Investigating the Tax Plan: Undermines Students and Public Education

We know the GOP tax plan is an irresponsible transfer of wealth from middle and working-class Americans to corporations and the ultra-wealthy. But the long-term effects this will have on the innovation that is central to our economy have been largely overlooked.

The Republicans' plan strips federal funding from higher education and undermines state budgets, which will lead to further reductions in state funds for higher education. This will accelerate the dangerous increase in tuition and the amount of student loan debt.

Graduate students will bear the brunt of this plan, as about $65 billion dollars will shift from the hands of graduate students to corporations over the course of the next decade. The GOP plan does away with deductions for tuition waivers that helped almost 150,000 students in the 2011-2012 academic year and penalizes students by removing the deduction for interest paid on student loans, a benefit claimed by 12 million students. These policies will make advance study out of reach for the next generation of innovators we desperately need.

In November, The Atlantic reported that the number of start-ups, the percentage of federal spending on research, and corporate investments in R&D have all been in decline since the 1960s. The economic might of the US was built on innovation and discovery and we need that energy fueling our future. If we defund research institutions we will be abdicating any claim to global leadership.

For a robust economy and a productive workforce, we need to invest in the future rather than lock up our national assets in the hands of a few greedy corporations. Let’s remove the tuition barrier at public colleges and universities to make a four-year degree available to every American, regardless of income. Let’s fund research and innovation to unshackle the economy, and let's spur the great advances we have come to expect from the US.