Category Archives: Opinion

Walt Disney: Master Animator, or Copycat Extraordinaire?

by Elizabeth Gerken – Staff Writer

Walt Disney; just the mere mention of his name conjures vivid and colorful images of the princesses, castles and talking animals we all know and love from our childhood. His influence on the film industry can be seen everywhere, especially in the modern format for western film which essentially copies the format of his earlier works. However, that magical castle Disney rules is built on a foundation of shady marketing and stolen ideas, most of which have flown under the radar of the general public for far too long.

Disney is not a demon for his copycat tendencies, but it should be recognized that he was not very original in his lifetime. For example, only 5 out of the 19 movies he made in his lifetime were original. Everything else was based off of children’s books or old fairytales that he made more appropriate for his young audience. This fact is even more shocking when you realize that almost all of the originals were complete box office flops or were not even released in theaters.

The one success from the original movies was Fantasia, but it was a critical flop directly after its release in 1940 that almost drove the company into bankruptcy and tarnished Disney’s reputation with critics who enjoyed his pre-established mold of unoriginal fairytales. The only other originals with revenue information available are Melody Time which was released in 1948 made 1.85 million us dollars, and Make Mine Music, released in 1946, made 2.25 dollars. These numbers seem small initially but appear even smaller when you realize that these were all off rentals of the movies years after they came out. Now the more popular but unoriginal movies like Snow White made 418 million dollars at the box office from its 1938 release. This massive jump in revenue may be the driving reason for Disney making unoriginal content; everybody knows the story of Snow White and will go see a movie on it but nobody knows the stories of movies like Melody Time because its new and so they wont want to go see it.

Wanting to make money is something that is seen in every facet of life, so Disney wanting to is nothing new and, while him making primarily unoriginal content is not the most respectable thing, it is understandable. The thing that is harder to understand and by far the most unacceptable is one of his major claims to fame: that he was the first to make animation with synchronized sound. This is an outright lie that few people know. The pioneers of sound animation were Max and Dave Fleisher, two brothers from New York running their own animation studio. They are the ones responsible for characters like Betty Boop and Popeye. Although these characters were their big success, their biggest accomplishment was the creation of Song Car-Tunes. Song Car-Tunes were a series of “follow the bouncing ball” style sing-along animations that ran from May 1924 to September 1927. Steamboat Mickey, the supposed original sound animation, was released in November of 1928, over a year after the final Song Car-Tune was released. Disney was able to propel his animation into the spotlight by convincing news outlets to call his the first and not mention the Fleisher’s at all. This shady business worked, leaving Disney with the fame and the Fleisher brothers buried under him in animation history.

Overall, he is not a monster, but he was not a hero either. The combination of unoriginal content and aggressive marketing practices make his good reputation as a filmmaker questionable. He will forever be an icon of animation and a household name across the world but that does not mean that how he became that should be hidden.

Newest Tax Reform a Huge Blow for Working Americans

by Jason Thiel – Staff Writer

On December 22, 2017, President Trump held and emergency bill signing in order to sign the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law. This bill cuts the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, effective in 2018. The seven income tax brackets stay, but the rates of each bracket are lowered, the individual tax rate drops to 37%, it doubles the standard deduction, eliminates personal exemptions, and repeals the estate tax. These individual tax changes expire in 2025, but the corporate tax cut is permanent. This is an outraging piece of legislature to be passed at a time like this. To be middle class you should be making $200-250k a year, and the majority of America makes around $100k or less. This bill is going to cripple the middle class while handing huge tax cuts to billionaires and corporations, so that they can stack their money higher and watch the rest of America suffer.

Tax reform is incredibly complicated, and the details of this bill are still being analyzed by the media, but the changes listed are the main tenants of the bill, and create the problem we’ve had in this country with trickle-down economics for the better part of 30 years. Corporations, when given tax cuts and subsidies, do not invest in their employees. Some may invest in some new factories or a new department, but the wealthiest corporations in this nation have the finances to do that whenever they want. One part of this legislature about business that sticks out is that it allows companies to repatriate the collective $2.6 trillion they have held in foreign stockpiles, at a one-time tax rate of 15.5% on funds and 8% the value of physical equipment. This type of ‘tax holiday’ was administered in 2004, and was measured to have not done much to boost the economy. Most companies were reported as distributing repatriation checks to their shareholders, rather their employees, in order to boost investment and increase their stock value. This is the same thing they do with the cuts to their actual tax rate. They may invest a little in employees as PR, to keep enough of the public divided on whether or not trickle-down works, and then they send the rest to their shareholders and executives. This goes to show how we’ve seen this same legislature tried multiple times in recent history, seen it not work, and continued to do it.

