Raising Taxes: Is It Really Necessary? Free Writing Sample

Introduction

Raising taxes is a rather controversial and contentious moment in solving financial problems in the country. Without any doubt, such measures are necessary to correct the issues gathered in the American economy. Nevertheless, there are multiple cases in world history when such procedures led to chronic and structural “distortions” that pose a significant threat to economic growth in the United States and social stability. To date, there are many alternative methods and means to establish a budget balance in order to cancel tax increases.

Arguments for not Raising Taxes

Indeed, tax increases are a vicious circle that does not lead to steady growth in budget revenues. Moreover, the US government’s proposed steps are not the product of far-sighted thinking but rather a “convulsive” reaction to circumstances without analyzing them and considering possible alternatives. Based on this assumption, this paper proposes several arguments in favor of why the state should not resort to tax increases.

First of all, the US government is recommended to focus on the availability of affordable federal funding. Due to this form of establishment and spending of funds, there is an exceptional opportunity to cover the costs of social policy, security, medicine, education, and other areas of budget classification. Using the article by Snow and Burke (2019) as an example, one should note that unbalanced, incorrect budget management and the adoption of temporary measures cause significant damage to both municipalities and notion’s citizens. Additionally, the state requires thinking about expanding the tax base (in particular, canceling all kinds of benefits and exemptions) or changing the tax structure and only then raising rates if necessary. Therefore, competent investment of resources and funds stimulates the growth and development of monetary income as a compensating instrument for continuously growing expenses.

Secondly, another and no less critical choice for solving the complex financial issues is temporary or long-term reductions in programs, labor force, and employees’ wages. Despite this theory, even in such cases, there are dilemmas. On the one hand, savings would help fill some economic gaps. On the other hand, the reduction of funding for educational, medical, and other vital programs is fraught with problems in the life of the whole society. In this case, Bifulco and Lewis (2020) are sure that there are many other alternative ways to balance the budget. Based on this provision, raising taxes is only an extreme case.

Moreover, due to unfriendly and unfavorable circumstances, developed countries and their residents may have a stable budget without raising personal income taxes. According to Auerbach et al. (2020), most taxpayers are faced with the need to put up with various types of limitations due to restrictive measures against COVID-19. In addition, not every nation’s citizens will be ready for new decisive steps by the governance in taxation growths. The unemployment rate is rising, many public sectors are suffering, and according to Republicans in Congress, tax increases are “unpopular” (Greenblatt, 2021). Due to the pandemic, the need for higher taxes will remain at the same level. However, for example, every time there will be needs in healthcare and labor, they will also cost much more – the impasse and the hopeless situation is manifested again in this position. Furthermore, according to the statistics, approximately 52% of US citizens (including taxpayers) are forced to monitor their money turnover carefully and increase savings (Statista Research Department, 2021). As a result of this fact, most likely, an increase in taxes will only be able to “cripple” people’s already shaky financial condition even more.

Statista Research Department
Fig. 1. Statista Research Department. (2021). Main financial goals of U.S. citizens 2020-2021. Statista. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, an increase in taxes from the number of individuals is not a compulsory measure, but only one of the options for solving the country’s financial problems. Today, there are many other alternative options for maintaining balance and stability in economic terms. Thus, one of the most effective ways is the introduction of federal funding, reducing some programs, positions, and income, as well as other similar options.

References

Auerbach, A. J., Gale, W., Lutz, B., & Sheiner, L. (2020). Effects of COVID-19 on federal, state, and local government budgets. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, pp. 229-278. Web.

Bifulco, R. & Lewis, M. (2020). The impacts of COVID-19 on the New York state budget: A preliminary assessment. Municipal Finance Journal: The State and Local Financing and Municipal Securities Advisor, 41(2/3), pp. 75-85. Web.

Greenblatt, A. (2021). State finances. CQ Researcher, 31(8), pp. 1-28. Web.

