Friday, May 15, 2009

Sympathy / no sympathy?

Sometimes, I don't have sympathy, even when, perhaps, I should:

1. R.I. Mayor: Let's Tax College Students

The mayor of Providence wants to slap a $150-per-semester tax on the 25,000 full-time students at Brown University and three other private colleges in the city, saying they use resources and should help ease the burden on struggling taxpayers....

"We want to support the city as best we can, but financially is not really what we can afford to give," said Heather Lee, president of the Brown Graduate Student Council. "We're more able to provide labor, we're more able to apply the things that we're learning in the classroom, than we are to write a $300 check."

My take: Ummm.... no. Brown kids are, overwhelmingly, loaded. They can afford a hell of a lot more, and, plus, the taxes will probably just get rolled into the tuition, which loans / parents will take care of. If they wanted to argue it from philosophical grounds, fine, but not this "empty wallet" pantomime by Ivy Leaguers.

2. This is from a journalist I know and respect, but I have trouble seeing her side of the issue:

In the fall quarter of my last year at XXXXX, I wrote what turned out to be a pretty miserable weekly column for the Daily XXXXX.... The problem now is that, thanks to the Daily’s unbelievable Google mojo, some of those admittedly bad columns appear high up on the first page of my own Google search results... My professional work – work I’m actually proud of – for much larger, national publications is buried down below.

I now find myself in a bit of a battle with the Students Publishing Company Board. They’ve (understandably) refused to take the stories down, but I was told that if I assemble a group of alums who share my frustrations, our opinions may be considered and “darkening” the stories -- a.k.a. keeping them on the site as is, but making them invisible to major search engines -- could be a possibility....

OK. So the issues are:

1. The author is not proud of these articles, which were written a long time ago and are now resurfacing.
2. These articles are ranking higher than her previous work
3. At the time of her writing, she was unaware of Search Engine Optimization and that this would happen
4. She feels the articles are hers and, therefore, she should be able to determine what ranking they receive on another hosts

More when I have a sec...


Ilan Goodman said...

Taxing college students is stupid, regardless of if they are "loaded" (a slightly subjective assessment on your part--think if someone not "loaded" couldn't go to Brown for lack of an extra 1200 to pony up in taxes) or not.

Students pump a TON of money into the local economy. Everytime they get a slice of pizza, or buy something they pay taxes. Especially in Providence this means they are largely stimulating small and medium enterprises. That means $150x 25,000 that goes into the Providence city coffers, rather than being widely distributed around the businesses of the city. (And we know that Providence city hall isn't corrupt or anything...).

George said...

So I'm in a pickle here-As a long time RI resident I don't like Mayor David Cicilline or most Brown students!

The Mayor is trying to raise taxes on people who live out of state and won't cost him any votes.

Brown students are countering with a move that the rich have always excelled at, avoiding paying any taxes.

George said...

I think that when you raise taxes, you have to tell people where the money is gonna go.

There is an effort in RI right now to raise the alcohol tax by a penny (or 1%, not sure) and use the extra revenue to fund substance abuse programs. I think that a practical approach like that resonates more with the public, and also its easier to keep track of the money.
Otherwise its like, 'cool, thanks for the 3.75 million (Ilans math) all you Brown students (again, can't stand Brown students, trying to be objective)--we're gonna go and uh, "pay down the defecit" at the Capital Grille for the next year.'