To focus a little closer on the legislation for individuals, the Tax Policy Center broke down the bill and determined that it helps higher-income families disproportionately more than the rest. Families and individuals in the lowest-earning fifth of the population would see a .4% income increase. Those in the next highest fifth would see a 1.2% boost, then a 1.6% and 1.9% for the next two-fifths. The highest-earning fifth would receive a 2.9% income boost, which is not where the money needs to be going. This isn’t a tax cut for the working class citizen, it’s a boost to the already thriving members of society. Additionally, the budget-conscious party added $1.5 trillion to the national debt, while creating $700 billion in growth due to the repeal of the ACA individual mandate, which will throw 13 million people off of health insurance because they no longer receive the necessary subsidies needed. This will hike health insurance costs because less people will be able to afford care until they need emergency care, which is exponentially more expensive than preventative care. The U.S. Treasury, which is still a partisan bureaucracy, claims that this bill will bring in $1.8 trillion in new revenue, under the assumption that Trump passes his infrastructure spending plans, deregulation, welfare reform, and other of his promises. In reality, this number is pure speculation, given the current turbulent path of our Commander-in-Chief and his agenda. Given that this revenue is over 10 years, and we already have $20 trillion of debt, it isn’t going to fix the immediate problem of hitting the debt ceiling.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a disgrace to modern democracy and the rights of people to have a fair shot at earning a living and providing for their families. It gives corporations and rich elites more fiscal power that they don’t need, so they can sit on the money that the common man is sacrificing so much to try to attain. Eugene V. Debs once said, “Those who produce should have, but we know that

those who produce the most – that is, those who work hardest, and at the most difficult and most menial tasks, have the least.” These words couldn’t be truer of today’s world. I’m not advocating for communism or total wealth sharing, but oligarchy and social democracy can’t coexist, and for some reason people think they can.

Seattle’s Drink Tax Unfairly Targets the Poor

by Harris Yun – Staff Writer

Recently in Seattle, a tax was proposed and accepted that would add an extra cost to sweetened beverages. Under the tax, any sweetened beverage imported into Seattle for retail sale will be charged an extra $.0175 per ounce, unless the manufacturer grosses under $5 million globally, in which case they are charged a lower rate or exempted from the tax altogether.

The law defines a sweetened beverage as any liquid substance intended for human consumption with something in the drink that adds both calories and is perceived by humans as sweet. The tax is only on distributors who purchase the drinks for retail sale, because lawmakers do not want the consumer or small businesses who sell these drinks to pick up the cost of the tax. However, this is a moot point, as distributors will push the extra costs onto retailers, who in turn push those extra costs onto consumers. The way it looks right now, the tax can have one of two outcomes. The first (and much less likely) outcome would be the tax actually discouraging people from purchasing these drinks, promoting public health. With average price per ounce of these drinks, the tax would increase the cost of them by around 70% or more. This large increase would seem like it would stop people buying these unhealthy drinks, but the reality is much more likely to be far from that outcome.

The fact of the matter is, people like soda too much. Sugary drinks are an addiction in today’s America. If anything, this tax will function much like a cigarette tax – it might stop people from starting the cycle of sugary drink addiction, but will not do anything for the people currently drinking soda more than they drink water. If anything, this will only hurt the poor more than they already are being hurt by various taxes around Seattle. It is a proven statistic that poorer families consume more soda on average than a richer family, and this tax will provide corporations a larger excuse to charge more on things that they know are basically unavoidable costs for people. This tax might have started out with good intentions, but now it seems like the only reason it exists is to allow corporations to suck more money out of the lower class in Seattle.

The School System Has Screwed Me Over

by Madison Marko – Head Photographer

When I think back to my freshman year and what I learned, all that comes to mind is a blank, fuzzy screen, and a small, broken voice that rasps, “the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell”. I think I just remember that because at one time it was a meme. This, academically, is the only small morsel of knowledge that comes to mind when I think back to those nervous, fidgety 180 days of my life.

