Stay Woke: How The GOP Tax Bill Effects Millennials And What We Can Do About It.

The recently approved tax cuts plan splits the millennial worker into two categories; the rich millennials and the other 98%. If you are tired of THAT type of society there are things you can do about it.

Here is what we know so far about the tax plan and, here are some ideas we can do as a community to help each other grow and thrive despite the tax plan.

If you are a rich, successful millennial you stay golden!

The final plan is laced with all sorts of perks that could help wealthy millennial Americans in their twenties and thirties—especially if they are business owners. For the millennial entrepreneur who found success the new tax plan ensures you’ll reap more from lower corporate taxes. And not just big companies helmed by millennials, it will also be a support for small businesses.

Unfortunately less than 2% of millennials are self-employed (compared to around 8% of Generation X and boomers). Too, the successful millennial entrepreneurs we discuss above typically come from rich a family and don’t actually need the money, and the struggling millennial entrepreneurs who lack the financial safety net to maintain their business may not last long enough to reap the new tax benefits.  Sucks we know.

For the other 98%, you get debt!

Statistically, the median 24-to-34-year-old makes a little more than $40,000 a year. Under the new plan, the average millennial making that much money will pocket a 3% tax cut.

Unfortunately, state and local tax deductions, mortgage interest rate deductions, educator expense deductions, the tax free educational assistance from your employer and unreimbursed educational expense deductions are some of the many tax breaks that are now off the table thanks to the new tax plan. So that 3% you get back will actually be paid right back to the government, and then some.

And by the way, the bill is over 400 pages, Government representatives didn’t have much time to review the bill before voting so chances are high there will be more tax deduction cuts that will effect the 98%.

And now to address the elephant in the room.

The 1.5 trillion dollar debt.

1.5 trillion dollars cannot simply disappear from the budget. The loss will have to be made up for somewhere and somehow. And millennials as the largest living generation and soon to be the biggest working one will have to deal with it.

Basically, millennials just inherited $1.5 trillion in debt (school tuition debt not included).  The tax plan is estimated to add at least $1 trillion to the US deficit, the deficit by definition is the government expenses exceeding revenues, to pay for the tax cuts for wealthy businesses and individuals. This means there won’t be money to fund the infrastructure, education, healthcare or social welfare programs we actually need.

Photo by Faustin Tuyambaze

And the Republican line is that the wealthy 2% will find it in their hearts to re-invest their new tax breaks into the economy, and eventually jobs, to help stimulate the economy and ensure we pay off the debt. Unfortunately (yep, there’s that word again) this theory, trickle-down economics, has been disproven repeatedly. Even CEOs of major corporations admit that most tax cuts turn into executive salary bumps (paywall).

So, all that being said, we can get really down and really pissed off about this whole thing or we can get pro-active. These cuts will hit harder as time goes by – over the next 5-10 years, so here are some ideas to change the game on these fools.

Start more businesses.

I know what I said earlier, but do it, start your own business. It is a fact that small businesses are a critical component of and major contributor to the strength of local economies. Small businesses present new employment opportunities and small businesses are the building blocks of the United States’ largest corporations. And right now Millennials, who are the largest living generation block, are the least likely to have a registered small business.

Quiet as it is kept millennials often have a side hustle but they aren’t set up with the SBA which means you aren’t reaping the new tax benefits that will come from owning your own small business. So please go to the SBA and set up your small business and make that money – then create new jobs because the graduate pictured above clearly wants one!

Vote in 2018.

Yes, please mark your calendars to vote in the midterm elections scheduled for Tuesday, November 6, 2018. All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested. One of the reasons Doug Jones won the now historic Alabama election earlier this month was in part because of millennial voters. 23% of voters between 18-29 voted in the election with a heavy percentage preference towards Doug. These numbers are huge against historical voting data for this age bracket. Jones won against Moore by a 21,0000 vote count difference, that is cutting it close but it shows that EVERY VOTE COUNTS.

Register and Vote!

And more importantly we need to vote in the right people. We need to vote in those who represent us from every aspect of our lives, not from one view point.

Let’s vote in a diverse group of people who identify as genderless, LGBTQIA, woman, man, white, black, Asian, Latina, multi-ethic and beyond. We are all Americans. And we need diverse and fair representation in the government. Then things like healthcare for women or transgender rights won’t seem like a mystery.

Photo by Seyfettin Dincturk

A poll published Wednesday implies this is already a trending topic. 🙂

Go OUT and buy more, locally.

Chances are you pass 15 grocers or neighborhood service businesses on the way to work every day. So, I would like to suggest that you stop in and see what they’ve got. Buy something! Millennials spend roughly $26 Billion dollars annually but primarily through the web. Some of us shop in stores but mostly it’s convenient to just order in. shop-local-300x300And the big corporations are the ones getting our $26 Billion dollars.

