Lecturer discusses taxes

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During his presentation on Monday, Sept. 21 titled Rage Against Taxes, political historian Mike O’Connor spoke to students, staff and community members about the rise and evolution of the distaste of taxation.

The first slide on Donald Trump set the tone for the evening’s lecture.

What started in the 1970’s as a response to the combination of a rise in inflation and low employment rates produced the idea of cutting taxes to save the government and the United States money.

Although the conservative politicians majorly backed this idea, there was a widespread movement to save money by cutting taxes.

After the crisis passed, supply-side economics (tax cutting,) continued to be a large part of the conservative agenda.

This is still seen today in many conservative ideologies.

“I usually focus on the liberal aspect of most things so talking about conservatism, especially economically, was different for me,” said sophomore Scarlet December.

Michael O’Connor discussed the ways the history of this economic revolution is still a part of today’s economy and political discussions.

“We [brought in] Michael O’Connor because there are lots of republicans running and so lots of discussion about their favorite topic, taxes,” said History Department Chair, Martha Rampton. “One of the things he pointed out was that Donald Trump doesn’t mind raising taxes on the rich.”

Even for students who may not be enthusiastic with economics, O’Connor made the subject interesting and easy to follow for listeners.

“It isn’t my natural subject or my natural interests but I felt he simplified it, made it interesting and I came away with things I didn’t know,” said Rampton. “I think that is pretty hard with an economic topic.”

December also agreed that she was able to walk away having learned more about the subject.

“There was a lot of things that I didn’t know,” said December. “Especially about how the switch happened, or how recently the switch happened for republicans to the way they view taxes now.”

Rage Against Taxes is a part of the Annual Richard Kniep Lecture in History speaker series.

The series brings different historians onto campus to speak about their specialty to help encourage students to expand their views and understanding of the world around them through history lessons.

“Richard Kniep was a wonderful provost and he was really devoted to the liberal arts and making sure the College of Arts and Sciences was well funded and went to the mat for us often,” said Rampton. “He retired and the history department established a speaker series named after him.”

Subjects for future lectures coming to Pacific may include Hawaiian history, Asian history, Islamic History or even environmentalism and global climate change.

In the meantime, O’Connor’s Rage Against Taxes lecture filled Taylor Auditorium

This left Pacific community members with a better understanding of the tax revolution and of Donald Trump’s campaign.


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