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How will students pay for soaring debt? Tax the rich, Senator Warren says

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  • BO Holladay, UT
    March 17, 2014 1:16 a.m.

    If the government would not artificially increase the supply of students by easy money( Pell grants and student loans), the cost of education would be lower. Regardless, if students work and go to schools that are affordable then there is no need to take on debt. I paid for my education that way. Guess I missed out on all the parties, but I remember how hard I worked to graduate. The politician need to quit creating problems and proposing "solutions" that will only lead us to ruin.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    March 16, 2014 8:51 a.m.

    If investing in student debt had good returns, millionaires would already be funding it.

    That obvious point is totally overlooked by everyone in all of these discussions.

    Why anyone would tie up nearly $200,000 in student debt to get a degree from a high end university for a degree in something like library science (yes, I know someone who did this) is totally beyond me. The percentage of kids who go to expensive schools, tie up tens of thousands in debt and then quit is astounding and generally that money will hinder their progress for decades.

    Don't invest in things that don't provide a commensurate return. Encourage local CC and then fund the loans when someone is certain of their field, and not before.

  • trueblue87 Provo, UT
    March 16, 2014 12:25 a.m.

    Why don't we rein in government spending and stop placing the burden of the National Debt on the backs of future generations? Stop borrowing from our children and grandchildren!!

  • nicholdraper West Jordan, UT
    March 15, 2014 6:29 a.m.

    Forget income tax. Tax total property. And start above 10 million. If we tax 10% of property over 10 million we would really tax Buffet. His taxes would be $2 billion a year instead of $200,000. That would be just. That's why Buffet said go ahead and tax my income. Because for rich people income is phony. His phony income is only $467,000 a year.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    March 14, 2014 12:03 p.m.

    re:Frustrated Mom

    A Flat Tax is essentially the law of tithing as least as far as the economic side is concerned. Yes a Flat Tax is the answer where EVERY CITIZEN pays the same percent. This would have the wonderful effects of lowering the income tax percent substantially for everyone now paying and also increasing the amount of revenue collected. The problem with the Flat Tax is that it CAN'T exist in a Socialist country and that is where the USA is fast approaching. The flat is the ONLY fair tax but Socialism isn't about fairness - it is about rewarding the lazy and dysfunctional while punishing the worker bees.

  • jbbevan Heber City, UT
    March 14, 2014 11:53 a.m.

    Student debt has become a huge problem in this country. The only students that are even able to pay up are those who go to Ivy League Universities and major in Law or Medicine. For the rest its a spotty business. My wife and I recently toured the Baltic Countries and Germany. All of them educate their young people THROUGH COLLEGE as an investment by the public in the future of their countries. We, on the other hand, have the attitude that public eduction K thru 12 is "normal" and K thru 16 is socialism. Instead we burden students with student debt so they start life way below ground. I think the country (and the state) need to start with a blank sheet of paper and work it out from scratch. Meanwhile, we need to notice that foreign students studying abroad are coming out more educated than their debt-ridden domestic students.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 14, 2014 8:54 a.m.

    To "Mont Pugmire" but then how do you tax the CEO who has a salary of $1 and earns most of his income off of dividends and exercising their stock options? Since SS is a payroll tax, you will never touch those CEOs.

  • Chad S Lorton, VA
    March 14, 2014 6:36 a.m.

    Hey look everybody! A free lunch!

  • 14Aggie North Logan, UT
    March 13, 2014 12:09 p.m.

    I am a college student. It's expensive. I'm working paying for it myself and graduating debt free this fall. That being said, monetary help would be wonderful but there is something that people need to understand.. The "1%" don't just hold on to their money. They don't pile it up and use it in consumption spending (a terrible habit that keeps many from making money), they use it in INVESTMENT spending. The money that Senator Warren wants to be taken for taxation means that same money won't be used for investment. The money they invest does more for the economy than money taken in taxes. Letting people invest is in our best interest! I would love the government to give me money but students CAN make it without it! It means so much more to me that I worked for it too!

  • Mont Pugmire Fairview, UT
    March 13, 2014 5:05 a.m.

    Social Security? Solution: Tax ALL income instead of having a ceiling on the amount earned. That way, for example, people in entertainment, sports and investment houses who make enormous amounts of money would pay the same percent of income as I do on all their income. Income taxes? I don't care how much the wealthy earn. I just want them to pay the same percent on their income that I pay. Fairness, equity and simplicity. The entire tax code is a conglomeration of special exemptions made at one time or another for rich, influential citizens who could afford to buy the influence necessary to get such a special exemption. Then they hire smart CPAs to figure out how to apply those special exemptions to their clients.

