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the EPOCH JOURNAL

VOLUME X ISSUE III

Spring 2017

Is Nuclear Energy Green Energy? by Grace Villmow

The Vindication of the Trump Voter by Morgan Anastasi

The True Cost of Culture by Cyrus Schiller

plus Water Works & The Forgot-

ten Story of Karen Dalton

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the EPOCH JOURNAL spring 2017

volume x, issue III

editor-in-chief Sawyer Neale layout editor Stuart Lombard editorial board Sawyer Neale Grace Villmow Stuart Lombard Ivan Syritsyn Faith Huynh contributors Morgan Anastasi Stuart Lombard Cyrus Schiller Bonnie Scott Ivan Syritsyn Grace Villmow © 2017, The Epoch Journal disclaimer The Epoch Journal is produced and distributed in annapolis, maryland. opinions expressed in articles or illustrations are not necessarily those of the editorial board or st. john’s college. advertising please contact smneale@sjc.com for information about advertisements mailing address st. john’s college 60 college ave. annapolis, md 21404 submissions are you interested in writing for the epoch journal? we are currently looking for editors, columnists, and general submissions — for more information, contact sawyer neale at smneale@sjc.edu.

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Editor’s Letter A

s I reflect on the past year that I have spent as Editor-in-Chief of The Epoch Journal, I am struck with a feeling of profound uneasiness about my future, the future of my country, and the future of the post-World War II global order. Nationalism, it appears, is now in vogue across the globe, and I fear for the future of the stabilizing institutions that have risen in the wake of World War II and the Cold War. In the United States, we have seen political polarization in extremes not seen since prior to the Civil War. Donald Trump, the least popular president in modern American history, took the White House on an electoral college victory despite losing the popular vote by over two million votes. Since his election, we have seen widespread abuse of executive privileges, such as in President Trump’s unequivocally racist and Islamophobic immigration bans; as well as disastrous failures, such as President Trump’s attempts to repeal and replace The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Since taking office, President Trump has repeatedly acted as a wilful participant in the destabilization of global peace. Trump has repeatedly attempted, and, thankfully, failed to secure funding for a wall on the border of Mexico, has repeatedly criticized NATO, and is, as of the writing of this letter, flip-flopping on whether he wants the United States to remain in NAFTA. In terms of diplomacy and warfare, his Presidency appears even more chaotic, with the United States carrying out a potentially disastrous bombing attack on a airbase run by the Syrian government. The Trump White House has also ignited an utterly nonsensical approach to North Korea, in which the United States has vacillated between starting a war with the North Korea, and, in accordance with an April 26th joint statement between Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, beginning negotiations with a country that the United States has historically refused to recognize as a legitimate country. Also, in case you missed it, many former aides to the President of the United States are under investigation for possible collusion with the Russian government in an election that the national intelligence community has already determined was plagued by widespread Russian interference. Further across the globe, it doesn’t look better. Brexit has utterly shaken the United Kingdom, which has just begun the formal withdrawal process from the European Union. Prime Minister Theresa May is currently spearheading efforts to hold a new general election this June, in an apparent attempt to further weaken the country’s Labour Party which has struggled under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. Marine Le Pen, the former President of National Front -- a far-right French political party with a sordid history of anti-semitism and racism -- has succeeded to the second round of voting in the French Presidential election. Le Pen, in addition to seeking to drastically limit immigration in the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis, has expressed a deep desire to hold a referendum on whether France, like the UK, should leave the United Kingdom. This decision, many experts suggest, could lead to the ultimate demise of the union which has secured relative peace in Europe since World War II. She will be running against Emmanuel Macron, the center-left leader of the third party En Marche! in an election that, ideologically speaking, eerily resembles the 2016 Presidential Election in the United States. Lastly, in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has carried out a horrific drug war in his country by promoting extrajudicial killings of suspected drug users and dealers. According to Reuters, over 9000 civilians have since been killed. However, despite the threat of looming global catastrophe, I am still heartened by the profound resistance that the Trump Administration has faced across the country. Trump has faced political resistance with judges resisting his unconstitutional executive orders, and has also faced resistance, even from his own party, by the abject failure of Trump’s hallmark American Health Care Act, which would have repealed the ACA. Outside SPRING 2017

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of the Capitol beltway, Trump has faced resistance in marches such as the Women’s March on Washington which show that regular citizens are willing to stand against a tyrannical government. Trump will also face resistance in future elections, as a record number of Democrats have already declared for candidacy for Congress in the 2018 mid-term elections. Trump, doubtlessly, will not succeed without a fight. As we look forward to the summer and the next academic year, I encourage all Johnnies who care about liberty, equality, peace, and honest government to stay involved, speak up, and make your voices heard. These are scary times, but, to quote the Lattimore translation of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, “Sing, sorrow, sorrow; but good win out in the end.”

Sincerely,

Sawyer Neale, Editor-in-Chief


CONTENTS 6. The True Cost of Culture by Cyrus Schiller (A’19)

8. The Vindication of the Trump Voter by Morgan Anastasi (A’18)

10. A Brief Defense of Free Speech by Matthew Manotti (A’18)

12. Water Works

by Stuart Lombard (A’19)

15. In Her Own Time by Bonnie Scott (A’17)

17. Is Nuclear Energy Green Energy? by Grace Villmow (A’20)

22. On The Future of American Tax Collection by Ivan Syritsyn (A’19)

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POLITICS

The True Cost of Culture BY CYRUS SCHILLER

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n his 2018 budget, which he unveiled in March, President Donald Trump proposed completely eliminating the $971 million currently allocated to the independent agencies of the United States Government that help provide artistic and cultural services: The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Institute of Museum and Library Services. If this were a particularly oppressive and burdensome cost fiscally, there might, in austere times, be some justification for this otherwise egregious affront to the arts. However, if fiscal responsibility is truly the President’s chief priority, he is barking up the wrong tree entirely. In the entire discretionary portion of the federal budget, estimated to amount to $1.1 trillion, the $971 million currently spent on these four agencies accounts for only approximately 0.0009% of the total, rounded upwards. The funding as a percentage of the total is so miniscule that eliminating it would do next to nothing to solve our nation’s budgetary woes, and the American taxpayer already pays the equivalent of a third of this amount to keep the President’s wife and son in Manhattan until his son finishes his school year. President Trump is evidently far more concerned about his son’s private school education than he is about the welfare of the American people at large. From a small-government conservative perspective, there is at least an ideological reason to target federal funding of the arts for elimination. However, Trump is no small-government conservative, or ideologue of any kind. If he had even a somewhat developed interest in reducing the Federal budget in a constructive manner, he might think twice about his massive proposed increases to the Department of De6

