The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 37.0°F | Partly Cloudy

COLUMN

In Support of a Tax Cut and Less Gun Regulation

Guest Column
Andrew T. Yue

In response to the August 30 column entitled “Four Easy Pieces” by Michael J. Ring, I would like to clarify fact from opinion and offer the other side of the issue to your readers on two specific issues: the tax cut and gun ban. In his column, Ring proposed a “wish list” for the post-recess Congress that included killing a Republican-sponsored tax cut and passing strong gun-control legislation.

First of all, tax cuts are consistent with fiscal conservatism. A tax cut is merely letting people keep what the government would have taken away. Taxes are the source of revenue for the government to spend on specific existing programs, not on things the government would have taken away or on things the tax was not deemed for. Thus, spending a surplus defies the purpose of taxes because politicians spend money on things they want, not necessarily what the majority wants. Therefore, the only sensible and right thing to do is return money to where it came from. The same applies to projected surpluses.

Additionally, understand that the government will spend the surplus no matter what. For the economists out there, you can all comprehend the effect on our economy if government were to spend the surplus. It would increase aggregate demand due to the increased government spending causing inflation, which is what the Federal Reserve is trying to avoid.

One last thing about the tax cut. The cut doesn’t favor anyone. If your taxes are lowered, what gives you the right to complain that the wealthy’s taxes are lowered too? Would you rather pay $1,000 extra in taxes to see them pay $5,000 more in taxes? Simply put, the higher-income workers get better tax breaks because they pay more taxes due to their higher bracket. Equalizing tax breaks is unfair, but it is just to return money to those who earned it, or simply not to tax people for what the government doesn’t plan on using.

In terms of the gun control legislation, there is more opinion here than fact. There is no hypocrisy of the Republicans on the gun control issue. First and foremost, they represent the protection of the right to bear arms. It is as simple as that. Regardless of what anyone thinks, that is what the law is and it must be upheld until overruled and declared unconstitutional. How can Ring call the Second Amendment unconstitutional when chief justices and legislators have not declared it unconstitutional? I dare say Ring is not as competent in judging constitutionality as a Supreme Court Justice.

And if this right was intended to field militias, the militia isn’t the National Guard. The Guard is a division of our national defense, not a militia. Back in the time of our founding fathers, the right to bear arms was designed for local and state militias to be a check and balance on sovereignty as well as the will of the majority. That is a principle that our country is founded on. If we had no right to bear arms, think how easy it would be for the government to control us if it fell in the wrong hands.

The amendment declares the “right to bear arms.” How, therefore, can the ownership of guns be a “privilege?” Here, Ring is in dispute with the founders, not with me or any Republican. And if you believe that the crime statistics are solely affected by the availability of guns, you have fallen into a trap. It is like saying that Arizona is a bad place for people with multiple sclerosis because there is a high rate of MS deaths there. Actually the high death rate is due to all the people with MS who move there because the hot weather is good for their condition.

America cannot be compared accurately to other industrialized nations when gun control is the only judging factor. Has Ring forgotten all about the American media, the societal pressures, bad parenting, and the rotting moral fiber of our nation? Apparently so. Why can’t we take responsibility for the fact that crime is a societal problem stemming from inadequate parental teaching? Faulting only guns is like saying that our society is perfect, but because of guns, people die. Guns do not kill; it is the finger that pulls the trigger.

One last note. I can’t understand the inconsistency Ring shows in his column. First he advocates an all-out ban on all gun ownership. Then, he settles on a solution of “registration.” The fact that he lowers his standards is proof that he knows a gun ban is not the answer to our quest to decrease crime. In fact, a gun ban would only increase the ante, making guns more expensive. This opens a whole new world of crime, black-market operations, drug dealing, money laundering, extortion, and smuggling that I think Michael J. Ring would agree, America does not want.

Andrew T. Yue is a member of the Class of 2003.