Billionaires’ opinions on Warren’s tax plan


Early this month, Bill Gates, most well-known as the co-founder of Microsoft Corporations, was interviewed by The New York Times and voiced his thoughts on US Senator and possible presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax plans. Gates said, “I’ve paid over 10 billion in taxes, I pay more than anyone in taxes. If I would have had to pay 20 billion, that’s fine, but you know, when you say I should pay a hundred billion, okay, then I’m starting to do a little math about what I have left over.” However, some media outlets have left out that he went on to say, “Sorry, I’m just kidding now.”

Later that evening, Senator Warren tweeted in response, “I’m always happy to meet with people, even if we have different views. @BillGates, if we get the chance, I’d love to explain exactly how much you’d pay under my wealth tax. (I promise it’s not $100 billion.)”

On Senator Warren’s presidential campaign website, she lists an “Ultra-Millionaire Tax” under her many plans to carry out if she wins. In a box to add your email in support, it says, “A two-cent tax on the great fortunes of more than $50 million can bring in nearly $3 trillion to rebuild America’s middle class.” As stated on her website, “the families in the top 0.1% are projected to owe 3.2% of their wealth in federal, state, and local taxes this year, while the bottom 99% are projected to owe 7.2%.”

Senator Warren’s Ultra-Millionaire Tax proposes “zero additional tax on any household with a net worth of less than $50 million . . . 2% annual tax on household net worth between $50 million and $1 billion . . . 1% annual Billionaire Surtax (3% tax overall) on household net worth above $1 billion.” Gates’ net worth is 107.1 billion dollars, and after putting this through Warren’s wealth tax calculator, it is shown that he would be paying $6.379 billion in taxes next year if she were president, far from the $100 billion he fears.

When thinking about how to look at Gates’ side of this interaction, political science major Elizabeth Flatoff (‘21) said, “I think it’s important to look at what they are already doing with their money. Are they spending it? Or hoarding it?” In response to why billionaires might jump to conclusions such as Gates did, Flatoff said, “I think they always jump to conclusions as a way to demean, or demote what others are saying about the tax. If you can make it seem crazy enough, if you have enough pull, then maybe it won’t affect you. Maybe you can stop it.”

After looking at Warren’s side of the interaction, it is important to  When asked if it would even be possible for a wealth tax to go through, Ben Peterson, visiting professor of history and political science, said, “If [Elizabeth Warren] is elected and a significant number of the house remains in fairly progressive democratic hands, and then, if, and that’s a big if, the democrats gain control over the senate, then she would have a fighting chance to pass the things she wants. Otherwise she’s going to be negotiating. However, it’s just too soon to tell.”

California wildfires hit home


Southern California has seen multiple wildfires spread across counties for almost a month now that have yet to be one hundred percent contained. Of the thirteen largest active wildfires, the Kincade fire spans the largest amount of acreage.

The fire has burned seventy-seven thousand and seven hundred and fifty-eight acres so far since October 23rd as seen on an interactive wildfire map on The Los Angeles Times website. This fire is only sixty-eight percent contained. The most recent fire as of November 1st is the Sobrante fire which has burned thirty-five acres so far, with a containment level of zero percent.

The causes of the fires are from things such as downed power lines, controlled burns that quickly became uncontrolled or lightning strikes. For the past seventy-five years, the Smokey Bear campaign has pushed for careful watch against forest fires with its infamous slogan, “Remember. . .only YOU can prevent forest fires.” However, many have found the campaign to have been more detrimental than helpful to the environment.

Hank Wickley (‘20), a student who grew up in California, shared his thoughts concerning the old campaign. “The Smokey Bear campaign, while helpful and useful, has ultimately done more damage to forests because of its very nature . . . small fires are often essential and helpful for the health of the forest. By preventing the small ones, big ones happen more often because more forest needs to get burned,” he said.

A controlled burn helps weed out the weak and sick plant life, leaving room for the stronger and healthier flora that survive to grow. In the attempt to prevent any types of fires, many trees and other plants have died or become sick amongst the healthy, leaving far too much kindling for an accidental or even controlled fire.

The Smokey Bear campaign was set into motion in response to a fear of attacks on national forests on the West coast during World War II. Camera Stevens (‘21), an environmental studies major, stated that “the Smokey campaign has given people a guidance and a safety net but that safety net has some holes in it that people just don’t grasp. It’s deteriorated our forests and allowed for fires to be seen as an issue instead of something that can help our ecosystem.”

In terms of what can be done in response to it, Stevens said, “Knowledge and a change in policy needs to be addressed and shown before we can go forward.”