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fense, as well as the down payment for an utterly ineffectual and expensive border wall, instead of targeting foreign aid, environmental cleanup efforts, education, and the arts. Cutting the arts would, from a budgetary perspective, change practically nothing. However, this comparatively small cost of defunding the arts and culture would be a huge cost for everyday Americans. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds over 1,000 public radio stations across the country, is responsible for NPR and PBS, which both provide indispensable news and cultural programming. Ever since the Federal Communications Commission abolished the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, which required broadcasters to discuss issues of public concern with objectivity, NPR and PBS have remained, in a polarized nation, as perhaps the last champions of this standard of journalistic and factual integrity in public discourse. Unlike the billion dollar media corporations, which usually present issues of public concern with unyielding ideological biases, such as FOX for conservatives and CNN and MSNBC for liberals, PBS and NPR are refreshingly objective by comparison. In addition, both provide quality cultural programming on their affiliated radio stations. I grew up first watching Mister Rogers and Sesame Street, and then PBS documentaries as I got older. I also listened to classical music on WETA, a Washington area CPB affiliated station. I count myself lucky to have benefited from these cultural services. It would be nightmarish, to say the least, if stations broadcasting educational and cultural content had to rely on advertisements to turn a profit. Another agency targeted for elimination, the National Endowment for the Humanities, exists primarily to provide financial support and promote public access to the Humanities. This Endowment does not exist in


order to be profitable, but rather to preserve remnants of America’s cultural heritage that might otherwise be forgotten. For example, the United States Newspaper Project, which was sponsored by the NEH, has helped to preserve millions of American newspapers with microfilm technology, some dating back over a hundred years. The same is true of the Institute of Library and Museum Services, since the whole point of the public library is for people to have free access to books and learning. There are enough struggling libraries already, since most are funded by often impoverished local governments and municipalities. However, even though these agencies are not actually meant to be profitable, their combined fiscal footprint is nevertheless so insignificant that there would really be no reason even a deficit hawk would single them out for attention. In reality, I think that President Trump wants to eliminate the agencies as part of his crusade against perceived elitism. While elitism is a very real thing, the CPB, NEA, NEH, and IMLS are not exactly linchpins of liberal snobbery in society. In their roles as non-profit providers of cultural and educational services to the American Public, it might be easy to perceive them as being mere symbols of liberal values when in fact they are just tiny, independent federal agencies that accomplish a lot of good with what little money they have. Just because Donald Trump, who is well known for his indifference to reading and his distaste for reputable sources of information, has no personal reasons to support these agencies, he should, instead of abolishing them, think about the millions of Americans who listen to NPR’s Morning Edition on their morning commute, and whose kids enjoy free programming such as Sesame Street without being inundated with commercials. He should be thinking about how society benefits from improved education and access to culture instead of thinking about how to upset the liberal professors and media personalities. He should be thinking about us, the people, many of whom directly benefit from these services without realizing it, instead of thinking about how to score political points with conservatives in Congress in the hopes that they might sign on to his deluded policy proposals in exchange for reducing the size and scope of the Federal Government. The tiny amount that these agencies add to the government’s discretionary budget is negligible, but what they do does matter. These agencies, despite being small, contribute massively to the quality of life in the United States by focusing on education and cultural refinement, and would be a real shame if these areas were overlooked even more than they already are. ■ SPRING 2017

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OPINION

The Vindication of the Trump Voter BY MORGAN ANASTASI

T

here were 137 million reasons why voters in November voted the way they did as many different reasons as there were people who voted. Each individual weighed their concerns and hopes, and came to a conclusion as to which candidate would most vigorously avoid changes for the worse and attempt to bring about changes for the better, the two chief aims of political action. Every ballot cast must be viewed as a transaction having those two goals as its ultimate end. If a leader is faithful to the promises they made as a candidate and successfully enacts the desired changes while avoiding the undesired changes, the historian must assess that those voters have been vindicated, in that they got what they asked for. It is a quote frequently attributed to 20th century social critic H.L. Mencken that “democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.” Note that “vindication” in this sense is free from any of it’s usual moral connotations - it is not our place to judge whether these actions are good or bad, nor whether they would lead to a happier or more just society. The vindication of a vote consists entirely and exclusively in the level of correspondence between what was promised and what resulted. If a candidate promises tyranny, is elected, and delivers tyranny, the impartial historian and analyst must set aside value-judgments in the recognition that the will of the sovereign electorate was faithfully executed. Any supporters of the eventually-victorious Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, believed that he would 8

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not only avoid what they saw as undesirable changes, but also would enact a bold agenda to strengthen and reinvigorate what they saw as a civilization in decline. We are now approaching the 100-day mark of the Donald Trump presidency, and so can begin to evaluate whether those voters have actually received what they voted for. Many, but not all, of Trump’s supporters were so-called “single-issue” voters, or voters who feel so passionately about a certain issue that it determines their vote. Many of the more traditional conservatives and Republicans who supported Trump in November did so only on the basis of the vacant Supreme Court seat formerly occupied by the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, and voted for Trump on the condition that he would nominate a strong conservative to replace Scalia. On this issue, their vote has been completely vindicated: they received exactly what they asked for in the form of Neil Gorsuch, a highly qualified judge who was confirmed unanimously to the Court of Appeals. The nomination and confirmation of Associate Justice Gorsuch has completely vindicated the votes of the considerable number of Trump voters who supported him based solely on the Supreme Court. Many other single-issue voters were opponents of abortion - individuals whose opposition to abortion was decisive. Again, it is not the place of the impartial analyst to determine whether the will of the electorate is right or wrong, only whether it is