I have some qualms with the school system.

The system teaches a twisted and useless version of success. To fulfill its demands, you are taught to retain knowledge only for as long as it is relevant—and that is often the day of the test. After the test is over, the information no longer serves you, and so it is gone in a puff of smoke.

Do not fear; you got an A. It does not matter that you only have a vague recollection of the knowledge you used to recite in your sleep three days ago, because you have achieved success. Now, pat yourself on the back and move onto your next fruitless venture.

In this way, the system promotes a careless, uniform, and mundane society. If success ends at personal gain in the form of a few chicken-scratched A’s on your papers, nothing will ever change or grow. Interest in others, the world around us, and passions that you have not explored, will fade.

The kids who will grow up to drive change are not the “school-system-success-stories”, but those who have the courage to write their own purpose and definition of accomplishment. They have not allowed the system to limit them, and constantly work outside of the box. They have pursued what they are passionate about, even if this means pushing aside the system does not inspire them.

The things we remember are the things we care about. Whether that be anthropology, agriculture, or archaeology, if you are passionate about it, it will stick with you.

This is where the school system needs to step up. If I’m not passionate about it, I can try my very hardest to care, but the burden should not be all on the students to desperately try to make long-term meaning out of heaps of information. Teachers need to teach beyond the test, and to do that, the state needs to lighten the burden and stress of standardized testing.

If you do not pass the SBA, you cannot graduate. Those are high stakes. Teachers should be given the freedom to explore and experiment with what works for the long-term benefit of students, without fear that they are withholding knowledge that could keep students from the supposed end-all—graduation.

The Kent School District boasts, “Successfully preparing all students for their futures” on their many domains. Is this true if I graduate uninspired, directionless, with little to show for twelve years of my life except for a transcript of my apparent “success” or “failure”?

Be Selfish; It’s Okay

by Madison Marko – Head Photographer

You follow the man as he pursues his ambitions, chase after the woman who has promised you her love later, and follow your heart to the edge. You jump off—for the goodwill of another. At the bottom you are a pile of crumbled bones, a pool of flesh, and a mumbling mouth that says, “I am quite alright.” But, forever will you bear scars from all the times you put another before yourself.

We need to put ourselves first.

Placing societal standards above yourself is damaging. I discovered this in my youth—trying desperately to uphold the ideals that were “acceptable” in my schoolmates’ eyes. I would repeat their jokes in my head, trying to find the humor that seemed so nonexistent. I wore basketball shorts every day of my life. I tried to fulfill an image that did not match who I wanted to be. Then, sophomore year rolled around and I decided I was fed up. Done with trying to be social when I knew I was perfectly antisocial! Done with wearing what other people wore! Done with putting other people’s ideals above my happiness and desired image!

Secondly, regret will come if you do things to please someone else. Until you realize that you are worth more than what tries to confine you, soul-searching and decision making may be hard. This year, I decided to do cross country instead of volleyball. I recognized my passion for running, but I struggled with decision making. There was social approval in volleyball; the crowd of fellow students and the games, and the posters slung up around the halls. The bit of me still leeching on a desire for acceptance craved this. Was it what I truly wanted? Cross country seemed to be a team full of passionate, diverse, and hardworking people—the kind of company I always admired. Now that the season is over, I know I would have regretted it if I hadn’t joined.

Lastly, if you are nt looking after yourself, no one else will. Society is selfish and egotistical. I see it at school all the time. I’m struggling, while the person next to me is soaring through each problem. I stare at them; a jealous, empty-handed kid gazing at the child across the street grasping a lollipop. But there are no licks off the lollipop-of-knowledge for me. I must hit the books myself—or else I will be left to wallow in a pit of helplessness.

Be a selfish bastard; put yourself above social standards, pleasing others, and the single-mindedness of society. Once you have what you need for yourself, you can then make the conscious decision to turn around and give to others.

