Pizza and Politics: Taxes

Taxes: the word alone is enough to send shivers down many spines. On Nov. 20 students gathered in the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service at Southern Utah University to discuss taxes and a plethora of related subjects.

The specific subjects ranged from the services tax dollars go to such as education and defense, and whether they are receiving too much or too little funding. 

Additionally, the discussion turned to whether the wages of people under the age of 18 should be tax exempt or if we should lower the voting age to 16 to avoid taxation without representation.

One question with many audience responses was in reference to whether we should raise taxes to address the national debt or if there are alternatives to taxation.

“I think that the debt is a serious issue because debt getting out of control is what causes defaults like what has happened in Greece,” said Matthew Conover, a senior information systems major. “That can lead to major national issues and the fact is we as the U.S. are the most powerful nation in the world, if we default on our debts it is a terrifying thought of what could happen, and the unfortunate fact is that nobody actually wants to do anything about it.” 

Another question with many responses was, “Are the current tax brackets fair?”

“For example, my brother has a disability that he will have for the rest of his life,” said Savannah Robinson, a junior philosophy major. “He will never be able to work and 30 [to] upwards of 40 percent of my family’s income goes directly to medical, doctor visits, medications and psychiatric bills. So you have 30 to 40 percent of income already meeting a demand in that family’s life.”

Her argument revolved around the notion that because her family already pays an incredibly high amount of money in other aspects of their lives, their taxes should take this deficit into consideration. 

“I think when it comes to taxes the government needs to look at what these families are going through,” Robinson continued, “especially the middle class because the middle class makes too much to get any aid when it comes to certain things but they don’t make enough to pay all out of pocket.”

Other topics included the topic of sin taxes (taxes added on to things like cigarettes and liquor) and whether it is effective to use it to discourage behavior, among many other topics.

If you would like to participate in future debates on topics like these, Pizza and Politics is held every Wednesday at 12 p.m. in ST 112.

Story by Morgan Crookston

Photos courtesy of Morgan Crookston