being faithfully executed. The anti-abortion portion of his base is already seeing progress since Donald Trump has taken action to allow states to defund clinics which perform abortions. In addition, Trump has reinstated the “Mexico City policy” which bars international non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortion from receiving U.S. governmental funding. There is surely more work to be done on this controversial issue, but the rapid progress in such a short amount of time must be reassuring to singleissue abortion voters that their desires are being heard. A large proportion of Trump’s voters were motivated by economic anxiety, which is a sense that the jobs are moving overseas due to unpopular freetrade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). To this end, Trump has already begun talks with Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau to consider modifications to NAFTA. Trump has also successfully killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a NAFTA-style free trade agreement which many Trump voters saw as a job-killer. The markets have also taken notice: both the NASDAQ and the DOW saw huge spikes immediately after November 8th. In addition, the economy added 298,000 private-sector jobs in February and 268,000 private-sector jobs in March. Trump has also met personally with CEOs to convince them to invest in American workers and jobs. A personal meeting with the CEO of Carrier led to 1,150 American jobs being saved. Another meeting with the CEO of Intel led to a $7 billion investment by the company in a factory in Arizona which is expected to generate 10,000 jobs. A meeting with the CEO of Softbank resulted in a $50 billion commitment to an effort to create a stunning 50,000 American jobs. It is still quite early, but we can see that the large portion of Trump’s supporters whose votes were rooted in economic anxiety have had their votes vindicated by the early economic successes of the Trump presidency. Another large single-issue for voters is the concern over large government and a desire for a smaller federal governing body.These voters desired the removal of what they considered to be excessive regulations and to “drain the swamp” of the corrupt influence of powerful lobbying interests in Washington. Already, Donald Trump has issued a landmark executive action which bans all executive-branch officials from lobbying activities for five years after they leave office, and from lobbying on behalf of foreign governments eternally. President Trump has also begun to shrink what many supporters consider to be a suffocating regulatory environment by ordering that two old regulations be annihilated for every new regu-

lation that is created, as well as by rolling-back many Obama-era regulations. Trump has taken further steps to shrink the size of the federal government by ordering a hiring freeze which prevents the filling of vacant federal jobs as well as halting the creation of new positions. This group of voters - those who desired a more efficient, trim, and clean federal government - have already had their voices heard by the Trump administration. Many Donald Trump voters fall into one of the above categories and many do not, as there were as many reasons for casting a certain ballot as there were ballots cast. There were 62 million ballots cast for Trump which represented 62 million unique (and often mutually-incompatible) worldviews. We must be extremely cautious not to reduce an individual, with all of the complexities, flaws, and contradictions that being an individual entails, to which bubble next to which name they filled in on a single November afternoon. In some ways, we are all Democrats and we are all Republicans. Even the staunchest conservative hopes for change for the better and even the most radical progressive hopes to avoid changes for the worse. In the case of many of the voters for Donald Trump, we can see that their decision has already, at this early stage, been vindicated. ■

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OPINION

A Brief Defense of Free Speech BY MATTHEW MANOTTI

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ree speech is an essential part of American society because it is the basis on which any dialogue can occur. Dialogue, as any Johnnie knows, is not merely the grounds upon which democracy functions but is especially the foundation for any sort of intellectual activity. To quote Jordan Peterson,“[It] is the right and maybe the obligation to conduct discourse in a manner that is aimed at addressing and solving serious problems.” The philosopher is dragged from the cave and into the light of the Good by means of dialogue. Just as Socrates enlightened Athens by means of peaceful conversation which questioned the fundamentals of his polis, we too engage in dialogue so that we may encounter ideas which question the foundation of our worldviews. Only through this painful encounter can we gain any sort of genuine wisdom. After all, the philosopher must be dragged from the cave. The process hardly sounds enjoyable. As such, the purpose of free speech is dialogue. Any action that prevents dialogue prevents free speech. This activity can be anything from the protesting of a speaker such that the speaker is unable to give his speech to the prevention of such a protest such that dissenting voices cannot be heard. While I do not think that St. John’s College is in danger of either extreme, the former is becoming increasingly common at other colleges throughout the nation. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, in 2016 alone there were 42 incidents in which the 10

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speakers were disinvited from the colleges, compared to only 21 incidents in 2015. These incidents do not merely include disinviting firebrand speakers such as Milo Yiannopoulos, but also genuine intellectuals such as Charles Murray or Jordan Peterson. This is not particularly surprising. According to a recent Pew survey, 40% of millennials support censoring offensive statements about minorities -- a marked increase compared to the 27% of Gen X who support the same thing. While I cannot persuade anyone from their given political positions by means of a column (nor do I mean to), I do wish to make the point that the sort of open dialogue we promote at St. John’s College is also the foundation of any sort of peaceful political existence. If one person controls the speech of another person, the only act of rebellion can be a violent act. If we are incapable of listening to criticisms of our ideas, we will find that the criticisms increasingly come in the form of the fist rather than words. After all, there are two ways to solve a problem: discourse or fighting. Free speech therefore makes a peaceful existence possible because it is the best means to avoid physical conflict. If the trend against free speech continues, not only will the nation’s colleges become the echochambers of sophists, but the nation will divide itself by means of violence. The consequences for not standing up in favor of free speech -- especially speech that you disagree with -- are significantly worse than the conse-


quences of taking a stand and saying what you believe to be true, even if it means facing serious criticism. To not stand for something that is right for fear of criticism is to submit to a rule by a master whom we regard as not caring for what is right or just. This hardly fitting for a free society. We must be courageous enough to say whatever we regard as being true, and be willing to change our minds under the influence of a stronger argument. If we do not do this, any violence that occurs in the nation which could have been solved by dialogue will be, in part, our fault. We ought to defend freedom of speech for the same reason that Tocqueville defended freedom of the press: “...from consideration of the evils it prevents than for the good things that it does.” (Part II, Ch. 3) ■

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ENVIRONMENT

Water Works Cloud Seeding in the Age of Drought BY STUART LOMBARD

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n February of 2009, a portion of Northern China was experiencing their longest drought in 38 years. After four months, it finally snowed so hard that 12 major roads around Beijing were closed. The snow happened to be, to a certain extent, artificial. Over the course of three days, over 300 sticks of silver iodide (I-Ag) were fired into the clouds to cause them to quickly produce more ice crystals and promote increased precipitation. It is unknown if the silver iodide actually caused the snow, or if it merely caused heavier snow. When California Governor Edmund Brown declared a state of emergency on January 17, 2014, it was a call for all Californians to conserve as much water as possible. On the day of the signing he said: ‘We can’t make it rain, but we can be better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas.’ And the drought continued to worsen throughout the 2014 and 2015. In March of 2016, rain arrived in California and when scientists saw the clouds, they decided to shoot silver iodide into them. While the rain would have still fallen, it is estimated that the use of silver iodide caused there to be about a 15% increase in the amount of precipitation. In the immediate aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, clouds of radioactive fallout were moving quickly towards some of Russia’s biggest cities in12