Pro vs. Con: “Baby It’s Cold Outside”

Nothing Wrong With the Holiday Classic

by Vitaliy Berezhnyy – Staff Writer

Alright, alright, alright, I get it. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is RAPEY. Harrumph. I feel an empty pit in my stomach: something does not seem right. I mean, it is an old song (written in 1944), and rape was accepted back then… gosh, that just does not seem right, either. This calls for a ‘putting on of the proverbial super-sleuth-glasses and a reaching for the cracked magnifying glass’—oh, how dusty the two are. Blow the dust, and begin.

This song is almost always performed with a man and a woman, and because that is how it was intended to be, I will refer to the two as such. Looking through the lyrics… I’ve got to say, there is nothing rapey that I can find. A man seduces a woman who is playing hard-to-get. That is what I see. I see the woman retaining a ladylike composure, concerned over what “the neighbors might think,” and oh, “There’s bound to be talk tomorrow,” but at the same time, she wants him to want her. ‘I do not want it to look like I am sleeping around (change), so you have to be the right guy. Convince me to stay.’ None of the excuses she gives has to do with what she thinks, only what others might think: her brother, her mother, her sister, and the list goes on; what she wants, and what others want, does not align. Everyone else wants her to come home, but she wants to stay.

Within the first two verses, she gives in a little to his pull (“…maybe just half a drink more.”) Boom. Bananas. Almost sounds like she’s interested in staying, eh? Shortly after that, she jokes, “Say, what’s in this drink?” Yes. Jokes. Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Dolly Parton, and countless other artists have covered this song: are all of them are pro-rape? No. Clearly, they got the joke, they got the meaning of the song—the subtle romantic overtones that manage to slip away from today’s politically-correct, rape-culture hunt. Bottom line, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is not rapey; it is a lovely look into a sophisticated, yet light, play of love that was once widely accepted as romance.

Baby, It’s Date Rape and Really Concerning

by Anna Hartman – Feature Editor

Picture this: It is a cold December night, snow is falling outside, and a man and a woman have enjoyed the evening together at his house. The woman is headed out for the evening, but the man tries to convince her to stay. Despite the woman, protests, the man is persistent and will not let her leave, as he makes advances on her without given consent and eventually end up slipping something into her drink to get her to stay.

In 2017, a story with this narrative would be quick to be called out for depicting sexual assault, or being generally demeaning to women, however, in 1944, this very narrative flew under the radar wrapped in a catchy little Christmas package known as Baby It’s Cold Outside.

The song in question has garnered much debate through the years, however, I believe that the song, although catchy, is extremely dated and worthy of an update due to its negative and concerning portrayals of women.

Its depiction of women within the song are congruent with the beliefs of the time, that women are nothing more than objects to be advanced on by men. This belief no longer aligns with the way that women are seen today. Today, women can be scientists, engineers, actors, and are free to make their own way in the world, and should not be reduced to such negative depictions any more.

One could defend the old tune by saying that they did not know any better at the time, as women had gained the right to vote only 24 years before the song was written, however, just because they did not know better then, does not mean that we do not know better now.

We should correct our actions by either updating the lyrics of the beloved Christmas carol so that it sounds less concerning in general, and indicates the woman giving consent, rather than having the advances of a man forced upon her. If this does not happen, however, given the current political climate, we as a society should at least recognize the negative light that this shines on women, and do everyone a favor and greatly reduce its radio air time.

There are many things about internalized misogyny and constructs of our society that we cannot change, however, a silly little Christmas song is something that we can. If we can make little changes like this in other facets of our society, we can make a step forward in achieving true equality for women.

Classical Music Wrongly Underappreciated by Youth

by Madison Marko – Head Photographer

With an entirely tasteless lack of drug references and an image riddled with “old dead guys”, it is not surprising that we don’t give classical music the time of day.

But we should.

According to a 2012 survey by the National Endowment for the Arts, older adults are the only demographic subgroup to show an increase in classical music performance attendance since 2002, while in all other demographics, including young people’s, these rates are shrinking. We need to step up and acknowledge classical music and its assets.

Oh, and just as a side note, I am using “classical music” as an umbrella term for the many different stylistic periods of classical music. For those of you that are well-versed in classical music, please do not come at me. Moving on.

When I was first introduced to classical music, I was sitting in the back of a family-friend’s car, staring out the window. We were driving down a windy road, and sunlight was streaming through the trees and into the vehicle. King FM was playing on the car radio, and I thought to myself, “Huh. This music is describing exactly how I am feeling, and what I am seeing, in this exact moment in time.”

