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          Spreading the wealth

          Sugar in Your Gas Tank

          Tiffany Oliver

          Issue date: 8/27/10 Section: Opinion
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          Oliver argues an analogy between income tax and grades: if we share the money, let's share the grades too.
          Oliver argues an analogy between income tax and grades: if we share the money, let's share the grades too.
          [Click to enlarge]
          Over the summer, I reconsidered some of my political positions, particularly the redistribution of wealth and the progressive tax scale. I used to adamantly oppose a system that forced the wealthy to pay more in taxes than less fortunate Americans, but President Obama, the Democratic-controlled Congress, and everyday liberal champions such as Anderson Cooper and Chris Matthews make some valid points for such a system.

          I used to think that wealthy Americans were just like any other Americans: ordinary and hard-working. However, I now believe liberals are right to think the wealthy deserve to pay more to support the unlucky. Liberals are right: the people who support the system should not be the ones who actually use the system, since they are lucky enough to not need to use the system to support themselves. And by "system" I mean the current progressive tax scheme and welfare programs. Those who actually use this system should not be obligated to contribute to its funding at a rate comparable to the wealthy. The rich, entitled class should be obligated to pay higher taxes because they earn more than the "average" salary.

          After this new school of thought entered my head, I had a great idea: why not apply our current tax system to academics? My proposal is for universities such as Case Western to implement a new form of grading: the progressive grade tax. There are countless hard-working students at CWRU, but not all of them are able to achieve passing grades. Sadly, some students struggle to remain in good academic standing despite considerable errort. Maybe their failures lie in bad luck. Maybe a below-average professor or an overly subjective grading system is to blame. Whatever the reason, some students are simply left behind while others have over a 3.0 GPA. Is it really fair that some maintain such a high GPA when some unfortunate students work just has hard but struggle to reach a 2.0? As a member of the upper classes in terms of grades, I feel the burden to help the struggling student, and believe that every student in my position should feel the same. My proposal is to institute a grade tax system similar to the current progressive income tax system. Everyone who achieves between a 3.8 and a 4.0 should be taxed 35 percent of their grade points, and those points should be redistributed to those with GPAs below 2.0. Those with GPAs between 3.6 and 3.8 would be taxed 30 percent, and so on. This system would ensure that struggling students would remain in good standing with the university. Even though some students with high GPAs earn them, students with lower GPAs work just as hard, if not harder, than the students with high GPAs. And even students with higher GPAs work a little harder than those with lower ones, they should feel obligated to help their fellow students. If good academic standing is a 2.0, then why does anyone need a 3.5? Those extra 1.5 GPA points could go to someone who truly needs it.

          Tiffany Oliver is a third-year history and political science major with a public policy minor. She is a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta women's fraternity.
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          Christa Caparelli

          posted 8/27/10 @ 2:05 PM EST

          Why Tiffany you make a really valid point. In fact we should use this concept in business. We should allocate profits from healthy robust and energetic companies to those that are failing. (Continued…)

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          posted 8/27/10 @ 5:02 PM EST

          before you think that your grades are unfair, learn to spell, honey.
          examples include "errort"...
          Besides, if you are dumb enough to get a low GPA, you probably shouldn't be spending so much time writing blogs and ridiculous comments like this. (Continued…)

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          Concerned Student

          posted 8/27/10 @ 8:49 PM EST

          I don't understand your analogy. If someone is getting a 2.0 GPA, then I would highly attribute all of that to unfairness or bad luck. Sure, that will happen for a class or two maybe, but these things should have little effect on a student's GPA. (Continued…)

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          posted 8/27/10 @ 9:56 PM EST

          I understand your analogy, but it is highly oversimplified.

          Firstly, GPA is a function of far fewer factors than is life outcome or socioeconomic status. (Continued…)

          (1 reply)   Details   Reply to this comment


          posted 8/28/10 @ 6:28 PM EST

          The argument is a parody. Meaning it is sarcastic. It aims to attack the idea that people who do not succeed do not succeed because of luck, or factors not related to work. (Continued…)

          (1 reply)   Details   Reply to this comment


          posted 9/01/10 @ 12:27 AM EST

          When I first read this, I thought that using grade points (which serve the purpose of measuring how well people do in their classes) as an analogy for dollars (which serve the purpose, among other things, of allowing people to not starve in the streets) didn't make sense. (Continued…)

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          Concerned Student

          posted 9/01/10 @ 1:06 AM EST

          First just to get something out of the way:
          "And college students don't? Why is there an LGBT center and center for diversity, and why is there affirmative action in place for college admissions? To act like there isn't diversity in college is close minded. (Continued…)

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          In This Issue


          • Major work on LGBT Center completed
          • Meet your USG Executive Board
          • More to coffee than its morning punch
          • New international student orientation session debuts
          • Optimizing your credit cards
          • University names new controller
          • USG Briefs: Filer to be taken offline


          • A conversation with Otto Penicka, voice of Spartan athletics
          • Another year, another slap in the face
          • Conference Previews
          • Men's XC team to avenge snub
          • Spartan Spotlight: Cindy Spahn
          • Spartan women have their eye on return trip to Nationals
          • Women's Soccer looks to build on surprising season


          • Flouting the system, 101
          • Letter to the Editor: Commutes Students Association offers home to all CWRU students
          • Sex and Dating
          • Spreading the wealth
          • Student body, SEC ready to move on


          • Going back to Those Gold Soundz: I was a six-year-old Phish phan
          • Kate Voegele, Meagan McCormick charm crowd at Welcome Back Concert
          • One student's story: wielding Magic in foreign countries.
          • Scott Pilgrim epitomizes style over substance in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
          • SEC positively affecting campus
          • The Buzz
          • Welcome Back Comedy Night a real laugh
          • Welcome Days
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