  • Ex-Pat of Zion Lititz, PA
    March 12, 2014 8:49 p.m.

    (continued)

    Fairly simplistic solutions, but at least it's a start. First would be if the education is indeed required to play in the "job market", then reduce the cost of education. MIT started the open courseware initiative a few years ago. At one time (maybe they still are) USU was a participant. The drawback with OCI is no degree is conferred even though a substantial part of the curriculum is provided at only the cost of a computer and possibly a text. So, the time is invested by the student in gaining knowledge, but without a degree, that knowledge has no market value. The private sector ... perhaps the Princeton Review ... or the professions governing the discipline (ex: CILA) could administer and exam to certify knowledge competency. If the student still can't afford, a government grant is given to cover the cost of the exam.

    What to do about the existing debt: The repayment is indexed off the jobs available (in your neck of the woods ~ 10%) with the debt retired at seven years. Who pays the outstanding principle? If society in general benefits from education, then they should collectively share in the cost of that benefit.

  • Ex-Pat of Zion Lititz, PA
    March 12, 2014 7:08 p.m.

    (continued)

    An ICP chemist with a masters degree may get $20 an hour. The cost of a public undergrad education is perhaps $50K with a graduate degree costing perhaps another $50K. That's a 6-10 year sunk cost with a break even probably about another 10 years out.

    As rapidly as economies are changing the "projected" staring salary of $45K a year in 2005 now commands a salary of $30K in 2014. The cost of living has gone up and what was a viable, perhaps even attractive, option in 2005 can not justify the investment of time or money. Now the student is addled with debt and even jobs in their field are hard to come by. The "economic rules" of 2014 are challenging if you can secure work. If you can't then it's impossible.

    You did everything right. You took a risk, ostensibly jointly shared by "Sallie Mae". But that's a lie. You bear the full cost of time and money. The "business" that said you need this education before I'll hire you? "It's not my fault!" It's the market (continued)

  • Ex-Pat of Zion Lititz, PA
    March 12, 2014 6:45 p.m.

    Some commenters are expanding the scope of the discussion to include overhaul of the tax code (i.e. flat tax). Others are blaming the kids for poor decision making and them or their parents for poor planning. Let's regain our focus and examine how we (this is, after all, a societal issue). More importantly, if you're critical of Sen. Warren's solution...come up with a better one.

    How did we get here? An economy that can't absorb graduates at both a rate and level that will permit them to service their debt. The jobs available to undergrads now are the same types of jobs I held in high school. At least the cost of the high school education was borne by the taxpayer (private schools excepted). Let's examine the roles now. As an example, a little north of my neck of the woods is a facility is an operation run by Bayer. A $15 an hour production floor position requires a degree in biology or biochem. The "foreman" may need a degree in industrial engineering and X number of years in pharma. (continued)

  • prelax Murray, UT
    March 12, 2014 6:21 p.m.

    Give the money to the responsible people who knew they could not afford to pay back a student loan, so they never took one out.

    They knew it was just a loan when they took the money.

  • Rocket Science Brigham City, UT
    March 12, 2014 5:44 p.m.

    How many students who use financial aid go and spend on spring break?

    Cut out Spring Break and go straight through the semester. Let students out earlier in Spring to Work longer during the summer and not spend frivolously on extravagant vacations.

    Financial aid should be available ONLY to pay for Tuition, books and fees and paid directly to the school. Everything else should be the responsibility of the student or his family.

    Schools should be prohibited from charging fees to raise more money for athletics such has been done at USU or the U.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2014 5:27 p.m.

    @Cats
    "The New Deal was such a disaster and it almost completely destroyed our country. Thank goodness the Supreme Court saved the nation by declaring it unconstitutional."

    The New Deal was pulling America out of the ditch you conservatives drove it into under Coolidge->Hoover policies. Then in FDRs second term a lot of it was gotten rid of by the courts or scaled back and we lost a good chunk of the employment gains.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2014 5:25 p.m.

    @md
    "How about a flat tax? It is the only fair way to tax everyone with the same percentage of their income. Close all loopholes. End all deductions. "

    No, that'd help the rich and hurt the poor even more. (Contrary to popular belief it's actually the poor that benefit more from loopholes/deductions than the rich, after all 47% of people have so much in those deductions that they aren't paying income taxes).

  • A Guy With A Brain Enid, OK
    March 12, 2014 5:07 p.m.

    So colleges and universities charge an arm and a leg for tuition, fees, housing and on-campus food (often required for freshmen who are also often mandated to live on campus) and it's the millionaires' fault?

    Got it.

    I'd comment more but my car is broken so to fix it I'm going to call my plumber. It's HIS fault, after all....

