By Ross Dubberly
Shortly before Christmas of last year, President Trump signed into law the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” introducing the largest tax cuts since those of the Reagan administration in the ‘80s.
Needless to say, these cuts were vilified by the Left. “As a historian of the Great Depression, I can say: I’ve seen this show before,” Professor Robert McElvaine wrote in the Washington Postin November 2017, his suggestion clearly being that the tax cuts were destined to lead to economic calamity. But an economic depression resembling that of the ‘30s has not ensued. On the contrary, the economy has actually started to show meaningful growth. And though this growth has many beneficiaries, it is arguably us college students who are among the biggest.
Many college students’ tuition and living expenses today are underwritten largely by their parents; therefore, any positive effect tax cuts have had on American families generally can be understood to benefit college students as well. Two specific ways the tax cuts have benefited American families—and by extension, college students—are bonuses and wage increases.
As the Washington Free Beacon published earlier this week, “The saving generated by tax reform allowed 507 companies, to date, to offer their employees a total of nearly $4 million in bonuses and raised wages.” With collegiate housing; tuition; fees; course expenses, such as textbooks; and other associated costs placing a huge burden on the backs of families with a child in college—or, in the case of families like mine, two kids in college at the same time—how could an extra $4 million in our families’ pockets be anything but beneficial?
These two benefits alone make the recent tax cuts advantageous for college students, but there is another area where students stand to gain—namely, increased employment opportunities.
With the costs of attending college so high today—even if parents are helping foot the bills—many students like me work part time to defray these costs. In light of this fact, it is significant that the labor market for college students, and teens generally, is perhaps better than it has been in a very long time. As the Wall Street Journal reported just a few days ago, “Now, the share of working teens aged 16 through 19 is increasing for the first time since the 1990s, to 30.7% in March. The turnaround in teen hiring traces to America’s economic growth, which is at near its fastest rate since the recession ended in 2009 . . . Open jobs in the U.S. topped six million in February, just below a record set in September 2017.”
Put simply, college students are likely to have an easier time finding part-time work to help pay for their education in this period of economic growth, which the tax cuts have only stimulated further.
What bonuses, wage increases, and increased employment opportunities have in common is this: They all serve to ease the financial burden that is the cost of a college education on a student and his or her family. And though the Left almost unanimously denounces the tax cuts as merely a boon for the wealthy, the reality is that tens of millions of Americans are benefiting from them—including those of us in college.
Ross Dubberly is the co-chairman of the University of Georgia Young Americans for Freedom chapter.