Snow, D. & Burke, B. (2019). The practice of state budgeting in Massachusetts: The long-term effects of tax limitations and structural imbalance. Municipal Finance Journal, 40(1/2), pp. 77-100. Web.

Statista Research Department. (2021). Main financial goals of U.S. citizens 2020-2021. Statista. Web.

Domestic Violence In The Military

Introduction

Until August 31st, the United States had been in a constant state of war for twenty years. Currently, there are nineteen million veterans and 1.1 million military members on active duty. Roughly twenty million citizens are most likely suffering from extreme post-traumatic stress disorder, self-medicating with alcohol, and abusing their partners and children. Domestic violence in the military is a national public health issue that is not being adequately dealt with by the government.

Background

There exists a dangerous triumvirate of trauma, alcohol abuse, and domestic violence. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by experiencing or witnessing an extremely distressing traumatic event (Mayo Clinic, 2018). Symptoms include and are not limited to nightmares, flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, and destructive behavior. Rates of PTSD in veterans are estimated to be as high as twenty to thirty percent. Half a million U.S. troops who have served in the past thirteen years have been diagnosed with PTSD (Reisman, 2016). Alcohol or drugs are often used as coping mechanisms to forget traumatic incidents or mask PTSD triggers. Over forty percent of veterans suffer from lifetime alcohol use disorder (Arias, 2016). Twenty-nine percent of active military personnel report binge drinking in the past month (Bloom et al., 2021). The opioid overdose rate of veterans has increased to twenty-one percent (Bohnert et al., 2019). Studies show that deployment weakens interpersonal relationships and increases the risk of domestic violence (Cesur & Sabia, 2016). Veterans are more likely to suffer from substance abuse, which has been linked to family maltreatment (Cesur & Sabia, 2016). PTSD, substance abuse, and domestic violence is a well-documented phenomenon that needs to become part of public policy.

Causes

There are many theories to explain why specifically servicemen are more prone to domestic violence. Domestic violence usually occurs if men use violence as a “mechanism to control” or as an inadvertent result of “verbal arguments combined with stress” (Cesur & Sabia, 2016, p. 209). The substantial occupational stress of military service may serve as a trigger (Cesur & Sabia, 2016). Another theory postulates that combat training and exposure may lead to the “normalization of violence…by completely breaking down the mind’s natural barriers to committing violent acts” (Cesur & Sabia, 2016, p. 210). Studies also show that military members possess distinct personality traits that are linked to the likelihood of abuse (Cesur & Sabia, 2016). The nature of military work and the psychological profile of individuals who volunteer to perform it predisposes them to domestic violence.

Conditions unique to military service have been identified as potential risk factors. Service members are frequently forced to relocate for assignments, separating individuals from support networks and leading to social isolation (Kamarck et al., 2019). Frequent moves may also result in the nonmilitary spouse’s inability to seek stable, long-term employment (Kamarck et al., 2019). Other pressures such as long hours, shift work, lack of sleep, unpredictable deployments may heighten stress and result in marital conflict (Kamarck et al., 2019). Lack of financial independence, social isolation, and occupational hazards of military service exacerbate the risk of domestic violence.

Data

With an occupation that centers on violence, it is unsurprising that it seeps into other spheres of life. Trevillion (2015) evaluated ten different studies of military personnel and found that 91% of service members have admitted to committing acts of verbal abuse, and 27% have admitted to committing physical abuse. From 2015 to 2019, the Defense Department recorded 42,000 incidents of domestic abuse in its population (Government Accountability Office, [GAO], 2021). 74% involved physical abuse, 22% were emotional abuse, 4% were sexual abuse, and less than 1% were neglect (GAO, 2021). None of these cases went to trial (O’Donnell et al., 2021). In 2019, there were twelve domestic abuse fatalities with four victims and two abusers previously known to the Central Registry, a database that tracks incidents of abuse (Department of Defense, 2019).