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cluding the capital: Moscow. With the lives of millions at risk from high exposure to radiation, the Russian government, in order to protect their citizens, seeded the clouds of fallout with silver iodide, and caused the fallout to never reach the capital. In the process, approximately 4000sq/mi of Belarus was contaminated with the radioactive fallout instead. In these events, the technique used is called cloud seeding. Developed in the 1940’s, the initial theory can be credited to Vincent Schaefer who figured out how to stimulate the growth of ice crystals using a curious new contraption that evolved into the modern freezer. He discovered that when he put dry ice into the cold box, ice crystals formed within the fog. He later became the first person, in conjunction with his boss Dr Irving Langmuir, to ‘seed’ a cloud. By flying over a four-mile long cloud and dispensing dry ice over it, he was able to make the cloud produce snow as a result. The discovery of silver iodide was made by the junior team member: Dr Bernard Vonnegut, brother of author Kurt Vonnegut and in his first year working at GE. He discovered that silver iodide best mimicked the atomic structure of ice crystals, and by creating a smoke of silver iodide, he was able to cause the super-cooled water particles to quickly form ice particles by linking to the silver iodide. Silver iodide turned out to be very effective at seeding clouds and


remains to be the most popular method. While the seeding of clouds has been demonstrated many times, scientists are still uncertain to how much it works. In California, the use of silver iodide to seed the clouds was estimated to have produced a 15% increase in precipitation, but there are also accounts of cloud seeding failing to reduce the amount of precipitation that fell on important events, and when precipitation does occur, it is oftentimes difficult to discern whether the precipitation would have still occurred, or if it was as a result of cloud seeding. The first two instances of cloud seeding discussed were both as means of ending droughts, and that is still one of the main uses of cloud seeding today, the other being to keep rain away from big events such as Summits or the Olympics. Drought is an increasing problem, and as the global temperature rises, we are going to be experiencing more droughts and longer droughts. There are three kinds of droughts: meteorological, hydrological, and agricultural. The first refers to a drought brought on by lack of precipitation; the second is when we start to lose soil moisture and groundwater; and the third is when our crops cannot get enough water to survive. The first often leads to the second, and the second to the third. What we have been seeing in California lately is that when precipitation fails to fall in adequate supplies, the ground dries, and the crops suffer. But farmers need to keep their crops alive or else they will not make money, so they turn to extracting water from deep underground. And as the drought has continued, and Californian farmers continue to plant thirsty crops, they are never satisfied with the amount of water. Currently, they are in danger of depleting their underground water reserves, but they just keep drilling. The consequences of this is that in the process of extracting this water, they are also destabilising the earth, and the area surrounding wells has been found to be sinking, causing some roads to crack. So, if California never seems to have enough water, and they will eventually run out of the deep reserves, why not use cloud seeding? With the rise in temperatures, the melting of the polar ice caps, and rise in sea levels, we will be seeing less snow, and more frequent rain. The increased temperatures will cause the water cycle to speed up, which means that while rain will be more frequent, it will also be evaporating faster. The problem with this is that it does not always rain in the same place, which is how we get meteorological droughts: too much time in between rainfall. And if we add that to the increased evaporation of water which is a side-effect of increased

temperatures, then agricultural droughts will become more prevalent. Besides being terrible in and of itself, agricultural droughts have the greatest negative impact upon the economy. California produces approximately twothirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts: among these are almonds, which in 2015 garnered 5.33 billion dollars in revenue, second only to milk and cream. Almonds are delicious, healthy, and they have been massively growing in popularity in the past few years. The negative aspect of almonds is that they need a lot of water to grow. The popularity of almonds has driven farmers to prioritise their growth over less popular, but more water efficient, leafy greens. And this brings us back to the aquifer depletion, ground sinking, and especially drought. The lack of sufficient amounts of precipitation has not stopped the farmers from growing particularly thirsty crops, such as almonds, that will make them more money. And that great motivator has caused them to go to extraordinarily damaging lengths to get more water. Aquifers can take many years, even decades, to replenish. But that is only if they are given the time to replenish. California’s aquifers will be fully drained, and they will not be given the time they need in order to be replenished. Additionally, the sinking of earth around wells in California means that the depleted reserves of freshwater are collapsing on themselves, making it difficult to replenish properly without becoming contaminated by toxins that may be getting dislodged. At some point in the relatively near future, farmers are going to realise what they have done, that there are no more rich reserves of freshwater. At that point, they will realise that their main source of water will be at the mercy of clouds, which may not end up giving enough precipitation to Californian crops to keep them alive. It does not take a visionary to see that when there is a dearth of water, and too much demand for almonds, that the price will increase dramatically as almond trees die from lack of proper nutrition. With price increases, almonds and other nuts and fruits will become just short of luxury commodities. Farmers will then realise that their business is not sustainable, and that drought conditions are far from ideal for their crops. With the unpredictability of weather, that leaves a great solution if we want to keep munching on dark chocolate covered almonds: cloud seeding, a way of ensuring that farmers are getting the water they need to sustain their crops. But what happens when California starts using their considerable wealth to control the weather to act for their advantage? Who will be confronted with a SPRING 2017

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lack of rainfall because California is causing it to fall over their crops? It will turn into a cycle of drought, and those who live in rural, non-farming communities will likely feel the brunt of the super-droughts that are too close for comfort. This is a question for ethics, but it will likely be answered by the economy. The economy likes almonds because they can produce a lot of revenue. But the ethical dilemma will be the one that sparks the greatest conflict. Should one state be allowed to use cloud seeding if it means that another state is deprived of the rain that they would have gotten otherwise? We have already seen in Maharastra, India’s wealthiest state and second wealthiest sub-state worldwide, the large-scale use of cloud seeding to save their agriculture sector from suffering. Over half of the state is dominated by agriculture which produces rice, cotton, and sugarcane among other fruits and vegetables. The state’s wealth means that they have been able to develop an efficient method of cloud seeding, with a central tower scanning nearby clouds to assess their potential for precipitation before calling planes to seed the most viable clouds. It is unknown how much of an impact Maharastra’s cloud seeding efforts have had on neighbouring states, but it has definitely made a difference in abating the drought that plagued the region in 2015 and 2016. But while Maharastra was fortunate enough to get China’s help in the art of cloud seeding, poorer states will undoubtedly have more trouble finding the money to spend on expensive cloud seeding operations. Conflict will occur when climate change causes there to be more frequent, and longer, droughts. While we need to be doing our best to limit the effects of climate change, the new US administration seems to have no interest in acknowledging this need. So the best we can do is to reduce our consumption of water intensive crops such as almonds, and other nuts. They may be tasty, but our consumption of them only sends positivity back to farmers who are just trying to do what will make them the most money. That is reasonable, but as long as this trend continues, California and other regions producing crops that require high volumes of water will continue to drain water from every possible source to continue to produce the economically successful crops. If we are to avoid future water wars, then we should be making our water use more efficient so that the effects of the inevitable droughts are lessened. Cloud seeding should be our last resort, but unless we change our water usage, then it may be our only option, and only a matter of time before someone feels that they are being disadvantaged by someone else’s amount of rainfall. ■ 14

