Readers React

Throwing more tax money at students won't make college affordable

To the editor: Ronald M. Glassman and Gerald E. Scorse call for a financial transaction tax to subsidize college attendance. They don't realize that plentiful tax money to subsidize college attendance is the probable cause of tuition expense rising faster than inflation. ("With one small tax, America could insure the next generation a brighter future," Op-Ed, Dec. 29)

They do not mention the dismal employment prospects for college graduates who do not earn a degree in a licensed occupation or emerge from college with outstanding skills in science and technology.

They seem unaware that colleges are turning out graduates faster than America is producing jobs for them. They seem not to understand that it is entrepreneurs who create jobs and that the legal and tax regimes in place in the U.S. make it very difficult to be an entrepreneur.

More taxes to subsidize college would aggravate the situation, not make things better.

Frederic G. Marks, Santa Monica

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To the editor: On the county level, "small, easy and useful" taxes have combined to be more than one-third of my property tax bill.

If we really want to help with the cost of higher education, all tuition rather than the current $4,000 cap should be tax deductible. Then those who "invest" in their education (and thus can earn more) can have the benefits that investors do, forwarding their losses (tuition) and paying on their gains (higher earnings).

It might also help people think about how long it would take to recover the debt incurred for education. Another tax on financial investors and investments is not the answer to high student loan debt.

Kathryn Roush, Granada Hills

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To the editor: A transaction tax is a sales tax on financial sales. The European Union plan would charge up to 0.1% on financial transactions.

For a retail stock or bond buyer, it would be lost in the noise. But for large, fast-trading financial institutions, it would be a deal breaker. They make their money in pennies per trade, and it could ruin them. These rich, fast traders would oppose such a tax vehemently, using the billions they have siphoned off the economy to no useful end.

However, if I want a pair of shoes in Los Angeles, I must pay a 9% sales tax. These mega-financial groups pay no sales tax on millions of purchases and sales.

It is about time that they do, even if the money raised does not go solely to education.

Emil Lawton, Sherman Oaks

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