us over this bad. I know I *still* want desperately to believe it isn't REALLY going to happen, even though I know it is, and it will.

    I told my hubs the other night, if this keeps up, if the GOP holds on to power past '18, it's not going to be long until we're seeing scenes like the 1920's/30's again. Hoovervilles (or Trumpervilles, if you prefer), soup kitchen lines, scarcity at grocery stores, heavy unemployment. It's going to take significant privation to get to the torches and pitchforks, I suspect. Too many people are just unaware of what's being taken away. When people are dying from lack of ability to see a doctor, when medicare isn't there for you or your elderly relatives, when all the money you paid into social security over your working life is just...gone, that's when people will start erupting.

    The GOP best remember their money can't save them from it, once it starts. No more than King George III's could.

  18. #18
    down the rabbit hole of research... CWatts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineA View Post
    The GOP best remember their money can't save them from it, once it starts. No more than King George III's could.
    Or Louis XVI's....or Nicholas II's....
    Last edited by CWatts; 12-04-2017 at 09:31 PM.

  19. #19
    Monster cat - Destroyer of boxes Fingers's Avatar
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    No, the GOP understands that an educated voter is not someone likely to vote for them. This is all a part of the dumbing down of America.
    "Don't worry about what other people think about you. Most of them aren't used to thinking much, so they aren't very good at it."
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  20. #20
    Delerium ex Ennui Xelebes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CWatts View Post
    Or Louis XVI's....or Nicholas II's....
    I'm thinking this is more like the fall of Venice. Where the rich become bored with wealth so they lust and corner power to the point that the Republic crumbles and falls.

  21. #21
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineA View Post

    The GOP best remember their money can't save them from it, once it starts. No more than King George III's could.
    History's beheaded kings didn't live in the era of private jets and secret underground survival complexes. Billionaires evidently have escape plans for everything from natural disasters, climate change etc. to widespread civil unrest.

    https://www.theguardian.com/public-l...pes-davos-2015

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimdobs.../#4284b761306f

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimdobs.../#21c1c3ba4047
    Last edited by Roxxsmom; 12-05-2017 at 12:24 AM.
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  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW Twick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxxsmom View Post
    History's beheaded kings didn't live in the era of private jets and secret underground survival complexes. Billionaires evidently have escape plans for everything from natural disasters, climate change etc. to widespread civil unrest.

    https://www.theguardian.com/public-l...pes-davos-2015

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimdobs.../#4284b761306f

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimdobs.../#21c1c3ba4047
    Well, there have been a number of dictators recently who turned out not to have bolt-holes, or at least aren't prepared to use them.

    Political fortunes can turn on a dime, and the more money and less lawfulness involved, the more Game of Thronesish it becomes. I suspect it's really hard for someone who's ruler of all they survey at 9 am to realize at 3 pm they have to abandon everything and run for it.

  23. #23
    down the rabbit hole of research... CWatts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxxsmom View Post
    History's beheaded kings didn't live in the era of private jets and secret underground survival complexes. Billionaires evidently have escape plans for everything from natural disasters, climate change etc. to widespread civil unrest.

    https://www.theguardian.com/public-l...pes-davos-2015

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimdobs.../#4284b761306f

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimdobs.../#21c1c3ba4047
    Nor did they have nuclear weapons.

    Taking other less successful examples from history, at what point do the powers that be decide that Los Angeles County is expendable when the LA Commune rolls down Rodeo with shotguns?
    Last edited by CWatts; 12-05-2017 at 01:38 AM.

  24. #24
    Barricade AW Moderator regdog's Avatar
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    I've been called a conspiracy kook for saying this but I really believe it.

    What the GOP are doing is class warfare designed to ensure middle and lower income Americans are financially incapable of bettering themselves education and employment-wise, thus preventing them from achieving financial and political power and keeping them beholden to corporations for their livelihoods.

    They have attacked the ACA on all fronts including their tax plan. By doing this they are stripping health insurance from millions. The leading cause of bankruptcy in the US is medical costs. By making it financially impossible for people to get health insurance on their own, they keep many people from leaving jobs with major companies and corporations, stopping small business from being started and keeping artists, writers, and freelancers from working for themselves. This means corporations control salaries and benefits and eliminate possible competition from start ups.

    The tax bill punishes those who need student loans and grad students who rely on stipends. Those students are middle and lower income. The taxes being planned for student loans and stipend will make higher education impossible for many. This ensures lower and middle income are locked out of higher paying jobs which require advanced education.

    Add to that the Net Neutrality repeal. The repeal will place an undue financial burden on the accessing of information on the internet. It can make it impossible for many to have any internet service and again prevent higher education by making it financially impossible for people to attend online schools. Again denying them any financial upward mobility.

    The GOP is ensuring they keep higher education, wealth and power among the those who already have it.
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  25. #25
    All about that action, boss. ElaineA's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I agree with the seeming forethought of all this, but as Xelebes says, I have no doubt the wealthiest are trying to corner the market. The trouble is, when they get what they want, there won't be enough people left with the disposable income to buy their crap. And when they've decimated our education system and health care innovation systems, taken our public lands and closed us off from the world, China and Germany and whoever else are just going to step into the breach and take over. We'll be nothing but a 2nd world country with a downtrodden populace.

    It always was a fragile experiment. If our so-called leaders insist on running over it like a 5-year-old trampling bubble wrap, it isn't going to survive.

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