  • BostonLDS Salt lake City, UT
    March 12, 2014 3:27 p.m.

    I have my fair share of student loan debt, and I am paying it back myself because I don't buy frivolous things and I live within my means. Rather than forcing others to suffer the consequences of our actions, can't we just learn financial management skills? I never took a class in finance but I figured out how much I need to earn each month to cover necessities. I really don't think it's that difficult, it's just a matter of financial priorities, and a huge tv and a brand new car just isn't in that equation for me.

    I do think it's a nice thought that Senator Warren would like to help students, but taking the responsibility away from us is just going to teach a bad lesson - don't prepare yourself fully and the government will step in and force the rich to pay for it.

  • OlderGreg USA, CA
    March 12, 2014 2:24 p.m.

    It's not just colleges scamming degrees. Remember when a kid could earn money bay sitting? Now we have licensed daycare that requires degrees and pays nothing -- yet costs like crazy due to bureaucratic overhead.

  • rvalens2 Burley, ID
    March 12, 2014 2:17 p.m.

    Hey! Here's an idea why doesn't the government LOWER everyone's tax rates to the same as the millionaire/billionaire club members? That way I get to pay the same rate that they do.

    Next idea, don't get into debt to go to college. The government didn't pay my way when I attended the UofU. Why should others have to be forced to pay for yours?

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    March 12, 2014 2:02 p.m.

    I think calling it the Buffet rule is appropriate, because liberals see higher taxes as a Dinner Buffet, where they can keep funding new entitlements.

    First stop: Use taxes on millionaires to fund loans for higher education.

    Next stop: you can choose a "public option" for lower cost education if you go to a liberal school, or you can pay "Gold Level" tuition rates if you go to a conservative university. Social engineering at its finest. That would buy lots of Democrat votes.

    Final stop: a single payer system for education, all funded by the federal government. Of course, the government would totally dictate what is taught.

  • IDSpud Eagle, ID
    March 12, 2014 1:38 p.m.

    @AllBlack and like-minded. I believe those who are using terms like "bad idea",etc., ARE offering up ideas. But progressives don't acknowledge such. One such idea is to not focus on hitting the rich with more of their "fair share" when what is "fair" has not been fully defined; and when you actually look at it the top 10% pay %70 of the taxes already. This student dept (or government debt) issue has multiple causes, but it is guaranteed that further taxing the rich (however good that makes the non-rich feel) as a means of addressing the underlying problem will not solve the problem. In fact, Warren's proposal would actually make it worse. Part of the problem with ever rising tuition costs is the loan program itself. You can research that if you care. Personal responsibility and accountability (or lack thereof) is another contributing factor. Fixing loopholes in the current tax code would help. Pursuing degrees that don't lead to an income stream sufficient to support oneself and pay back the loans is a problem. Gov charging 8% interest is yet another issue. Why is it that higher taxes and more spending is usually the only progressive solution?

  • Gary Federal Way, WA
    March 12, 2014 1:06 p.m.

    The proposal is not foolish. Millionaires get rich off of others who pay for their products or work for them. Since the Reagan years, the trickle down theory began and since then, prices have skyrocketed. It does NOT work.

    It used to be affordable back in the 70's. Find out why and go back to those days on how colleges were funded. Also colleges are not being built like they used to. So many colleges are filled up and hence the reason it is costly. It's a paradox isn't it?

    There is a Sales Tax where it will be put in place and no more will we have federal taxes. It will become the pay taxes as you go. It's a good plan and gaining momentum. The Fair Tax Organization is pushing for this and it's looking good.

    Bottom line is students are paying way too much for college on the average part. To blame the student is illogical. The student is trying to work hard towards graduation and looks forward to doing good work. It is hurting our nation when our average students are forced to go into deep debt.

  • weakstuffout West Jordan, UT
    March 12, 2014 1:03 p.m.

    Agreed on the Flat Tax comment. This is the only real way to do taxes in the first place. This would be a progressive tax already, and fair to the lowest income earners (there is a poverty level income where nothing is taxed and everything else above that is taxed at the same rate).

    There is a great book on this called The Flat Tax, a must read for any serious student of tax changes.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 12, 2014 12:10 p.m.

    Oh, I forgot to mention. After you read this article, read the article "Borrowers using student loans for cash, not a degree", also in today's news.

    Now tell me why we should make it easier for people to get quick cash, and then make it cheaper to pay back?

  • AZFarmBoy Goodyear, AZ
    March 12, 2014 12:05 p.m.

    Some have argued that the rich should "pay their fair share" in taxes. What is their "fair share"?

