Penn Wealth Publishing

2015.01.25 Journal of Wealth & Success Vol 3 Issue 4

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4 wealth & success volume 3 issue 4 January 25, 2015 wealth & success Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved. FROM THE EDITOR Michael S. Hazell Straw man: There exists this lofty subset of the American population, sitting in their oxblood leather chair and chomping on a fat Dominican cigar (soon to be a Cuban), who take pleasure in the plight of the nation's poor. Second straw man: The "poor" and the "middle class" are this ubiquitous group of hard- working individuals who, despite the daily effort they put forth, always find themselves behind the 8-ball of American society. All would be remedied if the rich just gave their fair share. Listening to last week's State of the Union address, this must be the way it is in our unfair society. One of my favorites was the call to tax the withdrawals on 529 college savings plans. It follows that only the fat-cats have them, and they must be used for tax shelters. Wrong. I have been selling clients across the eco- nomic spectrum on the value of saving for their kids' college with this vehicle ever since they were introduced in the late 1990s. They were a great alternative to the education IRAs, as one could fund them by more than $2,000 per year— the limit at the time. I dare say that it got some families who had planned on letting their kids fund their education through student loans to begin saving at least something. This was followed up last week with the call for a "free" community college education. There are some great community colleges in the country, and a lot of bright and promising students begin their post-secondary education within their halls. But studies have revealed that the average level of education after finishing two years at a community college is equivalent to what was supposed to have been taught in the last two years of high school. Furthermore, make something free and see what happens to the quality of the good or service. Here's an idea: Let's put the $700 billion per year ($13,000 per child) spent on primary and secondary education to better use. This is more, per child, than any other developed nation in the world, yet an inordinate amount of kids are allowed to slip through the cracks, leaving high school vastly unprepared for college—even a free one. Most of us do play by the rules; we pay our ever- increasing "fair share" of taxes, and we try to get ahead the best we can. Let's stop the fomenting of anger, pitting one class against another, and truly focus our efforts on improving the quality of our kids' education, irrespective of their zip code or the "class" they happened to be born into. "Furthermore, make something free and see what happens to the quality of the good or service." Class warfare never put food on a hungry kid's plate. Politicians who use this straw man argument embarrass themselves and do the underprivileged a disservice.

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