With other types of music, you are fed someone else’s story and the feelings to go along with it. You are supposed to listen to them share their experiences, stick out your bottom lip in sympathy, and move on. You have no place in their ballads.

With classical music, you have the freedom to tie a piece to a moment in time, or a part of your life. Sure, the music you are hearing may have been born from a composer’s fit of wild rage, but it also has the capacity to describe the time you stayed up all night studying for a math test that you still managed to spectacularly fail the next day. You don’t get that much intellectual, emotional, and creative freedom with Taylor Swift, people.

Classical music also differs in the way that it does not shout dirty words into your ears, or subliminally suggest you do something you might regret. All it asks is for you give it a chance— to just sit down, appreciate, and contemplate, its artistry. You listen, and it has the practiced and honest confidence to give you nothing but its best. In a world where we are constantly bombarded by words of “do this”, oh, and also, while you are at it, you should really “do that”, classical music is a peaceful corner of the world that offers us space to breathe.

Tim Van Schenck, math teacher and classical music enthusiast said, “I love classical music— and one of my favorite things about it the variety of instruments that play. Everything

from the brass, to the percussion, to all the violins. They all fit together perfectly. I also like how classical music is structured. It is well organized and it helps me when I am studying, settling down, or just stressed.”

Please set aside your Lil Pump, your Post Malone, your Camila Cabello—just for a moment. Lay down, turn on 98.1 King FM, close your eyes, and drink in the indescribable passion, and occasional rage, of classical music.


Jonathan Urmenita:

Symphony No. 2 by Gustav Mahler

Symphony No. 4 by Johannes Brahms

String Quartet No.5 by Bela Bartok

Verklarte Nacht by Arnold Schoenberg

Star Wars (Score) by John Williams

The Hobbit (Score) by Howard Shore

Rebecca Auman (11):

Canon in D by Johann Pachebel

E Flat Suite by Gustav Holst

Tim Van Schenck:

Symphony No. 5 by Ludwig van Beethoven

Jolai Persinger:

Kiss the Rain by Yiruma

Lord of the Rings (Score) by Howard Shore

Scott Cleary:

Violin Concerto in A minor by Johann Sebastian Bach

I Vow to Thee, My Country by Gustav Holst

Amy Mitchell (12):

Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity by Gustav Holst

The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi

The Second Suite in F for Military Band (Op. 28, No. 2) by Gustav Holst

Raleigh Mostov:

Symphony No. 1 in D Major by Gustav Mahler

Danzon No. 2 by Arturo Marquez

Overture to Condide by Leonard Bernstein

Joseph Kommavongsa (10):

Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven

Prelude in A Major by Frederic Chopin

Sixth Symphony in B Minor by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Start Time a Blessing in Disguise

by Joshua Manning – Staff Writer

The new schedule has brought mixed reactions among students. As for myself, I think it is a step in the right direction for the way school should be scheduled. Most schoolwork, at least for me, is done at home so having two more hours to work at home every Wednesday helps a lot with the increasing homework level.

However, this schedule does have flaws. The most glaring problem is the fact that the late start day is on the same day as homeroom on the weeks we have it. The Wednesdays that have homeroom are often skipped due to them not being considered very important because every class is a mere thirty minutes minus the time it takes to get class started and pack up. The schedule is by no means perfect. Homeroom should be changed to another day of the week to accommodate this in my view.

However, the pros outweigh the cons for the new schedule. It makes school go longer, but only by five minutes, which is a miniscule amount when put in context of a six-hour school day. It allows for more time off school each week to help ease the flow of the average school week and helps with the increasing work load.

It is also admirable that the Kent School District is willing to experiment and try new things in terms of scheduling as opposed to just being formulaic and unwilling to improve. I think that change needs to be more welcomed as a concept in terms of education. I am not positing that every change is worthy of praise, but the concept of change needs to be less feared in the world of education. New ways of learning are being developed every day, one prominent one being the advent of technology, and because of this, much learning can be done outside of the classroom via the internet. Classroom teaching helps aid the learning process but much of the actual acquiring of information is done through the increasing homework load, so giving students more time off to better accommodate this shift in the way education is handled is definitely a positive one.

