A number of Americans face the necessity to pay for college. Some people cope with this challenge properly and think about future education beforehand. Some people do not have enough opportunities to create appropriate conditions for their children’s education. And there is a group of people, who truly believe that the government is able to take care of its people and offer a powerful idea to promote college savings. Unfortunately, the plans of the current politicians do not always coincide with the plans of the crowd.
This is what the article written by Ron Lieber for the New York Times tells about. The author discusses the outcomes of a 529 plan and the conditions under which the savings plan could go wrong making many people think over their money and mix up 2F’s – feelings and finance. By means of comparison, logical evaluations, social references, and a number of jeers in the text, the author chooses a kind of angry tone of writing to prove how irrational and unfair the attitude of the politicians to the question of college savings can be.
Reading background information about the author, Mr. Lieber, helps to comprehend that his experience and knowledge in the spheres of finance and education is rich indeed. He knows what he is writing about; this is why it is not that easy to believe in every word mentioned in the article.
One of his main intentions is to enlighten the recent events in particular spheres and introduce his own position on how certain changes may influence the lives of certain people. The article under analysis seems to be a combination of powerful ideas and explanations, which are effective for his argument that people do not expect that something can go wrong with a plan providing them with hope.
The beginning of the article attracts the attention of the reader because Lieber makes a decision to keep a kind of mystery during several sentences. He does not want to identify the topic of his work.
He wants the reader to keep guessing and names it as “a truly odd Washington spectacle”, or “front-page news… about one of the smaller ones”, (Lieber para. 1) or “a small thing that probably wasn’t going to happen, which had been part of a big thing that probably wasn’t going to happen, definitely wasn’t going to happen now” (Lieber para. 2).
The reader is provided with a chance to stop reading this detective story or offer personal guesses about the approaching discussion to prove his/her readiness to get involved in the facts given in the article.
Perhaps, the goal of Lieber’s article is not only to inform about some changes in the process of taxing 529 college savings but to involve the reader into the analysis of the event because it is not only about money but about feelings.
The author references Vanguard statistics to show that the problem of college taxation touches upon huge money, “but the president and his advisers knew that it takes a lot of money to grow a pile of money in the first place” (Lieber para. 9). This example proves that the author is not satisfied with the activities of the government. He uses jeers to underline his dissatisfaction and the desire to change something.
His article looks like a kind of provocation. Still, it is not direct, it may be observed through the lines and pictures used in the article. Lieber focuses on human feelings to make the question of tax savings more urgent and interesting for consideration. “How proud parents are of their decision to set aside money for college… It’s money that they are sacrificing” (Lieber para. 17).
People face certain problems, and they have a right to talk about their discontents. Lieber takes into account people’s necessity to share their thoughts and provides its audience with questions that require answers based on personal experience and understanding of the problem.
It is not enough for the author of the article under analysis to make certain conclusions and prove the correctness of his argument. At the end of the work, Lieber calls people for action: “if you’re looking for something to get upset about, be angry about that” (para. 21). People should use their brightest emotions and their strongest ideas to be noticed by the government. The accident with a 529 plan will be forgotten one day, and the real problem of the president’s impact on education using finance may take another form.
This is what the author wants to say and explain to the reader. He has already come to such conclusions, and now, he is trying to share his opinion with other people and make them believe in personal strengths and be ready to answer one simple question: whether they are ready to make use of their anger that takes place on the basis of a college savings plan that has already gone awry in order to achieve the desirable results in their lives and succeed in the future.
Lieber, Ron. “Taxing 529 College Savings Plans: A Plan That Went Awry.” The New York Times 30 Jan. 2015.