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CULTURE

In Her Own Time The Forgotten Story of Karen Dalton BY BONNIE SCOTT

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n most pictures I’ve been able to find of Karen Dalton—after many years of searching—she is looking away from the camera, her eyes distant and averted. Even in the most soulful pictures where she’s singing, her mouth wide and agape in a kind of open-crooked smile, there’s a deep, unmistakable sadness about her; it’s only in Karen’s voice that I can hear a hopefulness her eyes never seemed to betray. In one of my favorite pictures (the album cover for “1966”) she’s standing outside holding a guitar, a cigarette hanging from her mouth. Karen Dalton was a beautiful woman, though perhaps unconventionally. In one of the few remaining video recordings of Karen, she sings on her front porch in Denver, Colorado, her long and wild black hair waving freely in the wind, her mouth open, revealing two missing front teeth (which she reportedly lost after being hit by a boyfriend). Like a harrowed bird, she leans over her guitar, swaying gently and smiling. Dalton appears equally sensual and rough, lovely and world-weary. Bob Dylan once described her as “sultry”. The two were friends and both part of the Greenwich Village scene in the 60’s. They played a number of shows together in New York in which Dylan played harmonica while Dalton played 12-string guitar and sang. Dylan said that Dalton was his favorite singer in the scene at the time, though she never gained much commercial success. Of all the singers and songwrit-

ers of that era, Dalton was described by many as the most “authentically folk” among them. She was raised in rural Oklahoma and moved to New York at 19. Though very young, Dalton had already been married and divorced twice and had two children. The youngest, Johnny Lee Murray, was born when she was just 15 years old and her second child, Abralyn Baird, was born when she was 17 to a different father. Fearful of losing custody of Abralyn as she had with Johnny Lee, Dalton fled to New York where her music career began. Knowing Dalton’s history, it’s easier to make sense of her voice, which reveals in its strange cadences an uncanny jadedness, especially given her age. Dalton was an intimate musician who never became comfortable with recording. In fact, she was tricked by a producer friend, Nik Venet, into recording her debut album It’s So Hard to Tell Who’s Going to Love You the Best (1969), who told her that he wanted the recordings for his personal collection. When her second studio album, In My Own Time (1971), was released, Dalton was only 34. The album perfectly encapsulates the incredible emotional range of her voice, ranging from Dalton’s re-imagining of the well-known pop song “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” (offering a bluesy twist) to resurrecting an entirely unknown Appalachian spiritual entitled “Katie Cruel.” Karen Dalton was not a songwriter herself but, rather, a master-interpreter of others’ works. Each song DalSPRING 2017

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ton covered was translated into a language entirely her own, full of its own sorrows and ecstasies; with a gentle alto croon, she could transform a simple folk song into a personal ballad. Comparing Dalton’s covers with their original form is like witnessing a work of alchemy. This is perhaps most stunningly apparent in her cover of Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe” which has been widely covered in the pop world, including by The Carpenters and Rod Stewart. Dalton’s version, in all its masterful subtlety, makes the rest look shamefully gaudy. Her version is only 2 and a half minutes long; on her 12-string guitar, Dalton plucks the simple melody, singing in a quick and methodical pace the heart-wrenching words: “If I listen long enough to you/ I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true/ knowing that you lied straight faced while I cried/ still I look to find a reason to believe.” Under her care, Hardin’s lyrics—powerful in their own right—melt into Dalton’s voice, melding into a single, sorrowful cry, compelling in its honesty. The simple delivery helps to reveal Dalton’s raw talent. The message is perhaps a simple one: “I’ve been through this shit before.” And she certainly had. Dalton’s third husband Richard Tucker admitted to having a tumultuous relationship in which they were abusive to one another. To worsen things, Dalton struggled intensely with drug addiction and alcoholism her entire life, dying at only 55. In recent years, friends of Dalton’s were able to find old recordings they had taken of her which have since been released, nearly doubling the corpus of Dalton’s known and recorded works. Though the quality of the recordings varies, there is an intimacy to the tapes that is undeniable and moving. Of the record-

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ings, Tucker said: “none of this stuff was ever meant to be put out… they’re just things that were captured in the moment, for personal mementos or maybe to help one of us remember parts of the songs. Now they’re just these ghosts come back to haunt us all.” Tucker is right; the tapes themselves, though warm and intimate, have an unearthly quality about them. This is especially present in the old Appalachian spirituals Dalton sings such as “Everytime I Think of Freedom”; it is as if Dalton is channeling a spirit which is beyond herself and speaks for a people rather than to the personal. It was this quality which first drew me to Dalton: her ability to allow music to possess and speak through her. In Dalton’s voice, I saw a glimpse of what I feel all music must be reaching towards in some humble way: an expression of humanity in its rawest form. Dalton’s songs are somehow all at once full of her and transcendent. It is tragic that Dalton never received the acknowledgment during her life that her talent deserved and yet, I can’t help but feel that she did it right, whatever that means for a musician. By all accounts, she was constantly singing, even if it was sometimes only to the animals surrounding her lonely little cabin in Colorado. She lived with music and let it inhabit and move her, in her own time. ■