Intimate partner violence (IPV) can result in physical injury, mental health problems, substance abuse, or adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth and neonatal death (Kamarck et al., 2019). Forty-five to eighty-four percent of IPV victims suffer from PTSD (Graham-Bermann & Levendosky, 2001). At the extreme, abuse results in debilitating injuries or death. Children that grow up in homes experiencing IPV are at a higher risk for cognitive disorders, poor self-esteem, and problems with emotion regulation and interpersonal relationships (Aronson et al., 2017). Adults who witnessed IPV in childhood are also likely to become abusers themselves and thus perpetuate the cycle of violence (Kamarck et al., 2019). Given the extensive rates and serious consequences of domestic violence, ensuring the safety and health of military families becomes a public health problem.

Barriers

The data only tracks reported cases of domestic violence, and the actual figures are probably even worse. An estimated 25% of women suffer from domestic violence in the general population, but only between 2.5% and 15% report it (Gracia, 2004). Spouses and children of service members are even less likely to report it. The largest barrier to reporting abuse was financial since many military families depend on the service member as their only source of income (GAO, 2021). Furthermore, the decision-making process behind prosecuting abusers is viewed as untrustworthy. If a domestic violence claim is substantiated, it can lead to court-martial and discharge (Congressional Research Service, [CRS], 2019). However, the authority to act on the report or ignore it rests completely on the commanding officer. Victims were afraid their status as nonunit members and military outsiders might influence the commander’s reaction (Bonnes & Palmer, 2020). They might not be taken seriously if they filed a report, and no investigation would be pursued since it could damage the abuser’s career. 28 out of 68 survivors reported the abuse to an official but perceived no action was taken, and in some cases, were given a letter of reprimand or even ridiculed (GAO, 2021). Other barriers included fear of retaliation, lack of knowledge, and social isolation (GAO, 2021). Financial assistance and establishment of third-party organs to review domestic violence reports are necessary to aid victims.

Government services

Government countermeasures have been insufficient in proportion to the magnitude of the problem. The Family Advocacy Program (FAP) is a case review committee responsible for prevention, awareness, treatment, and rehabilitation services (Aronson et al., 2017). Firstly, FAP offers services only to people who have been married, cohabited with, or had children with the perpetrator (Bonnes & Palmer, 2020). Service members assaulted by long-term partners who have never lived together are ineligible for FAP (Bonnes & Palmer, 2020). Secondly, smaller FAP installations lack the full range of programs and their limited working hours are not accessible to spouses who have jobs or need childcare (CRS, 2019). Thirdly, the program has been criticized for not gathering sufficient evidence to prove its effectiveness and thus failing to increase public awareness and family engagement (Aronson et al., 2017). Twenty-two percent of victims (GAO, 2021) did not report abuse because they were unaware of the proper procedure. Finally, counseling and victim advocacy services provided by FAP were deemed unhelpful by victims in nearly fifty percent of cases (GAO, 2021). Services that would have been helpful but were unavailable to victims include financial assistance, emergency housing, legal services, and child-focused resources (GAO, 2021). The Family Advocacy Program needs to expand their range of services and available hours to truly answer the needs of domestic violence victims.

Moreover, the Department of Defense states that tax-funded financial protection is offered to families whose spouse was discharged for domestic abuse. However, it is very rare for officers to get convicted, and most victims do not qualify for this stipend. Lisa Colella, the head of a private nonprofit for survivors, stated that out of 700 people she has interviewed, only two qualified, and only one could show a record of payment (O’Donnell et al., 2021). Since financial insecurity and lack of shelter is the foremost barrier to reporting abuse, the government needs to reform the requirements for financial assistance.

Conclusion

In conclusion, domestic violence is a pervasive problem connected with PTSD, subsequent substance abuse, and occupational hazards that increase stress and result in marital conflict. The serious consequences and widespread nature of violence necessitate comprehensive government measures. The current structure for prevention and treatment is not adequately helping victims. The first steps in the right direction include expanding FAP’s range of services, providing financial assistance to victims, and reforming the chain of command. We hail veterans and soldiers as heroes, but we also have the responsibility of ensuring the safety and health of their families.

