No statement stuck with me more than in 2016, when Trump won the presidential election, Abraham Lincoln’s Top Hat and Fox News gauntlet-thrower Ben Kissell declared, “Now is going to be a great time to be a local politician.” He was alluding to the way in which the public’s eyes would be fixated on the new president and not paying attention as local politicians who would be lining their pockets.
Since so many were lol’ing over Super Bowl shaker Shakira owing taxes to her respective government, let’s take a close look at the price tag of idealism. Many of us claim to want universal healthcare and free education for all but utopia costs money. And that money usually comes from you, not your elected officials.
Fifteen years ago, a healthy section of newspapers were devoted to local council meetings – people wanted to know where their taxes were going towards. Today, mostly all local newspapers have cut this form of reporting as it gets little digital traction and doesn’t seem worth compensating anyone to cover. (And let’s face it – they are boring to read. You probably won’t make it to the end of this editorial).
Ultimately, politics in the United States, at the end of the day, is a numbers game. Wait until some of you get your first real paycheck and notice how much of a cut the government automatically will take from you. Now I want you to look at some local numbers.
$95,000. How much New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell owes to the IRS in unpaid taxes.
$11,000,000+. How much the Hard Rock Hotel Collapse is costing the city of New Orleans.
$15,598. The median income of male defendants in jail who can’t afford to post bail under Judge Harry Cantrell’s policies, according to Prison Policy Initiative, a Massachusetts nonprofit.
The Sales Tax Rate for New Orleans is 9.5%. The U.S. average is 7.3%.
The Income Tax Rate for New Orleans is 6.0%. The U.S. average is 4.6%.
$321,561.40. The maximum amount a Civil Service employee in New Orleans can earn in a year, according to nola.gov.
$27,255. The average income of a New Orleans resident per year.
If the average income of your average New Orleans resident is $27,255, a male defendant in jail awaiting trial only has $15,598 to post bail set by Mayor Cantrell’s father-in-law, Judge Harry Cantrell. This male defendant has 43% less than your average New Orleans resident to help him avoid incarceration. A socially conscious person would probably say this is unjust but…
Shimmier Shakira chose to live in Spain – one of those countries that actually does offer free healthcare. Spain’s laws regulate that university tuition caps out at $2,300 maximum for its residents. When lol Shakira avoids paying taxes to “colonizers,” she’s skipping out on paying what she promised by moving to Barcelona – paying a chunk of the bill that keeps citizens healthy and educated. Despite 140 character tweets, it doesn’t seem like a laughing matter. When you say tax the 1 percent to pay for the rest of us, you don’t think Shakira is Spain’s 1 percent? In a beautiful country that has a 14.2% unemployment rate (which is very high), you’re damn right she’s their 1 percent.
According to the school website, “UNO is among the nation’s leaders in affordability. For the sixth straight year, UNO ranked among the universities whose students graduate with the least debt.” We are a state funded school so when someone skips out on their taxes, our school administration is not laughing out loud. Will you be laughing out loud when your tuition bill comes?