ENVIRONMENT

Is Nuclear Energy Green Energy? BY GRACE VILLMOW

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echnically, no, nuclear energy is not “green”, or renewable, energy. It is, however, clean energy. Ideally, we would operate entirely on renewable energy sources, but our current situation is not ideal and nuclear energy is scary. That being said, let’s talk about it. First, some background: we’re in trouble. Anthropogenic climate change is happening. Increased greenhouse gas production combined with deforestation causes global temperatures to rise. Since we first started data gathering in 1880, global temperatures have risen from 15 to 16 degrees Celsius While still within Earth’s acceptable temperature range, as global-warming skeptics lovingly remind us, average temperatures will soon exceed a safe range.. At 17 degrees, we will see food supply disruptions and mass animal extinctions. Now, while a lot of this is common knowledge, global leaders continue to disagree on what our solution should be. With a national debt of almost $19 trillion, many Americans think we have bigger fish to fry than climate change. Besides, carbon regulations are an attack on businesses and a drag on our economy, which will slow down the rate at which we develop environmentally-beneficial technology. And even if the United States does get its act together, there are over forty third-world countries that are going to use the cheapest resources possible,coal and oil, to in-

dustrialize.. What are we supposed to do with these countries? Force them to use technology that even we won’t bother paying for? Push them back into the economic dark ages? Take away their outdated cars and trains until they start using technology that they don’t have access to? Bulldoze their slums so we can make way for a legitimate trash collection system? Who are we to deny other countries their Industrial Revolution? Look at the facts: if the richest country in the world isn’t willing to shell out for renewable technology for the sake of the future, what makes anyone think that we can make other countries use it when coal and oil are literally right beneath the ground they stand on? An obvious fix is renewable energy. We have quite a few options: solar, wind, hydro, biomass, and geothermal. Solar, wind and hydro are ideal, and it is possible to get the entire planet running on them.. However, technology must advance in order for global reliance on these renewable resources, and time is of the essence.. In order to preserve our planet, we must become carbon neutral as quickly as possible. However, that’s going to cost a pretty penny, and we just don’t have that kind of cash to spare. Now, someone is going to say, “if we just decreased the military budget, then…” and they’re not wrong. There are a lot of things we could do if we decreased the military budget, but that isn’t going to happen. We must plan for the world we’re in, not some fantasy SPRING 2017

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where the United States doesn’t occupy over eighty different countries. We’ll get there, hopefully. But our environmental efforts shouldn’t hinge on money that we’re just never going to receive. Luckily, if we play our cards right, we won’t need the money because economics is on the side of renewable energy systems.

Non Renewable Energy Sources The coal industry is dying. It would be dying, even without Obama’s so-called “War on Coal”. Natural gas, renewable energy, and increased air-quality standards are forcing it off the market worldwide., The demand for coal is waning and governments that still depend on it, like China’s, can easily buy it from countries with leaders that don’t vilify them, which means we’ll have no one to sell to. The oil industry is trickier, but still dying. It’s still cheap, still efficient, most modes of transportation depend on it, and major oil tycoons play a large role in our governmental affairs. However, there are some new kids on the block. We have renewables, electric cars, and a younger generation that believes overwhelmingly that anthropogenic climate change is occurring and decreased use of oil will alleviate the issue. With Tesla’s Model 3 production set to begin in July of 2017, we will only see increased opportunities to decrease our oil usage in the coming years (although it should be noted that electric cars receive heavy subsidies from the government, which leads many to believe that they’re doing better than they actually are). So, we’re looking good. Renewable technologies continue to improve and industry has begun to phase out our main non-renewable energy sources. . Unfortunately, there’s a catch. The switch to carbonneutrality cannot occur fast enough with renewables alone.. In fact, even if we use renewables in conjunction with other forms of clean energy, it might still not happen fast enough to keep our climate’s integrity intact. Some even fear that we have already destroyed it beyond repair.

Renewable Energy If the entire world suddenly became carbon-neutral, we have enough greenhouse gases in our atmosphere that the earth will continue to warm until we hit about 16.5 degrees Celsius. After that, temperatures will either stagnate or decrease, depending on our carbon emissions from there. Now, carbon neutrality cannot happen for 18

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awhile. Most scientists predict that we’ll start to see major damage (food shortages, extinctions, increased floods, droughts and other severe weather occurrences and natural disasters) once we get to 17 degrees Celsius. The current numbers say we’re halfway there, or three-fourths of the way there if you count the time it takes for thermodynamics do their thing. Use of nuclear energy can help prevent the negative effects of climate change , but there’s a lot of opposition from environmentalists and climate-change-deniers alike. To ask why we should bother with nuclear energy at all when our ultimate goal is a 100% renewable system is a perfectly valid question. To put it simply, the technology just isn’t there yet. Let’s look at solar. It’s great! It’s one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and it employs over 200,000 people. The price of solar panels has decreased dramatically over the past few years alone and are manufactured in thirteen different countries. However, it’s not without its drawbacks. First of all, of the thirteen countries in which panels are made, none of them are located in South America or Africa. This means that over sixty countries, majority third-world, must depend on foreign imports to access to solar energy. Creating these dependencies on other nations will not help these countries modernize and will only further hinder their struggling economies. They can start to manufacture their own, but not many of them have the necessary resources and few, if any of them, will be able to compete with the prices of countries that have been working on solar energy for years. Further, solar panels simply do not have the energy production efficiency to be competitive with other energy resources. Solar panels in themselves simply don’t produce that much energy; most of them operate at about 14-22% conversion into electricity Solar roadways have received a lot of buzz in recent years but they simply haven’t lived up to the hype. Most solar roadways will have about four hours of ideal energy production per day and transportation of that energy is ultimately costly. Not to mention, at $16 per square foot, the implementation of the panels themselves (which are delicate and still not developed enough to be driven on) will cost four times as much as traditional asphalt, which costs a mere $4 a square. I see solar energy as the future. However, we’re not there yet. So what about wind energy? This industry has also taken off in recent years. Since wind turbines are generally situated on farmland, they generally have a very minimally detrimental environmental impact, so although there are some concerns about the damage


