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June 27, 2012 - Rob Weaver
As I write this, a congressional source has told a reporter for The Associated Press a tentative deal is near which would keep new college loans from doubling -- or returning, depending on one’s view -- to 6.8 percent.

Alan Fram reported Republicans and Democrats had agreed on a one-year extension of the current 3.4 percent rate on subsidized Stafford loans. The deal, part of a transportation bill, is to take effect Sunday. That gives both sides a year to work out agreement on a loan-rate compromise I suggest for college students.

I propose a sliding scale for student loan rates, pegged to cumulative grade-point averages. For example, students who graduate with a 4.0 GPA or its equivalent would just have to repay the principle. Those whose grades on final transcripts would qualify them for the dean’s list would pay 2 percent. Those who receive a degree would pay 4 percent, while those who flunk out would pay, say, 6 percent.

These rates could be negotiated by members of Congress. The sliding scale would compel students to stay in school and get the best marks they can.

I have another recommendation for members of Congress, prompted by an email concerning the U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding campaign contributions by corporations. Here’s the electronic message:

“The U.S. Supreme Court's disastrous Citizens United v. FEC ruling has unleashed a torrent of anonymous campaign spending into our political system. Corporations have been able to exert a massive influence on our electoral process without being subject to any accountability for that influence.

“Progressive champion Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is fighting back by pushing Congress to pass the DISCLOSE Act. And he has asked the public to join him as citizen co-sponsors.

“Become a citizen co-sponsor of the DISCLOSE Act of 2012 to end secret election spending.”

It then provides the URL to sign on:

The website states, “To be clear, what we really need is to get all corporate money out of politics, to roll back Citizens United, end corporate personhood and institute public financing of elections.”

I propose a compromise that could “end corporate personhood:” Eliminate corporate contributions to campaigns AND the corporate income tax.

If corporations aren’t people, then they shouldn’t pay an income tax like people. This would instantly make American-based corporations more profitable, while making corporate bookkeeping just a bit simpler. Corporations would have more cash to reinvest, expand and (hopefully) hire more workers or offer raises to existing employees.

Meanwhile, any profits distributed to shareholders would be subject to the federal income tax, and not be regarded as a capital gain. And no more arguing about the rate; higher-income shareholders would pay at their higher rate, lower-income shareholders would pay at their lower rate.

Plus, eliminating a corporate income tax should eliminate corporate tax loopholes, too.

If I were more Internet savvy, I’d start a website for citizens to co-sponsor my idea. Alas, I received a B-minus in Computer and Information Sciences 101.


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