Letter to My Representatives on the Tax Bill, Education, and Disability

The GOP tax bill shifts wealth upward, removes the educational tools that make it possible to change class status, and harms disabled people.

This bill is a class-based war on graduate students. Instead of being taxed on the $15k they make, grad students would be taxed on that 15k plus their tuition waivers, which can run to 30k, 100k, and beyond. This tax wouldn’t raise much revenue; students would drop out to avoid a bill on imaginary money, a bill they cannot possibly afford. Forcing people out of graduate school seems to be the true intent. We need folks in school, not excluded due to lack of wealth and privilege. We need the full diversity of Americans studying deeply in their chosen fields.

This plan further punishes students by eliminating student loan interest deductions, forcing students who don’t graduate to repay Pell Grants, and forcing schools to raise tuition. According to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, the cost of education would go up by $71 billion over 10 years.

Antipathy toward higher ed is a GOP touchstone. Who but the already wealthy and affluent can afford to chase their dreams and study deeply under the policies the GOP advocates?

Students are not alone in having targets on their backs. Continuing the trend set by the attacks on the ACA, Medicaid, and the ADA, disabled people are also targeted. The tax credit that helps companies with ADA compliance will meet the cutting axe. So too the adoption tax credit and the orphan drug tax credit. Spending through the tax code is not the best way to care for the folks who rely on these credits, but the GOP has demonstrated, through its repeated assaults on the ACA and Medicaid, that it does not care to help them in any form.

Education, accessibility, and healthcare are near and dear to our family. This bill limits the horizons, possibilities, and lifespans of my children. Passing this bill—without hearings and amidst the constant distractions of a racist, undisciplined demagogue—would be deeply wrong. Vote against it.

Props to these pieces, from which I learned and lifted.

My previous letters on the tax bill and the ADA.

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