In response to Victoria San Pedro

In response to Ms. San Pedro’s piece, I find her reasoning to be both flawed and absurd. Under Obama’s plan, taxes will not increase for families making less than $250,000. The average college graduate makes around $46,000. In fact, the average physician with less than 10 years experience will make less than $153,000. The majority of well educated people will not be affected under Obama’s plan. Her example of the hypothetical doctor is clearly inappropriate and inadequate to describe the concerns of the average American.

On the other hand, the after-tax income of those in the top 1% has increased nearly 176% since 1979, while the middle fifth of the country has only seen an increase of 21% for the same time period. At the same time, Bush’s tax cuts have served to benefit only the richest Americans, while deepening the income inequality found in our country. Why should we be shifting the tax burden even more to the middle class, which is already struggling in the current economic crisis? And while Ms. San Pedro and others may be quick to attribute this widening gap to more educated people joining the workforce, the wages of highly educated workers (including college graduates) have fallen way behind those at the very top.

Our country is besieged by a host of problems, in addition to tax reform, that threaten the “American Dream,” ranging from the affordability of healthcare to the accessibility to education. It is true that programs such as Medicare and the Federal Pell Grant Program benefit from the taxes paid by hardworking Americans of all income levels. But since when did seniors and college students, people who benefit from these federal programs, become “loafers and free-riders” of the government, as she so tactfully described in her piece? Maybe Ms. San Pedro is too preoccupied with hunting “socialists” that she fails to acknowledge the gravity of the situation facing our country. Her argument reflects a lack of research on her part.

This nation needs change, the change to face these issues, and it won’t come in the form of the same eight-year-old policies that got us here in the first place.

-Melvin La
Junior, Biochemistry/Microbiology