By Dr. Daniel J. Palazzolo
Donald Trump, billionaire real estate developer and television personality, rose to the top of national tracking polls for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination contest with his populist attack on immigration, political correctness, and corrupt politicians. More recently, he has proposed a tax reform plan that seeks to fulfill his larger promise to “make America great again.” Although the plan contains several components that reflect mainstream thinking among conservative economists and will increase economic growth, preliminary analyses suggest that it would greatly magnify the national debt.
Trump’s plan may well be described as comprehensive and populist. For individuals, the main goals are greater progressivity and more incentives to work. Trump’s proposal creates four tax brackets (0%, 10%, 20%, and 25%), eliminates the marriage penalty and the alternative minimum tax, and retains “many deductions” for the “middle class.” At a 0% rate, single persons making less than $25,000 and married couples making less than $50,000 would pay no taxes and presumably would receive sizable refunds. Meanwhile, although the plan eliminates all estate or “death” taxes, it does away with many deductions for the “rich.” In an appeal to the middle class, Trump announced his plan “is going to cost me a fortune.” For corporations, the plan guarantees a tax rate of no more than 15%.
By Madeline Merrill
We live in a country with enough firepower that 90% of our 321 million populace could have their own gun. Flick on the TV, power on your MacBook, or open up your browser — immediately, onlookers are deluged by images of guns and war. The entertainment industry fuels a substantial portion of its viewership on violence. We tune in to the a college football game and actively critique the “time-out” TV advertisements — it feels as though the plot for every other TV show highlighted during the commercial break stems from violence, crime, drugs, or death.
As President Obama recently noted, “There is a gun for roughly every man, woman, and child in America.” CNN’s Ray Sanchez points out, “Civilians in the United States own about 270 million guns...that's almost the population of Indonesia, the world's fourth most-populated country. America ranks number one, in firearms per capita.”
by Gabrielle Jorgensen
On December 3, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for Evenwel v. Abbott, a case whose outcome could redefine the concept of “one person, one vote” in the United States. A catchphrase of contemporary American democracy, “one person, one vote” was first articulated by the Warren Court in the 1964 case Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533. The consequential ruling mandated for the first time that legislative districts be drawn to encompass roughly equal populations, effectively eliminating any state claims to territorially-based district apportionment. Reynolds also came close to addressing gerrymandering, as Chief Justice Warren warned of the dangers that arise when district boundaries are deliberately drawn to benefit specific interests.
Since Reynolds, public perception of “one person, one vote” has generally taken the phrase literally: legislative districts are drawn to represent roughly equal populations, regardless of who in the district is eligible to vote. In the opinion, however, Chief Justice Warren refrains from explicitly defining exactly who constitutes a “person.” Fifty years later, petitioners in Evenwel v. Abbott will argue that “person” may actually mean “voter,” and that any other standard dilutes the representation of the electorate relative to those who are not enfranchised.