If it weren’t really happening, the Republican tax plan would be the plot of some sort of 19th century Boss Tweed parody where everyone is shaped like a flatfish and wearing a monocle. Except, nope, US Congress really does want to, uh, tax tuition waivers on poor grad students.
The folks over at Earther explain this well, and also show how it might impact graduate students. But now, Jeremy Berg, editor in chief of Science, the flagship journal of the United States’ largest science association, is adding his voice.
Naturally, he thinks taxing tuition waivers is bad.
If enacted, this provision could limit the ability of graduate students to complete their training programs and would particularly affect those students without other means to help support their studies. It is not clear what the objective is, as the new policy would disproportionately affect students without additional resources to support their educations and would likely decrease economic viability and competitiveness as talent is lost from the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) enterprise.
This is pretty much in line with the concerns of graduate students. On top of that, Berg believes the idea that these tax cuts would somehow help reduce the national debt in the future was spurious. “Ignoring evidence that is widely agreed upon by a field of qualified economists while presenting tax changes that seem to be based on wishful thinking is a bad foundation for policy changes,” he wrote.
I mean, at this point, the administration and the Republican Party have made it clear that they do not especially like poor Americans (you knew that already). They also very much dislike the science that helps poor Americans. They do like very rich people. Sure, tax cuts might feel nice, but taxing tuition waivers essentially prevents people from pursuing graduate school if they must rely on their waiver and stipend for support.
Scientists are mad. And if you like science, you should be mad, too.