they do to the environment, their effects are negligible. Turbines require a massive area to generate a significant amount of electricity. They’re also manufactured almost exclusively in East Asia, America, and Europe, so many of the countries that need them the most will have to rely on foreign economies for support, which they may not want to do if they are seeking economic independence. Similarly, hydropower is one of the most efficient forms of renewable energy, but is limited in implementation. Location is difficult, as only a few bodies of water can realistically implement hydropower. We can always build more dams, but this does significant damage to the environment and can eliminate water supplies or drastically increase prices to people living near the dams . Also, most viable hydroelectric dam locations have already been developed in industrialized countries. Hydropower is a great option for many developing countries because public works projects tend to provide temporary economic surges (à la Roosevelt), but locations, again, are limited. Biomass resources are just energy utilizing plant mass . Examples are burning trees for heat and cooking. This releases copious amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and is a good example of how renewable energy is not necessarily clean, and so, ultimately is its way out. Geothermal energy is taking advantage of the heat that seeps out of our earth.. It can’t even be used to produce electricity except in a very few places, and it would cost more money to convert it into electricity than could be made by selling it. In most other places, it can be used to heat and cool buildings, but that’s the extent of its immediate use. It just isn’t worth that much. Again, the goal is to exclusively rely on% on clean, renewable. Much of our technology simply isn’t ready to be launched at a global scale, and we just don’t have enough time to perfect it before we irrevocably damage our planet . The situation may look hopeless, but if we swallow our pride and are willing to compromise on our goal – at least until the technology improves – a solution presents itself: nuclear energy. It’s clean, efficient, cost-effective, and it will buy us time until we can figure out how to make our system 100% renewable. That said, most people don’t really know what it is, and so it scares them.

Why Nuclear Energy? What is nuclear energy? Nuclear energy is electricity derived from the processing of heat energy by splitting splitting atoms, usually uranium. The heat of atom splitting produces steam, which is used by a turbine to produce electricity. 19.8% of America’s energy comes from nuclear plants, compared to 33.8% from natural gas, 30.4% from coal, and 14.9% from all renewable sources combined (6.5% hydropower, 5.6% wind, 1.5% biomass, 0.9% solar, and 0.4% geothermal). This makes nuclear energy America’s largest source of clean energy. How does it work? The heat that we get from nuclear energy is produced through fission, which is when one atom splits into two. This process actually happens without human involvement every day, but when we use highly-enriched uranium in a controlled environment, we can harness that energy with turbine generators in a process identical to coal and natural gas electricity production. . The main difference is that nuclear energy does not produce greenhouse gases because the process does not create heat through combustion. We typically use Uranium-235 in both nuclear energy and bombs. It decays by throwing off alpha radiation, which is two neutrons and two protons bound together. We can split U-235 by “firing” a neutron into its nucleus, which de-stabilizes the atom and causes it to split. Depending on the split, the U-235 atom releases either two or three neutrons, which are captured by surrounding U-235 atoms and causes those to split, too, and continues in a chain reaction for all surrounding U-235 atoms The split itself releases massive amounts of heat and gamma radiation (radiation from high-energy photons). The two atoms that result from the fission later release beta radiation (radiation from superfast electrons), which also produces heat. When a singular U-235 atom decays, it releases about 200 million electron volts. This isn’t much by itself, but in the decay of a standard pound of U-235, we get the energy equivalent of about a million gallons of gasoline. Most reactors are designed with uranium in mind, but not necessarily. Thorium has many strong proponents, since it’s more common than uranium, can be used both as a fuel and as a way to create U-233 (another fissile form of uranium), and is located nearly everywhere in the world in abundance. However, obtaining thorium’s latent energy value cheaply is no easy task. Since it is fertile (can be converted into fissile material through neutron absorption) rather than SPRING 2017

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fissile, it is not directly usable in a reactor to generate heat. When a thorium atom absorbs a neutron, it transmutes to U-233, which then undergoes the same process that I described for U-235 (the difference between the two is their source: naturally occurring vs “bred” from thorium). The big question is what do we do with the waste? Nuclear waste is categorized into three levels: high, intermediate, and low. High level waste has been in a reactor for about three years and comprises about 3% of the volume of total nuclear waste. Despite its size, it contains 95% of the radioactive content of total nuclear waste. Intermediate waste includes used filters and various components within the reactor that need to be replaced and are 7% of the volume of total waste but just 4% radioactive content. Low-level waste is 90% of the volume and 1% of the radioactive content and is made up of lightly-contaminated items like tools and work clothing. Intermediate and low-level waste have already established repositories where contaminated items from other nuclear professions(medicine, space research, oil, gas, mining) are disposed. We can do two things with high-level waste: either we can cool it and use it as fuel after about 50 years of storage in pools behind meters of thick material like steel or concrete, or we can dispose it deep underground. The latter of the two is ideal because it leaves room for fewer accidents, but there is no underground facility for high-level waste currently operating. Numerous plans have been floated, but since waste needs to be stored for about 200,000 years, nuclear energy companies choose to secure their used fuel in pools and dry storage tanks. It is, in fact, not their responsibility to permanently store their waste; it is the government’s. Since nuclear energy is still relatively new, very few laws regarding it have actually been enacted on the federal level, so nuclear companies choose the cheaper option. Feasible plans for permanent, safe storage have been floated numerous times, but opposition from liberals and conservatives alike have prevented them from execution. But what about Fukushima and Chernobyl? Well, neither were built according to modern, US safety standards. Fukushima’s reactor only had a wall that prepared for a 5-meter tsunami and was toppled by a tsunami of 14 meters. Such an occurrence was not unprecedented, but the company wanted to cut costs, so they chose a bad location and used outdated regulation. The system actually worked just fine during the massive earthquake, but since they had not prepared for what they should have, the meltdown happened a mere 14 days before its scheduled shutdown. 20

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Chernobyl’s reactor design was also flawed in that it chose to use graphite instead of water to moderate the core’s reactivity, which caused it to become more reactive (produce more heat) and less predictable. The day before the incident, workers were performing a scheduled shutdown and decided to just disable all the plant equipment, including the automatic shutdown mechanisms, which violated safety standards. When the hot waste was lowered into the water to cool, a massive amount of steam was produced and caused power to surge to the reactor core, which was already overly reactive due to the graphite moderator, which caused the first of several explosions. If we build and maintain reactors in accordance to written safety standards, we can prevent these disasters from occurring. However, our biggest obstacle comes back to the biggest obstacle of the expansion of renewable energy sources: undeveloped countries. Can we trust them to build and operate nuclear energy facilities according to safety standards? They might not necessarily have the money to do so, and although nuclear energy is cheaper in the long-term, the initial building of the facility is costly . Companies cut corners globally, too, even in developed countries. In order for nuclear energy to be as safe as possible, three things need to happen: worldwide nuclear energy safety standards, regulation, and the construction of safe, waste-holding tanks. Is burying or storing the waste our only option? No! The GE Hitachi Advanced Recycling Center (ARC) uses liquid sodium to control the core reactor instead of water. Sodium-cooling allows the reactor to “burn” its leftover energy (the stuff that makes up nuclear waste). Not only can it burn its own fuel, but it can burn the spent fuel of other reactors, and it emits no greenhouse gases. It does generate its own waste, but this only has to be stored for a few hundred years in comparison to the couple hundred thousand that regular nuclear waste requires. Since used fuel from traditional reactors still has about 95% of its original potential energy, we can use the ARC to get more energy out of less fuel. Nuclear energy, like renewable energy, is still evolving. It has its drawbacks and ultimately does not represent our end goal, but I support nuclear energy because the stakes are too high not to. People are already dying from anthropogenic climate change and nuclear energy is the immediate solution we need to prevent permanent climate change. Perhaps my support for this controversial energy source is one of desperation; I’m willing to recognize that. Nuclear energy is dangerous, and no