When asked what his thoughts were on what could be done to help, Wickley responded, “I think the biggest thing that would help . . . would obviously be more rain. That, however, is out of anyone’s control. One thing that could be done would simply be to let the little natural fires happen for the forest, but keep them maintained for safety purposes.”

Fires hit close to home for Wickley as he said, “The Kincade fire that is currently out of control in Sonoma County, California is happening in my old backyard. I grew up there and it is scary to see places I know up in flames. I have friends out there that are working to put out the fires and I just hope to see it all end safely.”

Turning Point USA rolls onto campus


Last week, many students walked through Mac Mall to find a group of people with a jumbo beach ball asking those passing by to sign the ball with dry erase markers. They did not provide any information as to who they were or why they were doing this at first, and many students signed it, unaware of the group’s message. It finally came to surface that the few people there were representing the conservative group Turning Point USA (TPUSA). 

“It was a lot of propaganda tactics, basically,” said Aristotle Karonias (‘22), a member of Alma College Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). 

When asked how they felt about TPUSA being on campus, another member, Grant Ostrander (‘22) said, “I really have no problem with them being on campus. I just felt that they could have been more clear about who they were and what they stood for than just you know, ‘we’re a student activist group.’”

When asked why TPUSA was invited to campus, the student who reached out to them, who the Almanian has chosen to keep anonymous, said, “Being on campus, I noticed that the political clubs are very one-sided towards the left . . . there’s nothing for people who don’t share those points of view.”

Alma College currently has no officially active conservative student groups. The student who invited them stated, “currently I’m hoping to start a chapter here at Alma, but I need the positions of vice president and secretary to be filled in order to start a chapter. That would entail helping me plan meetings and communicating with Turning Point and whatnot.” 

Turning Point USA identifies themselves on their website as a “non-profit organization whose mission is to identify, educate, train and organize students to promote freedom, free markets and limited government.” Founded by Charlie Kirk in 2012 with headquarters in Phoenix, AZ, their mission has been from the beginning to “build the most organized, active, and powerful conservative grassroots activist network on high school and college campuses across the country.”

Donald Trump Jr. made a statement saying, “I’m convinced that the work by Turning Point USA and Charlie Kirk will win back the future of America.” 

A website called Professor Watchlist was created by TPUSA for right-leaning students to “report” left-leaning professors. Benjamin Peterson, visiting assistant professor of the history department, said, “in some cases [the Professor Watchlist] has resulted in people receiving death threats, so that’s something kind of questionable.”

The group largely advocates for free speech rights, but when it comes to liberal views, they do their best to silence any and all opinions. No professors from Alma College are listed on Professor Watchlist.

Does a liberal arts title matter? New ranking on US news


For the past one hundred and thirty-three years, Alma College has continuously been considered a liberal arts college. Three weeks ago, an emergency faculty meeting was called in regard to the school’s new title with the newest release of this new US News College Ranking. Concerns were raised in regard to the perception of this new title by prospective students and others.

Alma College has recently been listed as number eight on the Regional Colleges Midwest list for US News Best Colleges. Alma College prides and markets itself on being a liberal arts college–it offers a wide array of disciplines while ensuring that students take other courses to broaden their knowledge of the world. However, over recent years, the school has seen a rise in non-humanities majors, including integrative physiology and health science, nursing and business.

The five most popular majors for 2018 graduates were health professions at nineteen percent, business at sixteen percent, education at twelve percent, social sciences at nine percent and biological and biomedical studies at eight percent.

Humanities courses include art, communication, dance, English, music, philosophy, religion and theater. Although the college requires students of every major to take at least one humanities class, it is the types of majors themselves that count for the ranking.

The school has a large draw on students interested in the sciences due to being one of only a few Division III institutions with a gross anatomy laboratory which allows students to perform on full-body cadavers. The college also draws students in with its internationally renowned Model United Nations team, its highly traveled Alma College Choir and its Cheer and Stunt team, which has won second or better in the last five years at the National Cheerleading Association College Nationals.

The difference between a liberal arts college and a small midwestern college is minimal to none. The school’s new ranking does not have as much of an impact as some may think it does. These campus organizations will continue to bring in new students. Alma College can and most likely will pursue the ideals of a liberal arts college no matter its title elsewhere.

To continue pursuing these ideals, the college can make an effort to update not only the Dow Science Center, but also Swanson Academic Center and specifically the roofs of the Heritage Center and Eddy Music Building. Over the four years I have been here, every year has been the same in the music and theater buildings on rainy days: ceiling tiles are set aside, and buckets are placed beneath where water otherwise drips onto the floor. Over the course of one summer though, Dow was renovated with new technology, and there are new and extravagant plans for renovation of the library.

Despite Alma College’s new ranking and title, classes will remain as they have been. There have been no public comments made from the college about the change in ranking.

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