    The top 10% currently pay 70% of federal income tax, even though they earn only 45% of income. 70% isn't fair? What is fair? 80%? 90%? Should the top 10% of earners pay all of the taxes?

    Seriously, liberals keep using the term "fair share" but never tell us what that is.

  • Ender Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2014 12:01 p.m.

    @PP
    I agree with you. The problem is not Robin Hood, but the lesson that Democrats have learned from him. Please reread the quote. To Elizabeth Warren, Robin Hood was not a champion of property (as you suggest), but a champion of need. And therein lies the problem!

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 12, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    To "marxist" I will agree to restore the 1950's tax rates if we can also revert the entire tax code to teh 1950's.

  • PP Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 12, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    Ender,

    What you failed to mention about Robin Hood is that he was not stealing from the rich - he was stealing oppressive tax money back from the oppressive government and returning it to the over taxed people. He was exactly the opposite of a social justice crusader. He would have been throwing tea in Boston Harbor.

    Marxist - Conservatives want everyone to have the opportunity to attain any "class" in society (ie. no classes). Liberals are trying to create the classes and keep everyone there.

  • orbit1962 Ogden, UT
    March 12, 2014 11:41 a.m.

    I worked in the evenings during school year (2 jobs in the summer), served in the church, and had a small family with no debt. My wife and I both graduated the same day. Now we have a business with 300+ employees. Takes hard work and sacrifice but can be done. Worth the effort. Frustrated with government's proposed solutions - an indication of how far off track this country is.

  • Ender Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2014 11:21 a.m.

    Unfortunately, Elizabeth Warren learned the wrong lesson from Robin Hood. As Ayn Rand put it:

    "It is said that [Robin Hood] fought against the looting rulers and returned the loot to those who had been robbed, but that is not the meaning of the legend which has survived. He is remembered, not as a champion of property, but as a champion of need, not as a defender of the robbed, but as a provider of the poor. He is held to be the first man who assumed a halo of virtue by practicing charity with wealth which he did not own, by giving away goods which he had not produced, by making others pay for the luxury of his pity."

    Senator Warren, please don't use the money that I have earned and achieved myself to pay for your pity.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2014 11:18 a.m.

    @David "There must be an election coming because the Democrat machine of class warfare is ramping up again." You mean we actually have "classes," like in class struggle like in Marx?

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    March 12, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    A lot of interesting responses here. If there are circumstances where Millionaires pay less tax than middle class folks, that should be examined. So she might have something here. Of course its a politician saying it so the claim should be looked into.

  • IDC Boise, ID
    March 12, 2014 11:05 a.m.

    Let me simplify her thinking for everyone. "So we need more money to spend. Hey, those guys have money. Let's take money from them because they have some and I want it. We deserve their money because they have more." The end.

  • David Centerville, UT
    March 12, 2014 11:04 a.m.

    There must be an election coming because the Democrat machine of class warfare is ramping up again.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2014 10:54 a.m.

    @Al Thepal "Most millionaires and billionaires have earned their money." They "work" at protecting and expanding their fortunes. But they don't sweat like us of the middle class. They can hire any sort of expertise they need to protect themselves. An interesting example is sugar. Why do we have to put up with fructose corn syrup in our pop, while the rest of world gets to drink real pop with sugar? The big sugar billionaires of Florida have paid both the major parties to keep sugar tariffs high. So sugar is artificially expensive in the U.S. This is just one example among many.

    It's important to understand the difference between the world of high finance and the one most of us live in. It has a bearing on everything including the student loan disaster.

  • Ltrain St. George, UT
    March 12, 2014 10:54 a.m.

    What is preventing Buffett and Gates from paying more in taxes? They should just pay 90% of their earnings every year. Stop whining about it and do it. All of the other liberals should raise their own taxes too. That way we wouldn't have to hear the constant complaining from them. I say use the same funding system as God does and tax everyone at a flat rate. Lets say 15%. That would work. Seems to work for the LDS church.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    March 12, 2014 10:51 a.m.

    What fools! Here is my challenge! If what all the progressive socialists say is true, then let's just confiscate all their wealth, nationalize all corporations and by law equalize every wage in the country! Surely, surely, then everyone will be happy and peace will reside in the heart of every man, women, and child, but especially the liberal progressives!

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    March 12, 2014 10:36 a.m.

    Whats foolish is that student loans have interest rates of at least 8% while the government loans billions to banks at less than 1%.
    If anyone wants to talk about something foolish, try to justify that.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2014 10:32 a.m.

    @cjb " In the 1970's it was. It was possible at that time for a student who was living at home to work all summer and use that money to completely pay for books and tuition the following academic year. Between then and now something has changed. Identify in detail what those changes are so we can go back to the way it was then."