amount of safety standards and technological development will ever make it completely safe. I just don’t think we’re in a position to be picky right now. We can’t just say, “We want clean energy! No, not that clean energy!” I don’t think that, as a planet, we have that luxury. So much damage has been done, and as more and more countries develop, the situation will only grow worse. Nuclear energy can help us here because it’s a lot of bang for our buck. It’s already been established that world powers will not spend their precious renewables until they become obviously cheaper and more than traditional energy sources. What I’m asking for here is a compromise. Earth is not doing well. The coal and oil lobby is waning, but still dangerous. Nuclear energy has proven itself cheaper and better than coal, oil, and natural gas. It isn’t renewable, but it’s clean and plentiful. Let’s continue to develop renewables, but let’s also be realistic. We have been presented with an option that will buy us the time we need for renewable technology to fully develop. Let’s use it. ■

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ECONOMICS

On the Future of American Tax Collection BY IVAN SYRITSYN

“Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” -Benjamin Franklin

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he Internal Revenue Service is an organization as mysterious as it is necessary. Without the $3.3 trillion in revenue that the IRS collected in 2015, the United States would come to a halt as different sectors such as that of energy, science, education, etc. would lose a great portion of their funding. However, the power and use of the IRS lies in more than collecting and distributing funds. With each return submitted to the IRS there is information of not only how much money was spent, but also where it came from and where it went. Since money is a necessity for people’s life in a capitalist economy, if a person has someone’s tax returns he would be able to tell all of that person’s major interactions in a society. Recently this power of the IRS has come into the forefront due to the controversy over Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns during his Presidential campaign, something that hasn’t been done since the custom began with Richard Nixon. Several commentators called for the Federal Government to release the returns without Trump’s permission citing security concerns over his poten22

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tial contacts with Vladimir Putin through Russian oligarchs. The government released nothing and now that Trump is President there is no chance that the actual returns (which should be at least several hundred pages) will ever come to light. However, this fiasco has some people asking whether the role of the IRS should be expanded in the future. I won’t deal with the implications of should or should not. The role of the IRS is inevitably going to be expanded. The simplest reason is that America isn’t wealthy enough to fund all its activities. We want a life that is free from care and drudgery, i.e. the leisurely life. Unfortunately, since this is a material world leisure can’t be achieved with empty hands. Food, healthcare, education, etc. are increasingly seen as basics for the standard of human living. Basics aren’t free. Also, people don’t want to have gotten by just scraping the barrel all their lives. No one wants to simply survive, but to thrive. This desire to thrive, expressed through continually seeking more privileges and opportunities, will be more of a dominant theme in American politics than it is now. It is to fulfill this desire that the IRS will become a more important, even if not a more public role. The increased role will also come as a reaction after years of cuts which have forced the resources of the IRS to an abysmal level. For example, the enforcement of liens has become more difficult


due to staff cuts. Whereas before it would take a year to begin the review process for a case that has raised some warning flags, it may presently take as long as two years. This might be financially beneficial to individuals, but is a bad policy for the state. This is only for enforcing a case once it has been noticed. Discovery of such cases through random reviews is expected to decrease as well after IRS resources are forced to even lower levels. Unfortunately, this will continue the argument that the IRS is inefficient and, more likely than not, lead to an even further decrease in funding. I am not sure how far this is going to continue to spiral. One thing is certain though: all systems, including the IRS, have a breaking point. Whether the reaction will occur before the breaking point or not awaits to be seen. Once the reaction occurs, the IRS will not only return to its regular operating levels but will show the effects of an antifragile system. As with the swing of a pendulum all the arguments which were used to cut down the IRS will become anathema. Their opposites, in varying degrees will be implemented in practice. It will be the prevalent opinion that a government branch which is responsible for gathering government revenue should have all unnecessary impediments removed to accomplish that goal. The IRS’s role in investigations and enforcement will become stronger either along the lines of HM Revenue and Customs, which deals not only with federal but gubernatorial and local tax issues, or on the more decentralized but just as pervasive French model. There are two paths due to the prevalent issue of the balance between federal and state jurisdictions. If the need for efficiency will not be recognized, then there will not be a greater increase in direct IRS authority. Instead the IRS will be forced to cooperate with the Department of Revenue of each state to cause an overall improvement of tax efficiency. What does this mean in practical terms for the American citizen? The increased centralization will result in stricter and increased regulations. Tax software and unprofessional preparers will phase out of existence as efforts are made to erase more than $21 billion worth of yearly tax refund fraud. This fraud is mostly the result of false information being put into thousands of small returns by tax filers and preparers. Legally it is difficult to determine on whom the burden of proof lies. Did the person provide false information or was it the preparer? To combat this the IRS has created the unique license of Enrolled Agent, somebody who can serve as the

representative for a filer and the IRS without being restricted by state jurisdiction or any other administrative level. The creation of an EA license serves a twofold purpose. One is that an EA will be able to correctly interpret the complex language of the tax code. The second is that an EA is held responsible for whatever they file. If an EA doesn’t file per what he could prove is true then he risks the revocation of his license, fines, and prison. These incentives force an EA to serve as a de facto agent of the IRS. It is obvious that the IRS will benefit greatly from ensuring that only properly licensed agents can file returns on behalf of the public. Considering all this, it would be good for everyone interested in their money to take this advice: enjoy what you have while you can, but prepare for the future. Find somebody knowledgeable who can ensure that you get the most out of what you earn and own. It is better to prepare now rather than having to deal with the hassle when the inevitable changes will come. When they will come is uncertain, but that they will is only logical. â–

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The Epoch Journal - Spring 2017  
The Epoch Journal - Spring 2017  
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