References

Arias, A. J., Fuehrlein, B. S., Kachadourian, L. K., Krystal, J. H., Mota, N., Pietrzak, R. H. , & Trevisan, L. A. (2016). The burden of alcohol use disorders in US military veterans: results from the national health and resilience in veterans study. Addiction, 111(10), 1786-1794.

Aronson, K. R., Perkins, D. F., Morgan, N. R., Cox, C. A., & Robichaux, R. (2018). Military family advocacy in the US Army: Program service outcomes and family participation. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27(1), 218-226.

Bloom, E.L., Beckman, R.L., Breslau, J., Collins, R.L., Engel, C.C., Meadows, S.O., … & Simmons, M.M. (2021). 2018 Department of Defense health related behaviors survey (HRBS).

Bohnert, A. S., Lin, L. A., McCarthy, J. F., Oliva, E. M., Peltzman, T., Trafton, J. A. (2019). Changing trends in opioid overdose deaths and prescription opioid receipt among veterans. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 57(1), 106-110.

Bonnes, S., & Palmer, J. H. (2020). The US Marine Corps’ response to intimate partner sexual violence: An analysis of the Family Advocacy Program and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program. Armed Forces & Society.

Carlson, B.E. (2000). Children exposed to intimate partner violence; Research findings and implications for intervention. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, (1) 4, 321-342.

Cesur, R., & Sabia, J. J. (2016). When war comes home: The effect of combat service on domestic violence. Review of Economics and Statistics, 98(2), 209-225.

Congressional Research Service. (2019). Military families and intimate partner violence: Background and issues for Congress

Department of Defense. (2019). Report on child abuse and neglect and domestic abuse in the military for fiscal year 2019.

Government Accountability Office. (2021). Domestic abuse: Actions needed to enhance DOD’s prevention, response, and oversight. (GAO Publication No. 21-289).

Gracia, E. (2004). Unreported cases of domestic violence against women: towards an epidemiology of social silence, tolerance, and inhibition. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 58(7), 536.

Graham-Bermann, S. A. & Levendosky, A. A. (2001). Parenting in battered women: The effects of domestic violence on women and their children. Journal of Family Violence, 16(2), 171-192.

Kamarck, K. N., Ott, A., & Sacco, L. N. (2019). Military families and intimate partner violence: Background and issues for Congress (CRS Report No. R46097).

Mayo Clinic. (2018). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

O’Donnell, N., Steve, K., Tepper, L., Verdugo, A., Yilek, C. (2021). The Pentagon has spent $1 billion on a program for domestic abuse victims since 2015. Survivors say they couldn’t get help. CBS News.

Reisman, M. (2016). PTSD treatment for veterans: What’s working, what’s new, and what’s next. Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 41(10), 623.

Trevillion, K., Willimson, E., Thandi, G., Borschmann, R., Oram, S., & Howard, L. M. (2015). A systematic review of mental disorders and perpetration of domestic violence among military populations. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 50(9), 1329-1346.

The Rules Of St. Columba: Exploring Irish Catholicism

Irish Catholic Church history is filled with notable and authoritative figures that defined the further development of Christianity and contributed to the evolution of the theological discourse, as well as the spreading of Jesus Christ’s philosophy. St. Columba, or St. Columbanus, was one of the people that predetermined the further course of Christian faith evolution, contributing extensively to the promotion of Christlikeness and the related Christian values (Robinson 3). However, when considering the ways in which St. Columba enhanced the development of Christianity to the greatest extent, one must mention the set of principles that he established as the guidelines for Irish monasteries to uphold Christian values and principles. By introducing monks to the concept of unceasing repentance and the focus on seeking the ways of absolving oneself from sins, St. Columba established the foundational values of Iris Catholicism, while also encouraging the further spreading of the Christian faith and the enhancement of compliance with its foundational postulates.