    It's pretty easy to explain. Most higher ed is public. States has steadily lowered their subsidy of higher ed. Sallie Mae, the agency which makes student loans was sold off to commercial banks which made it a profit center. And this whole process was compounded by a stagnant real wage from the late 1970's 'til now - this makes the educational expense really bite. There you have it - a perfect storm for young people. See "Inequality for All." for more details.

  • Al Thepal Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2014 10:18 a.m.

    A horrible terrible stupid proposal. I'll admit I have a fair amount of student loan debt. But I did not bite off more than I could chew, and made sure that I majored in something that would actually be worth it, and I am paying back my student loans with the originally agreed to interest rates with payments larger than the minimum payments so that I can get out of debt sooner. I knew what I was getting in to when I got the loans, and I was not foolish enough to get more than I could handle. Most millionaires and billionaires have earned their money. I do not want the government to steal from them in order to try to "help" me with my student loans. I am responsible and so I have this under control all by myself. I don't need or want the "help" of Senator Warren or President Obama.

  • Richie Saint George, UT
    March 12, 2014 10:16 a.m.

    SillyRabbit has an idea. Quit pumping out degrees for all those worthless liberal arts social ideas such as a masters in the study of animal waste and get back to the three R's. We don't need more shrinks we need scientists and engineers. We also need good teachers and professors that teach the three R's, History (as it really happened) and English.

  • louie Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 12, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    We can argue all we want about what is fair and what is not fair but I have not read many comments that address the issue objectively. Since the 1970’s we have decreased the maximum federal tax rate from a high of about 70%. Since then we have also seen a decline in the financial security of our middle class citizens. By the way, that decline does not correlate with a lack of effort of our workers. Especially compared with most westernized countries and Japan, we take fewer vacation days and work more days per year. Our productivity has likewise increased significantly.

    Compared to the 1970’s more households have mother and dad both working fulltime and Utah is high on that list. This is difficult and has to be a challenge to our family values The “trickle down” theory of allowing greater wealth to accumulate at upper income levels has not resulted in improved situations for the middle or working class. If the Rich are benefiting from the greater productivity and work ethic of their employees I submit they can and should pay a greater share of helping the rest of society.

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    March 12, 2014 10:08 a.m.

    @Oatmeal - Could you specifically explain your rationale of how the rich use more than everyone else? Most of them pay for their kids to go to private schools and college, and they still pay taxes which help pay for public schools. They also spend money on things like houses, cars and other things that are made by (surprise, surprise) people. Even when they go out to dinner and do other things, they're usually provided service by (again) people. When the rich spend money, it generates jobs. And more than one study has shown that the "1%" give far more to charity than most people. When we squeeze the rich, they spend less, the economy slows and that means less jobs. I'm all for fairness in taxes, but if you squeeze too much, the golden goose stops laying eggs.

  • AllBlack San Diego, CA
    March 12, 2014 9:42 a.m.

    I'm shocked with some of the words chosen in these comments: foolish proposal, dumb idea, class warefare, Socialists and Marxists, get the rich people, and so on..

    I'm shocked because they attack the person and don't actually debate the idea. Really is there anything wrong with having the rich pay the same rates as the middle class? Or a bit more?

    I guess the rich won't like it too much, well no one likes to pay taxes, but they will continue to be rich after paying their taxes. The others who defend them here will continue to still not be rich as the rich keep on getting richer.

  • Wildcat O-town, UT
    March 12, 2014 9:40 a.m.

    Wow, when we pay oil companies millions of dollars in subsidies, it is an investment (according to the oil companies), but when we want to make college more affordable, that is leaching off the rich. I would rather my tax dollars go to promote an educated and skilled society.

    I would love to see how many of you would have responded to the Savior when he told his disciples that the widow who threw two mites into the treasury had given more than anyone because everyone else had given out of their abundance, and she had given out of her need, even all her living.

    I can just imagine what you would say, "no, two mites isn't worth more than what the Pharisees gave," "Don't punish the Pharisees, they are the job creators," "Are you against the free-market principle of the money changers?" "Do you hate successful people?"

    What is sad today is that widow paid more than many corporations today because they paid zero through using loopholes. Instead of being upset at that fact, many on this board are upset that somebody doesn't make enough to pay Federal Income Tax. Wow!

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    March 12, 2014 9:39 a.m.

    You know, I thought we had learned our lesson in the thirties. I thought we had learned that these ridiculous socialist ideas just don't work. The New Deal was such a disaster and it almost completely destroyed our country. Thank goodness the Supreme Court saved the nation by declaring it unconstitutional.