Mental Health a Prevailing Problem in Today’s Youth

by Cooper Lewis – Photographer

For young adults ages 15-24 suicide if the third leading cause of death, and for kids 10-14 it is the second. It is unbelievable that kids as young as ten want to kill themselves. Depression plays a huge role in this. 20% of teenagers are affected by depression and only 30% of them get treated for it. Now these numbers seem relatively low but in the case of death it is terrifying. Kids and teenagers are the key to our future.

Depression is a mental illness that can occur naturally but can also be caused by things such as family situations and social life however the most leading reason is drug addiction. While some people turn to drugs in times of depression (which just worsens the problem) certain substances such as alcohol and cigarettes have chemicals that when constantly taken in high doses can alter the chemicals in your brain. People who abuse these substances are six times more likely to commit suicide than non-drug users, and 90% of suicidal teens abuses some sort of substances.

The problem with suicide isn’t necessarily a substance its self but the addiction and the moderation the drug is taken in. Even without a mental illness drugs and alcohol are the second risk for suicide, depression and other mental illness being the first. The problem is that people are not getting treated for their problems. One in seven people become addicted to drugs but only one in ten get the treatment they need, it is the same with suicide (30% going untreated).

“If you only treat the depression without treating the chemical dependency, you will not be successful in really helping the person.” Dr. Jeffrey Bornestein says. The solution for depression is to treat it and promote awareness of depression and substance abuse. Signs of depressions are low self-esteem, sluggishness, disinterest of most things, lack of eating or sleeping and of course substance abuse. These are just a few signs of depression and if you or anybody you know show these signs seek help from a therapist or doctor or call a suicide hotline. (1-800-273-8255)

Net Neutrality Needed to Keep the Internet Going

by Jason Thiel – Staff Writer

Net Neutrality is something that sort of exists as a background mechanic of the internet age that prevents corporations from ripping off the working man in another way. Before now, many people didn’t know what net neutrality was or how it helped them. Now that the FCC is considering repealing it, it’s gaining interest throughout the country. Repealing such a crucial part of internet policy will lead to corporate greed running rampant online and when paying for internet service.

For those that do not know what net neutrality is, it’s a policy that runs behind the scenes on the internet that prevents corporations from tacking on extra charges to access domains, purchase and upgrade internet packages, and when creating domains. It says that there cannot be a pay wall acting as the only reason a person cannot access a website. It also mandates that internet service providers cannot tamper with your internet speed. This keeps the user in control of what they browse for and what they look at. In 2015, activists pressured the FCC to adopt many net neutrality rules that are now in jeopardy thanks to Trump’s new FCC chairman, Ajit Pai. On December 14, the FCC plans to vote to repeal the net neutrality rules put in place by the Obama administration. This is disgusting. In an already corporate-based world where big businesses are frequently allowed to cheat the people and the government, the Trump administration, and more specifically Ajit Pai, think that the next best step to “drain the swamp” is to provide corporations with another outlet to abuse the working class.

This administration’s mentality regarding corporations is so backwards, as they seem to talk about how greedy everyone is, and then just throw money and opportunity right into the pockets of corporate executives. Repealing net neutrality would do nothing less than allow them to dig further into the pockets of middle class Americans. People who just want to watch Youtube or Netflix, run a website for their small business, do their taxes, buy health insurance, any number of things people use the internet for in an affordable way. Small businesses will find that they won’t be able afford to pay for their domains, and they’ll have less outlets to advertise their businesses. Additionally, working families will have a hard time paying their internet bills, as corporations will be allowed to slow down their wi-fi speeds in order to force families to pay more for upgrades, causing many people to lose access to the internet and the plethora of information and resources it provides. Kids in school will find it harder to keep up with their work without internet access at home. It will increase the educational divide in this country, throwing more people in poverty back into poverty by further obstructing them from receiving an education comparable to those with more money.

The FCC’s disastrous plan to repeal Obama’s rules on net neutrality will cripple the middle class and destroy opportunities for families to experience the “American Dream”. Kids will find it harder to keep up, small businesses will take a huge hit, and families will lose an amenity that has become all but necessary, while big corporations will continue to thrive and increase their wealth even more than they already have. In a country where we already have massive wealth inequality, we cannot afford to pass more legislation that cripples the middle class.