Letters to the Editor

Republican Scott Brown’s Policies Harmful for Clark University Students

Clark University students, whether or not you’re originally from Massachusetts, you
should be deeply concerned about the policies promoted by Republican Scott Brown, especially in the area of health care. Republican Scott Brown’s signature policy position on health care is working to repeal ObamaCare, and that will have a directly negative impact on you.

Prior to the passage of ObamaCare, young adults in Massachusetts could only stay on their parents’ health insurance plan for up to two years after losing tax-dependency. This means that those students graduating from college, going out on their own, and starting jobs at the age of 21 could only stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until the age of 23. After that, you’re on your own for coverage. If you don’t get health insurance through your employer and you don’t qualify for subsidies for low-income adults in Massachusetts, the average premium for you in Massachusetts would cost $437 per month (or over $5,200 per year).

Because of ObamaCare, which Republican Scott Brown wants to repeal, your parents can keep you on their family plan until you turn 26 years old, regardless of when you lose tax-dependency. Over 20,000 young adults in Massachusetts have already gained insurance coverage as a result of the new health care law. Nationwide, this provision has increased insurance coverage to 3.1 million young adults, including Republican Scott Brown’s own daughter! (It is noteworthy that Republican Scott Brown takes advantage of a policy for his own family that he wants to eliminate for you and your family.)

That’s not the only benefit Clark University students should be aware of. Starting in August 2012, all new private insurance plans must cover key preventive services with no co-pays or additional costs. This includes contraception and contraceptive counseling, including the Pill, Nuvaring, diaphragms, and IUDs. According to the Center for American Progress, prior to ObamaCare, a woman with insurance would pay $35 to $250 in out-of-pocket costs for the doctor’s visit, plus $15 to $80 per month ($180 to $960 per year) for the Pill. This means that, thanks to ObamaCare, she will save anywhere from $200 to over $1000 a year on her contraception alone. If Republican Scott Brown gets his way and ObamaCare is repealed, you lose these cost-free benefits.

Health care isn’t the only area in which the policies of Republican Scott Brown have been directly harmful to college students. On May 8 of this year, Republican Scott Brown voted against the Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2012. On that day, Brown voted to double your student loan interest rate from 3.4% to 6.8%. Fortunately, after this vote took place, leadership in the U.S. Senate achieved a compromise to keep the student loan interest rate at 3.4%, but that doesn’t change Republican Scott Brown’s record of voting to double your student loan interest rate.

Policy decisions made in Washington D.C. have a real and direct impact on us. The policies that Republican Scott Brown is advocating would have a decidedly harmful impact of Clark University students.

ProgressMass, ProgressMass.org

The Massachusetts senate race

Brown is not the centrist he tries to be

By Alex Rothfelder
Scarlet Staff

Upon first learning about the Brown-Warren race in Massachusetts back home in New Jersey, I figured Scott Brown was legitimately a moderate conservative in the midst of an intensely partisan Republican party. After all, to be elected in one of the bluest states in the country, home to Democratic political legends such as the Kennedys, John Kerry, and Michael Dukakis, he would have to have an incredibly moderate political ideology and still champion some typical Massachusetts Democratic causes. But after looking at his platform, watching the first two debates, and reading about the election, I have determined that he is not a bipartisan candidate. He is a plain, mainstream Republican who votes similarly to other Republican senators from across the country. His platform includes repealing Obamacare, continuing all of the Bush tax cuts, and blocking further economic stimulus, like all other congressional Republicans.

There are some exceptions, like his vote for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, his less pointed views on gay rights compared to the GOP norm, and his pro-choice stance on abortion. But Senator Brown does not actually stand up for women’s issues as he should. He voted against an equal pay law that seeks to get rid of the wage disparity of men to women. His excuse was that he did not want to apply additional regulations on businesses during a recession. This statement was a blatant political lie; Scott Brown probably still believes in traditional gender roles that create a stigma for working women, or is seeking to appeal to his conservative base that does. He also voted against the blunt amendment, which effectually seeks to prevent insurers or employers from being forced to apply contraceptives to women. He claims to be a supporter of women’s rights, and then contributes to the right-wing attempt to make it more difficult for women to obtain birth control. It seems fitting for most of the tea party hijacked Republicans to vote for this bill, but not for someone who embraces themselves as a bipartisan, independently minded candidate.