    I guess it's really true--the main thing we learn from history is that nobody ever learns anything from history.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    March 12, 2014 9:38 a.m.

    The stampede of liberal progressives in loud acclamation can be heard! Leave it up to a patronizing, corrupt politician to solve a problem they created! The wealthy are never hurt by scheming politicians! The senator knows this, but she also knows that people that have naively been taken advantage of are also looking for another bailout! Picking on the wealthy is convenient, especially in an era when no one wants to take responsibility for any mistake, especially the politicians who love to scheme and pretend that they are servants when master is the the right word! only the foolish and naive will be fooled by this charade, but there will be many who will leap in with both feet!

  • Western Rover Herriman, UT
    March 12, 2014 9:33 a.m.

    The government should not be backing student loans without regard to whether the particular course of study will raise the particular student's earning power enough to repay the loan. An applicant for a student loan must be able to show a specific plan for repaying it, similar to the plan that an applicant for a business loan must draw up. This requirement would stop students from taking on debt for useless degrees.

  • theSkeptic CLEARFIELD, UT
    March 12, 2014 9:29 a.m.

    Obviously, I misread the that the Constitutional guarantee that everyone is entitled a college education and the "rich" don't deserve to keep what they earn. Most importantly, that a Democrat has no qualms about steeling money from someone's pocket to pay for their pet project.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    I am generally in agreement with a flat tax idea. Perhaps set a minimum income level, say poverty line for openers, and then a flat percentage of income above it. Deductions will be the fight, as children, mortgage and charity would be fought over. But on the up side, it would reduce accountant and tax preparers. The "loop holes" reside in charitable deductions such as religious, university endowments, "cultural" entities. The rich and powerful people and institutions know how to lobby legislatures to protect the status quo so in reality our ranting is futile.

    I would propose, albeit a modest one (apologies to Adam Smith), that all students in high school and then again in any and all post high school education, including military service be required to successfully complete Dave Ramsey's course, or a similar one in personal finance management, in the first semester of college or senior year of high school or upon graduation from basic training (their minds are too messed up in Basic). Poor personal economic choices are the heart of debt.

    Stop the purchasing on whim or ignorance of consequences and you have a big first step.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    March 12, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    The American system is amazing. I would argue that the wealthy top 1% actually do utilize and benefit from our system MUCH more than the middle or lower classes do. And their wealth is generally based upon the incredible human capital found in this nation. They would never become as wealthy or maintain that wealth and liberty so easily in other political or economic systems! They should pay their fair share to build and support that system. It is NOT a penalty, it IS the price of future success. And the cool part is we lift each other in the process.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    March 12, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    Chris B,

    No person lives in a vacuum. Take a look at the federal and state budgets. How much of it are you willing to pay for? We use roads that cost billions. Our liberty is defended by human beings, aircraft carriers and ballistic missiles. Our economy and future income is supported by intelligent people using private and government investments in research. So is our health. Our future economic and physical well-being will be determined by how educated the next generation is. The forests and national parks we recreate in are supported with tax dollars. How do we determine what resources you use or will use?

  • Hey It's Me Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2014 9:15 a.m.

    I have seen how some students spend their loans, and it's not all on school. Also if we start paying for all these kids to go to college than their parents can buy new cars, TV's and other luxuries that I couldn't afford when I paid for my students college. Pay your own way, I am tired of the government trying to figure out more and more ways to give people free things. Work for what you want. There really are plenty of jobs. . . it's just whether we are willing to work them. My kids worked all through college to help pay for their education. Americans need to quit being so lazy and be self-sufficient.

  • NewAdventures Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 12, 2014 9:03 a.m.

    Taking from the rich to help pay for people's education is not the way to go. Can you go to college and graduate with no debt? Absolutely YES! This can be easily done! I did this myself and had plenty of cash left over when I graduated. I started saving for college when I was 12 years old. Every dollar I made I saved and put towards college. I also invested this money in these so called evil corporate money mongers. And thanks to these corporations, they helped subsidize my college education. I also worked during college, and worked my butt off during the summer. These college kids need to get jobs and learn how to save instead of going and partying every night. Or even better, study harder and earn a scholarship. Too many people think they deserve entitlements and everything should be taken care of for them. If you want something badly enough, you'll do whatever it takes to get it.

  • rok Boise, CA
    March 12, 2014 8:54 a.m.

    so, you're going to tax the rich so kids can make sure to borrow enough money to throw raging keggers and live opulent (for a student) lifestyles? How about reducing college costs by not requiring unnecessary classes that are only created to give humanities graduates tenured jobs as professors.

  • Peter R Provo, UT
    March 12, 2014 8:54 a.m.

