It’s a close one

By Andy Garrison

January 12, 2013

Most students probably fail to realize how some of the current happenings in Washington may cause us to take a sucker-punch to the wallet; those issues are sometimes overshadowed by the tug-of-war across the aisle and other issues that target larger publics. One such event was the recent “fiscal cliff” debate. Simply put, this “cliff” involved a series of Bush era tax cuts that were set to expire on January 1st. If that deadline were to be reached without some sort of compromise to keep some cuts in place, or for there to be a system-wide reform, it could be devastating to the middle and lower class, given the current economy. The debate was between President Barack Obama and Congress and due to what appeared to be a downright childish refusal to even meet for discussion, no compromise was found until literally a few short hours before the deadline. Wrapped up in all of this political drama was something that could be easily overlooked but would affect college students across America. Low to middle income families currently enjoy a tax cut of up to $2,500 a year for up to four years. That comes up to a possible total of $10,000 shaved off of a four year degree; while one may not even realize that one receives that now, one would certainly feel it if that cut were allowed to expire by these irresponsible individuals in Washington. Even with the compromise over the fiscal cliff, students aren’t in the clear yet. According to an article in The Huffington Post, written by Tyler Kingkade, changes may be coming that could drastically change who qualifies for help with tuition. “The federal government's continuing budget resolution comes due at the end of March, and Republicans in Congress are demanding budget cuts in exchange for any raise in the debt ceiling,” Kingkade said. “Federal research money would be the most likely casualty of future budget cuts, along with changes in who is eligible for financial aid programs.” That means that some students who may be on the edge financially for tuition may not receive the aid they need, depending on what kind of deal is reached, and thus they wouldn’t be able to afford classes. These officials that are making all of these decisions that are so crucial to some of us are supposed to be working for us. They are civil servants and we write their paychecks. They need to stop letting things come down to the final hour; these things they debate are far too important, balanced and complicated to be decided at the very last second. We pay these people to work, not to sit on a beach in Hawaii for months on end or refuse to come back from break on time for discussions. Collectively, we are these individuals' bosses and they need to know that they will be held accountable for their actions, just like any employee should.