[FRIAM] Fwd: Grad Students Would Be Hit By Massive Tax Hike Under House GOP Plan : NPR

Nick Thompson nickthompson at earthlink.net
Tue Nov 21 12:16:00 EST 2017

Hi, Eric,


There is deep comfort in any conspiracy theory – the solace that somebody, ANYBODY, even the Devil, is in charge!  Alas, as my friend Charles Peirce is wont to point out, most events are random.    So, this white mote that you point to in the black milk of our time, is probably random, also, -- a stupid mistake made by some arrogant staffer and the republicans too dumb to see the risk they are running.  








Nicholas S. Thompson

Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Biology

Clark University

 <http://home.earthlink.net/~nickthompson/naturaldesigns/> http://home.earthlink.net/~nickthompson/naturaldesigns/


From: Friam [mailto:friam-bounces at redfish.com] On Behalf Of Eric Smith
Sent: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 5:38 AM
To: The Friday Morning Applied Complexity Coffee Group <friam at redfish.com>
Subject: [FRIAM] Fwd: Grad Students Would Be Hit By Massive Tax Hike Under House GOP Plan : NPR


Piece in NPR that somebody else forwarded to me:



I have to wonder, contra my own screed a couple of days ago (which on one hand I still believe), whether this was put into the house bill as a poison pill to help mobilize a sector of resistance.  The NPR article says that 145.000 people received tuition waivers in 2011-2012 (I don’t know if that means, in aggregate, or per year).  TImes 50k/year times 15%, that would be a billion dollars.  If it were 25%, that would be larger, but not everybody’s tuition waiver is an MIT 50k.  Against deficit changes on the order of trillions, I’m not sure that number is large enough to even make a difference in procedural rules for passage of any final 2-house bill.  That’s not to mention that, since most grad students couldn’t pay the extra tax at all, they would drop out and only a part of the accounted amount would ever be collected.  


In poking a beehive of higher education (sadly, too low-budget to qualify as a hornet’s nest), though, they would be sure to provoke a set of people who have a certain amount of discretionary time and enough of a habit of organizing to be willing to put some of that time into communication.  Many of them can also spell, more or less, and compose a grammatical sentence. If it were mainly about the money, surely the house could have found some other group to steal a billion dollars from who are too overworked, underpaid, and isolated to have time or community structure to organize against them.  


I wonder if the relevant committees, too cowardly to fight t in the open, are looking for small proxy wars that would absolve them of the responsibility for being associated with a tax plan even they don’t think they could get away with indefinitely through the next several election cycles.  After all, they are mean, and in many fundamental things profoundly stupid, but in terms of infighting tactics and evading responsibility they are quite sophisticated.  


I guess that question turns on whether the elimintation of this one item would have any significant effect on the form or passage of the rest of the package.


Shame I have no professional knowledge in this sphere.  I don’t even know enough about the ones drafting the bill to have a sense of whether meanness, or cowardly shrewdness, are more plausible motives for their choices.




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