And for those of you who do buy from people you know and trust, well, thanks to the loss of Net Neutrality big companies can legally start to influence your web service habits by inhibiting or blocking access to preferred sites and offering their products instead – high speed of course. Actually, they are counting on this.

And if you want to get really crazy – get involved, start a farmers market in your community with the local grocers and crafts shops and clothing boutiques so people get to know each other better! Do it with friends, it could be fun!

Be an exclusive shopper.

The goal here is to shop more local, ethical producers, and while it won’t change the tax cut % rates for corporations it will circulate the money in our neighborhoods and ultimately put more money back in our pockets. Too, what good is wearing the latest or driving the latest when we know now that it is hurting people and destroying the environment? Search the web, the products we buy are often times made in an unethical manner. As a global citizen it is untenable to me that corporations have demeaned humanity and are destroying the earth for dividend increases.  If we become exclusive shoppers we can feel good about what we purchase and we’ll know how it’s made.

I focus on shopping ethically because there are upward trends to create slave labor, engage in inhumane production practices, increase deforestation projects and environmental abuse, especially in developing countries, and it isn’t to maintain healthy revenues, its a necessity to increase shareholder dividends each quarter. This means that there is no foreseeable end to unethical business practices; we should expect more! And on the flip side, selfishly, it would actually encourage corporations to send jobs offshore for cheap labor – that means layoffs. Note: The new tax plan gives big companies huge tax breaks on foreign investments.

And unfortunately products by unethical means are everywhere – delivery food chains, fashion, automobiles- the majority of consumer products we use are being created to the detriment of our future. And too often the incentive many corporations have to be ethical now is only when unethical practices are made public. And that incentive to change is motivated by the need to keep customers, us! Again, we have the power. Remember, the future is now.

We need to rewrite and model what the future of business is by practicing spending small – basically practice limiting our shopping habits, and, practice developing ethical shopping habits. Think of it this way, it will help set you up for financial security to weather the long term effects of the new tax plan, you will shop more local and ethical producers, and it will give you a chance to save to start your own business and you can try new things – like cooking. haha

Look for ways to save money! (Photo by Jeff Sheldon)

If you happen to know great ethical businesses, drop us a comment in the section below!  We’d love to feature them in the magazine!

Resell, regift & repurpose.

Reclaim is a buzz word everyone is using today. We reclaim our time, we reclaim our bodies and we can reclaim our future from these tax cuts. The trending new idea is to resell, regift or repurpose! Our culture is built on seasonal shopping and not just holiday shopping – I’m talking about the weather, all four seasons – spring, summer, fall and winter. We are tempted to buy the same product in a different color because the weather changes. This is highly unsustainable and feeds the beast to create more products in an unethical way to increase dividends.

One of my FAVORITE art exhibitions on tour right now curated by Christian Boltanski, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Chiara Parisi and Roberta Tenconi is the “Take Me (I’m Yours)” installation currently in Italy. Artworks can be touched, they can also be moved around, modified, bought (without huge investments) or even taken for free! AND you can also contribute to the creation of the artworks by leaving something of yours.

Take Me (I’m Yours) exhibition on tour, currently in Italy. Photo by Lorenzo Palmieri

How amazing is that idea? It got me to thinking, what if instead of buying we repurpose? Or what if we made it a cool thing to ‘regift’!

Resell, Regift, Repurpose! (Photo by Annie Spratt)

Well we can do that, actually people are doing it, there are dedicated websites to regifting . And you can try it too, think about throwing a regifting party or before you throw out old things to buy new things see if you can repurpose or resell the item.

Grow in your community.

This goes back to engaging as much as possible in your community. There are cool, old traditions like block parties and there are popular new ones like community gardens. Brooklyn is thriving as a community and over the years the millennial driven population rose to fame thanks to their community roof garden projects. And not just in Brooklyn there are so many trending stories about people converting vacant lots into community gardens. One of my favorite stories is the urban city food forest project in Los Angeles by Ron Finley.

Tremont Garden, New York City (photo by Ken Sherman)

But if a large community garden sounds daunting, start small and try a community garden windowsill project in your neighborhood. It takes very little time per individual but as a community project it can have a huge impact! Remember, we just have to start somewhere.

Community Wall Garden (Photo by Daniel Funes Fuentes)

All of these ideas are meant to spark your own idea to help weather the tax cuts storm. So please let us know which projects you find most interesting, we would love to help! Or tell us your ideas in the comment section below!

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Nichelle Cole is the founder & editor-in-chief of The Fashion Plate magazine. A respected writer, stylist and influencer, she has been published in fashion magazines around the world.

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