Rich face tax hikes, women drink more & bye-bye books

What students are talking about today (January 2nd)

by Josh Dehaas

Some OWS supporters wanted taxes raised on the rich. That will happen in 2013. (j.dubb/Flickr)

1. If 2011 was the year of Occupy Wall Street, 2013 may be the year that the rich get punished, if only just a little bit. The United States avoided its “fiscal cliff” after Congress passed a deal that includes tax increases for those who make more than $450,000—roughly the richest one per cent. They will now pay just under 40 per cent income tax, up from about 35 per cent. Meanwhile in France—where Socialist president Francois Hollande has made no attempt to hide his distaste for the rich—the country’s highest court, citing unfairness, rejected a top tax rate of 75 per cent. The French government plans to try again. In Canada the tax increases are more equitable: everyone will pay more in Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance premiums this year. Yay!

2. Meanwhile, the CCPA reports that the typical executive among Canada’s top 100 highest paid will earn the equivalent of the median Canadian paycheque—$46,000—by noon today. The good news for OWS supporters is that average executive pay fell eight per cent last year to $7.7 million. And this might make you feel better about your future earnings: $34,000 puts you in the richest one per cent globally, according to a World Bank economist. The median salary worldwide is $1,225.

3. A study of 985 Spanish students at the University of Vigo, Spain, found that female students binge drink more than their male counterparts—56.1 per cent of women binged on booze compared with 41.3 per cent of men. The male students were, however, more likely to report illegal drug use—44.9 per cent of males took part compared to 30.9 per cent of females. The research was published in the Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health and reported on LiveScience.com. If you think those numbers are high, visit any Canadian university dormitory.

4. More than one million books will be removed from the University of Saskatchewan’s libraries in the coming years, reports The Sheaf student newspaper. Ditching the paper is a smart move considering that it will free up space for studying, which is in short supply on many campuses. The number of books that U of S students have been taking out has dropped 42 per cent in the past decade anyway, which is not surprising considering the proliferation of online journals and e-books.

5. Pakistan’s National College of Arts has bowed to pressure from Islamic extremists by shutting down its journal after protests against a series of provocative paintings depicting Muslim clerics with homosexual overtones, reports The Associated Press. In one of the paintings, published in the Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture, a cleric and a shirtless young boy sit next to each other on a cot while the cleric gazes at the boy suggestively. Courts are considering blasphemy charges.

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