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Kids needs tax education

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Regardless of whether you believe taxes are crucial and helpful or unnecessary and unfair, it is important that your kids understand the concept of taxation, how tax money is collected and used, and what they can do to influence tax policy.

Here are a few kid friendly facts you can share with your children.

There are a lot of taxes in the U.S.
Individuals are taxed on property, purchases, income, wages, facilities use (tolls), and dying (death tax). Companies pay duties, tariffs, fees, registrations, and employment taxes. They pass these extra costs onto consumers as higher prices, which means individuals ultimately pay for business taxes.

U.S. taxpayers have little say on how tax money is spent.
Once the taxes are collected by a taxing agency, taxpayers have little control on how the money is allocated. As a result, it is critical that voters consider all tax referenda carefully. If a taxpayer does not like a tax he/she can circulate a petition to have the tax recalled, run for office, and/or work to get different politicians elected.

Taxes increase the power of the government.
Tax revenues give government entities control over large budgets, which can create problems with corruption as companies and individuals lobby to obtain projects bid by the government.

Taxes fund a wide variety of programs.
Taxes are used to pay for everything from roads and bridges to special projects like studying methane emission from dairy cows.

Private sector worker taxes pay for government jobs.
When someone works for a public school, a public college or university, the TSA, the military, a company who executes government contracts, an organization that receives government grants etc. his/her salary is paid by people working in the private sector. Even though government employees pay “taxes”, these “taxes” just reduce the cost of that worker, since the taxes go back into the pool of money used to pay government salaries. As a result, it is impossible for the government to operate without loans or tax contributions from private sector workers.

Tax marketing is often different from tax implementation.
Taxpayers are often more willing to approve taxes for education, so government agencies will sometimes market a tax as a way to improve schools without restricting the money to schooling.

Once your kids have an understanding of taxation they can make sound economic decisions for themselves and help their communities make wise choices about taxes and community services.

College reality

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

In a few weeks tens of thousands of young Americans will leave home and begin the “college experience”. As they descend on campuses across the country, they will be greeted by impressive buildings, acclaimed alumni, elaborate social functions, and luxury hotel-like accommodations. In addition to getting used to their new “homes”, these newly minted adults will be asked to select majors that prepare them for post college employment.

Interestingly, the university structure and incentives may not always be aligned with what is best for students.

Universities are broken into departments. Each department is responsible for running a profitable business or demonstrating that there is enough demand for its offerings that it would be foolish for the university to close the department. Departments like engineering generally have large research budgets, so they are less concerned about student enrollment than departments like the humanities and social sciences that have fewer research dollars.

As might be expected, the departments with fewest research dollars generally work hardest to convince students to select majors within their purview. Until 15-20 years ago, this model worked well, because it was possible to obtain high quality employment with a wide variety of university degrees.

Technology has improved access to information so much that many jobs related to compiling, organizing, and disseminating information have already been or are being eliminated. Careers that have been hardest hit are law, social sciences, and the humanities.

Since there are fewer job opportunities for people with these degrees, many college graduates find it difficult to procure jobs that pay a premium over what was available to them before they attended college.

This shift creates a dilemma for the parents of a child who did not develop a proclivity for math in high school. Does the parent have the resources to send the child to college so he/she can graduate without debt and go on to a job that he/she most likely could have obtained without attending college? Is it better to consider a high paying trade like plumbing or electricity, rather than expending money on college? Or is it wiser to encourage the child to go to a community college and learn math, so he/she has the skills to obtain a college degree with higher earning potential?

It is a tough decision, but is something that should be discussed before a family blindly spends large sums of money on a college education that does little to improve a child’s long term earning potential.

Learning A New Language Could Be The Thing That Finally Gets You A Raise

The Elite Daily – Helena Negru

“Generation-Y grew up watching the worldwide news and chatting with friends across the globe, which brought us the nickname “globals.” This connected lifestyle made us Millennials feel “at home” everywhere because we are always updated with the local news in India, Milan or Bali. With one click, a Millennial can select a date across the ocean and reserve accommodation in a remote village. This lifestyle made us embrace the world and care for its wellbeing more than other generations. Another benefit of our “global” lifestyle is the ability to adapt to a foreign culture easier and embrace the opportunities to work, study and live abroad.”(more)

Middle-class minorities are most at risk of falling behind on student loans, report says

The Washington Post – Danielle Douglas-Gabriel

“Middle-class African Americans and Hispanics are disproportionately falling behind on student loan payments, signaling that higher education is failing to ward off financial instability for minorities, according to newly released data. Researchers at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth analyzed delinquency rates, average loan balances and median income at a Zip-code level and found higher numbers of past-due student loans in predominantly African American and Hispanic communities…“These data tell us that debt-financed higher education is not the solution to racial inequality, since it doesn’t overcome longstanding economic disparities. It may even be contributing to the problem,” said Marshall Steinbaum, a research economist…”(more)

China cuts tax to boost innovation

China Daily- XINHUA

“BEIJING — China cuts more than 300 billion yuan ($46.15 billion) of taxes in 2015 to boost mass entrepreneurship and innovation, according to official data.
Among this, tax exemptions and breaks on small enterprises reached 100 billion yuan and tax cuts designed to encourage high technology development totaled 140 billion yuan, according to the State Administration of Taxation.”(more)

Education Does Reduce Inequality

The Wall Street Journal – Dan Greenstein and Jamie Merisotis

“In recent months some of the leading economic minds in the country have declared that when it comes to explaining rising inequality, education doesn’t matter. Larry Summers, former Treasury secretary and former president of Harvard, said at the National Press Club in February that it’s an “evasion” to suggest education and training as a solution to inequality. “The core problem is that there aren’t enough jobs,” Mr. Summers said. “If you help some people, you could help them get the jobs, but then someone else won’t get the jobs.” Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist, piled on a few days later: “Rising inequality isn’t about who has the knowledge; it’s about who has the power.” We could use stronger rhetoric, but let’s say it this way: nonsense. Education remains the chief American institution that promotes economic and social mobility for poor and disadvantaged citizens. It’s not an evasion; it’s the direct answer to the question of what the nation needs to improve its talent pool and improve economic opportunity and social equality.”(more)