    The LDS Church has the Perpetual Education Fund, which makes student loans to those wanting to improve their earning potential through education. In order to take advantage of these funds, a student must take a financial management course. I wonder what the payback rate of student loans would be if the same were true of government student loans.

    What's missing in most government programs is accountability. People are allowed to receive help, but little to nothing is required in return. Requiring an accounting of what people do is a great way to help those people be more responsible with what they're given (and, often, to feel better about themselves in the process).

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    March 12, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    Excellent proposal, but it doesn't go far enough. College education should be free for all Americans.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    Even a so-called flat tax is not truly a flat tax.

    A flat tax would call for each citizen to pay for the govt resources they use; each person would pay about the same in taxes.

    A flat tax rate still ends up with rich people paying for the resources that I use.

    And that's not right.

    Only a lazy person would suggest a rich person pay for my and their share of resources used

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 12, 2014 8:31 a.m.

    "Any investment of less than the additional earnings would be justified."

    That is certainly one way to look at it? But, not really valid.

    Are you sincerely suggesting that the cost of an education should be tied to earning potential?

    Why would we not tie it to the cost of providing that education?

  • SillyRabbit Layton, 00
    March 12, 2014 8:21 a.m.

    Some Bachelor's degrees simply do not pay, though.

    I think that was the disconnect for college students who have already graduated with all this debt, and perhaps the same disconnect for their parents.

    I do keep hearing that the newest generation of college age adults are inspecting their choices. But I'm just not sure I believe that entirely. Any forethought will make for an improvement, but that's their responsibility, not some millionaire's.

    The longer that we coddle adolescents, the more childlike they are when they have to make these decisions regarding debt. If the parent is convinced that "any" degree will help their child, they aid the justification for taking it on, when a degree in Philosophy doesn't make much financial sense.

    And if you think financial sense in a college degree doesn't matter, YOU go ahead and pay for their debts. I'm not and I'm glad for that.

  • ute alumni SLC, UT
    March 12, 2014 8:09 a.m.

    problem isn't millionaires, i=the problem is the poor. Focus should be on helping those that want to work hard to become millionaires. Takers continue to want to rob the makers. Mitt was right.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    March 12, 2014 8:07 a.m.

    Well then, Hawkeye, they should be able to pay off their own loan, shouldn't they? The problem is averages aren't telling the whole story. There are many people go to college who don't graduate, and there are many more who go to college and don't earn more than if they hadn't gone. Those are the people who shouldn't be in college, or shouldn't be taking out loans.

    The bigger problem is the more money you throw at colleges, the more expensive they get, and less efficient they become. Effectiveness should be measured by outputs, not by inputs, and if colleges are graduating people that can't afford to pay off their loans that is evidence that they are not effective and efficient.

    Another problem with loans as those who take them out don't spend that efficiently. "That which we achieve to easily we esteem too lightly."

  • Hawkeye79 Iowa City, IA
    March 12, 2014 7:39 a.m.

    Hi JoeBlow,

    "The cost of higher education, like healthcare, cannot be justified."

    Let's examine that claim. The average weekly earnings for someone with a Bachelor's Degree are $1,066 while the average weekly earnings for someone with a High School Diploma are $652 (source: BLS). That's a difference of $414 per week.

    Assuming that someone works for 30 years, that's $414 x 52 weeks x 30 years, which equals $645,840 in additional earnings due to having a Bachelor's Degree.

    Any investment of less than the additional earnings would be justified.

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    March 12, 2014 7:21 a.m.

    Please, let's leave the rich alone! They do so much for us and inspire us to be such better and more successful people and they ask so little for doing so. Some of us just have to face the fact that the rich are simply there because they work harder and are better at keeping their noses to the grindstone than the rest of us. If we want to be like them, we can't over tax them and then they might say, "Well, no duh--if these Americans don't appreciate me, I'll take my money to Canada!" Plus, lets not have all this class warfare stuff. We are not as strong as the rich and we could never stand up to them. Plus, we have lots of distractions like video games and shopping at Walmart for low low prices.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    March 12, 2014 7:13 a.m.

    How to make college affordable? In the 1970's it was. It was possible at that time for a student who was living at home to work all summer and use that money to completely pay for books and tuition the following academic year. Between then and now something has changed. Identify in detail what those changes are so we can go back to the way it was then.

    Short of doing this, attempts to make college affordable won't succeed.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 12, 2014 7:09 a.m.

    Continuing to raise taxes on the "rich"= Detroit!

  • Hawkeye79 Iowa City, IA
    March 12, 2014 6:26 a.m.