As a historical document and a piece of evidence of how ethical and behavioral norms were shaped in the Irish community in the 7th century. In a narrow historical context, the Rule of St. Columba can be seen as the document that defined the order within Irish monasteries, in general, and the Bangor Abbey, in particular (“Medieval Sourcebook: Rule of St. Columba 6th Century”). Created by St. Columba, an Irish missionary known particularly for founding multiple monasteries, the document represents a vital piece of Irish history and cultural legacy.

However, the document in question can also be considered in broader religious and social contexts as the set of standards that defined behavioral norms, moral principles, and ethical values within the Irish community, for centuries to come. Emphasizing the importance of the values that Irish Catholicism promoted as the principal ones, the Rule of St. Columba introduced not only essential rituals for monks to adhere to but also the cornerstone philosophy that accompanied the specified standards of behavior and conduct (“Medieval Sourcebook: Rule of St. Columba 6th Century”). As a result, the ethical values were shaped along with the behavioral standards, setting an example for not only local monks but also for Irish Catholics, in general, to consider a worthy of following.

Moreover, the regulations in question could be seen as the force that united Irish monks and increased the power of the Irish monastery, in general, enhancing and expanding its impact. Specifically, studies show that, with the adoption of the rules of St. Columba as the indispensable values and standards for monks to comply with, the value system within the Irish monastic community became significantly more homogenous (“Medieval Sourcebook: Rule of St. Columba 6th Century”). As a result, the impact that monastic communities produced on the rest of the Irish population amplified, causing the rest of Irish people to consider the values and standards in question as the default behavior standard (“Medieval Sourcebook: Rule of St. Columba 6th Century”). Therefore, Irish Christianity and, specifically, the principles based on which Irish Christians make decisions and interact with each other, owes its ubiquitous nature and a massive impact to the Rule of St. Columba as the document that set the expectations for its followers and the criteria based on which the latter would make their decisions and resolve ethical and moral dilemmas (“Medieval Sourcebook: Rule of St. Columba 6th Century”). Therefore, the Rule of St. Columba can be considered a historical document that shaped the evolution of Christianity, as well as the relationships within Irish society, on a nationwide scale, causing Irish people to build their value system based on the Rules of St. Columba. S

Remarkably, a range of studies define the Rule of St. Columbanus as excessively strict and harsh even given the harshness of Catholic principles, in general. Specifically, Graff mentions the active and unwavering use of corporal punishments for monks as the main tool for encouraging compliance and fostering the spirit of docility in them. For example, Graff remarks that “for failure to return a required item until the next day prescribed a penalty of 6 blows; the same held true for calling anything one’s own property” (204). Although the described approach toward encouraging compliance and piety could be seen as unnecessarily cruel, it, in fact, has a distinct purpose based on the key tenets of Christian faith. Namely, the Rule of St. Columbanus was supposed to promote the concept of self-mortification as a crucial religious tool in promoting the denial of self as the gateway to accepting God (“Medieval Sourcebook: Rule of St. Columba 6th Century”). Thus, the rule of St. Columba could be regarded as the document that played a critical role in shaping the Catholic tradition.

The Rules of St. Columba, as one of the earliest standards for leading a virtuous life for monks, shaped the target population’s understanding of Catholicism, skewing it toward the idea of unceasing repentance and the need to recognize one’s sinful nature in order to repent. Therefore, the Rules of St. Columba can be considered the groundwork for the further enhancement of the influence of Irish Catholicism, particularly, its cultural and religious values and standards. The document should be credited for shaping the key principles of monks’ behavior in an Irish Catholic monastery. Therefore, the document =should be regarded as an important historical document and the representation of how Irish Catholicism shaped behaviors and values within the community.

Works Cited

Graff, Tomasz. Individual Freedom and Mediaeval Monasticism-Some Remarks and Reflections. Wydawnictwo AVALON, 2017.

Medieval Sourcebook: Rule of St. Columba 6th Century. Ordham University, n.d., Web.

Robinson, Timothy J. T. An Increased Emphasis on the Critical Elements of the Spiritual Life and Spiritual Formation within Preaching in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Biola University, 2019.

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