Scott Brown embraces an unbelievably harsh immigration policy as well. At the senatorial debate at UMass Lowell, the candidates were asked by a Dominican immigrant, now a U.S. citizen, whether they supported the Dream Act. Senator Brown responded by saying he opposed the Dream act on the basis that it was a form of “back door amnesty.”  Even more shockingly, Scott Brown voted against pursuing a Federal Supreme court case on SB1070, according to Masslive.com. This demonstrates that he supports the extreme law that essentially encourages racial profiling of undocumented immigrants, which seems to run counter to moderate ideology. Former Massachusetts Governor and Presidential Candidate Michael Dukakis also told the audience at Clark University that when Senator Brown and Kitty Dukakis were discussing immigration, Scott Brown basically said that a typical Mexican family who had illegally came across the border should “go back to Mexico” despite their established life in the United States and fading ties to their original country.

My intent is not to demonize Scott Brown or his Republican supporters, but merely to allow people to understand that the Senator is not moderate, if you look at his compliance to the extreme Republican platform on women’s rights and immigration, and acknowledge that Senator Scott Brown does not break with Republicans on any major economic issue. To truthfully appeal to independents who are looking for a rare bipartisan representative, Scott Brown should support Simpson-Bowles, or another specific deficit reduction proposal. He should also support the modest aide that President Obama’s immigration policy will provide, or legitimately be a pro-choice fighter for women’s issues, instead of touting some random congressional report stating that he is bipartisan.

Bipartisan politicians are greatly needed in the divisive political climate in Washington. Scott Brown should not just label himself as such to win over independent voters in Massachusetts, but should whole-heartedly separate himself from a Republican Party that is obstructing political progress.

Now hiring: clean jobs

Persuade Senator Scott Brown to promote the production tax credit for wind energy

By Chrissy Rojcewicz
Contributing Writer

It is no secret that we are experiencing climate change, and that the problem lies in the hands of human beings. We are reaching the peak in oil production, and the effects on our gas prices are evident.

Mass. senator Scott Brown. Photo courtesy of talkingpointsmemo.com

Environmental refugees are fleeing their homes, and climate change is affecting the lives of plants and animals everywhere. On top of all this destruction and fear is the jobs crisis facing the United States. Millions of people are worried and want to help, yet these grave problems still exist. Why is this happening? The problem is not the lack of awareness but the lack of involvement. After all, what can I, an undergrad at Clark University, do? We recycle our bottles and cans, but many of us do not feel this is enough. It seems there is nothing else for individuals to do.

Canadian artist and environmentalist Franke James’ visual essay was shown at Clark last Thursday, hosted by the Worcester Fair Share chapter of the Fair Share Alliance. The visual essay is titled “What Can One Person Do when 6.8 Billion are Frying the Planet?Continue reading

Walking the walk in the right direction

A closer (less cynical, biased and partisan) look at Mass. Senator Scott Brown

By Justin P. Griffin
Contributing Writer

Remember the part in Animal House where Dean Wormer excoriates one of the Delta House brothers offering the following advice: “Son, fat, dumb and stupid is no way to go through life!”

While Dean Wormer’s words may be a bit harsh, they do ring true to some extent. This is exactly the advice I would provide to The Metro West Young Democrats on their recent criticisms of Senator Scott Brown regarding his efforts on job creation.

In a letter to the editor, the group cites Senator Brown’s opposition to the Obama “jobs bills” as an indication that he is somehow against the “99%” and in favor of tax breaks for millionaires. Senator Brown’s votes against the Obama jobs bills are in no way an attempt to provide “tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans,” on the contrary they are an attempt to stimulate growth in the private sector, and to create and protect jobs for those who need them. The fact of the matter is President Obama’s Jobs Bill would have raised taxes on small business and created an even heavier burden on an already struggling economy. This would not only exacerbate our already fragile economy, but lead to further unemployment. It is simply cynical, biased, and overly partisan to suggest that Senator Brown’s efforts could be construed in such a way. Continue reading