    So, Elizabeth Warren actually thinks that the absence of confiscation is an investment. That's pretty scary, if you think about it.

    I will officially invest in you, the reader, today by not confiscating all of your assets. Aren't you grateful that I am such a generous investor?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 12, 2014 6:17 a.m.

    A the cost today for a university degree is ludicrous.

    Universities need to be held accountable for keeping costs down. Unfortunately, they are run like a business. Govt educational assistance has allowed these colleges to just charge more.

    While it is useful for Americans to supplement higher education, maybe we could set guidelines for schools to follow if those funds are to be used at those colleges.

    The cost of higher education, like healthcare, cannot be justified.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    March 12, 2014 6:13 a.m.

    Yea, Elizabeth get those rich people, get those white people ,get those hetrosexuals, get those folks who want to work instead of set on their porches and suck off of the taxpayer tax,tax,tax oh and spend,spend,spend! Liberalism on parade.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    March 12, 2014 2:56 a.m.

    Hey DN Subscriber - It is called the Buffet Rule. Since when has Warren Buffet been a Socialist or a Marxist? Bill Gates is all for it too. Doesn't that kind of trash your "Socialist and Marxist" theory?

    It's a reasonable idea, but it could be improved.

    I think a special tax should be Levied against Republicans to pay for some of the immense damage they have done to this nation.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    March 11, 2014 11:27 p.m.

    Capital exploits labor so it is OK to tax the wealthy at higher marginal rates. Just restore 1950's rates and things will improve greatly (weren't the 1950's great years for both capital and labor?).

  • md Cache, UT
    March 11, 2014 10:19 p.m.

    @Dave4197 "Never met a millionaire I wouldn't like to tax more!" Socialist.

    "A flat tax is the ultimate unfair tax. A flat tax is the non thinking man's approach to income tax reform" Your's is the non-taxpaying man's approach to having other people fund your laziness.
    If we continue to penalize success and reward laziness, more people will become lazy and make comments like you have made. The "rich" pay more than their fair share.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 11, 2014 8:38 p.m.

    Socialists and Marxists always love to spend other people's money, and confiscate the earnings of others.

    Ms. Warren has a lot of hutzpah as a former Harvard professor demanding confiscating earnings of OTHER people who made a lot of money, but will probably exempt liberal professors and highly paid lawyers. Of course, taking money from them to give it to their kids to pay for school might be seen by some as being "an Indian giver."

    Too many people go to college to start with, too many study worthless subjects, and too many borrow money when they have no real likelihood of paying it back. Fix those problems instead of stealing money from people who work.

    She could confiscate every dollar earned by working Americans and still not come close to paying off our deficits, let alone our national debt. It's not that taxes are too low, it is that Congress is spending WAY too much!

  • freedomingood provo, Utah
    March 11, 2014 8:16 p.m.

    Since the rich have been getting all those tax breaks for the last 30 years on the premise they were going to create jobs and prosperity for all, I think they should now pay back the treasury for their failure to do so.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    March 11, 2014 7:36 p.m.

    Here's a quaint idea; DON'T take on more debt than you are willing (and able)to pay off.

    Problem solved.

    What do millionaires have to do with YOUR bad decisions?

  • dave4197 Redding, CA
    March 11, 2014 7:11 p.m.

    Never met a millionaire who I wouldn't like to tax more!
    But Elizabeth, you've left out a few first steps. First, Universities charge way too much, probably because they pay way too much to their leadership and lightly loaded prof's. Second, a degree leads to a good paying job, so the student with that degree must be expected to try to pay back the loan. Third, the student's family should be tasked (taxed?) with helping to repay the loan, it's only fair, they avoided payment in the first place.
    After my 3 ideas, I'm still all for taxing millionaires, sock it to em! Anything over 500k per year should be taken.
    A flat tax is the ultimate unfair tax. A flat tax is the non thinking man's approach to income tax reform. Deductions should be re-ordered, some scaled down, some scaled up. But NO to a flat tax. Got more opinions, another time.

  • 1conservative WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    March 11, 2014 6:55 p.m.

    Class warfare at its finest.

    The problem isn't "millionaires". The problem is universities that seem to think there's no end to the amount of money we'll throw at them - for a degree to "nowhere".

  • Richie Saint George, UT
    March 11, 2014 6:41 p.m.

    Nothing like a New England Democrat to come up with this dumb idea. I came from a middle class family and had to work my way through school to appreciate college.

  • md Cache, UT
    March 11, 2014 6:40 p.m.

    What a foolish proposal.

    How about a flat tax? It is the only fair way to tax everyone with the same percentage of their income. Close all loopholes. End all deductions. Flat tax is a fair tax.