How Much Is A Degree Worth?

Even if you think that universities should be purely a place to learn and expand your mind, it is surely obvious that we have a system which does not encourage students to learn well.

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This post originally appeared on the Irish Times Student Hub

When you graduate from college, you feel like you should be qualified for something.

After all, you spent three to five years reading, cramming and studying. All of this knowledge should be useful, otherwise what was the point of learning it?

For better or worse, going to university has always been considered necessary in order to get a good job. The corollary of this is going to university should in fact lead to a job.

It used to be the case that having an undergraduate degree would make you instantly employable. However, now that the number of people with degrees has increased this no longer seems to be the case.

You leave university and realise that while education may be a prerequisite for certain jobs, it certainly doesn’t assist you in getting them. All those years of study haven’t prepared you for the ‘real world’.

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No Safe Harbour

What is ‘safe harbour’ and what does overturning it mean for our data?

The European Union has struck down ‘safe harbour’ rules which allowed the transfer of European data to the US

A decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union will lead to tougher privacy laws for EU citizens.

Previously, US companies such as Google and Facebook would transfer data received by their European headquarters in Ireland to data storage facilities in the US.

This data could be accessed and searched by the US Government through laws such as § 1881 FISA, which let them target data of “persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.”

However, under EU law data could only be sent to another country if they provided ‘adequate protection’ of this personal data.

Max Schrems, an Austrian law student, brought a case to the Irish High Court arguing that the transfer of data by Facebook to the US breached EU law.

Schrems took the case in the aftermath of the revelations by Edward Snowden that the US had engaged in mass collection of personal data of both US and foreign individuals.

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Why a 23 percent Flat Tax Leads to Inequality

An examination of the economics of flat taxes

RENUA propose introducing a single 23% tax on any income over €8,000, including welfare payments, and abolishing the Universal Social Charge (USC) and Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI).

 

Currently Ireland has two basic rates of income, 20% and 40%. Depending whether you are single, a lone parent or married the higher rate of tax kicks in between €33,800 and €42,800. Everything below this amount is still taxed at 20%.

 

Therefore you won’t take home less because you’ve moved into the higher bracket.

 

This is called a progressive tax system. The idea is that those who can afford to contribute more to the public system should pay more.

 

Proponents of the flat tax model argue that it is a fairer system to charge everyone the same rate, and that the progressive tax model essentially penalises those who work.

 

They also suggest that a simpler system of tax would free up resources to tackle those trading on the black market, such as under the table cash payments for services, which currently totals over €20 billion a year.

 

RENUA leader Lucinda Creighton also argues that the lower tax rate would mean that there would be 20% more in disposable income which people would reinvest back into the economy by increasing spending on goods and services.

 

However there are two specific issues with the idea of a flat tax. The first issue is the unequal impacts of having the same rate of tax regardless of earning.

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