Forum, Oct. 5: Wealthy White Men’s Tax Cuts

Wednesday, October 04, 2017
Wealthy White Men’s Tax Cuts

The Republican budget proposal includes cutting Medicare by $450 million over the next 10 years. This has been a long-standing Republican plan to gut Medicare and Social Security. While the Republicans call these two programs “entitlements,” I consider my career-long payments into both programs investments in my future, paid by my taxes and required by my government. So this is not just a baby boomer issue — anyone making these payments now may lose your investments in both the short and long term.

The “swamp” that Donald Trump promised to drain has become a cesspool, filled with wealthy white men who are completely out of touch with the rest of us. Tax savings of $1,000 to renovate my kitchen — really? While the wealthy reap millions in tax savings? And the Trump family’s billions of savings via tax cuts?

I’m reminded that a group of baboons is called a congress of baboons.

Anne Peyton

South Strafford

‘Democracy Now’ Is Recommended

The daily news program Democracy Now, available to us weekdays in the Upper Valley and put together by an American journalist and her team broadcasting from New York, provides extraordinary detail — especially valuable in its global coverage, thanks to a global network of journalists. Today’s broadcast (Oct. 2) was a prime example of that detail. It featured the recent exchange between President Donald Trump and Carmen Yulin Cruz, mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico. We’ve come to this?

We voters are responsible for what our nation becomes, for being informed on how it works, and for how it appears in the press.

Our current turmoil reaches deep and far back in time. Isn’t it time the main American media cease declaring ours the “World’s Greatest Nation” and shift their sights to finding the truth and the detail that matter?

I can highly recommend the broadcast by Amy Goodman, and the website democracynow.org for some of that truth and detail. It comes to our area via Channel 8, Community Access TV, weekdays at 8 a.m. and 3 p.m, and on Vermont PBS Plus at 7 p.m.

Kayren Morrill


Trickle-Down Toxicity

I attended the Annie Kuster/Peter Welch joint town hall at the Richmond Middle School last month. While waiting for the presenters to appear, the attendee to my immediate left and I discussed the toxicity of the current political climate in Washington, and how it seems to be a contagion filtering back down to the constituents. She suggested we stop peering into that Pandora’s box ... but curiosity’s my middle name.

After Reps. Kuster and Welch addressed a few questions from the audience, I posed a situation straight out of the aforementioned box of ills and woe: There’s a lot of bullying coming out of the Trump regime, and it’s having effects on the general public. I’m very concerned with our police forces (see reports in the Valley News: “State Trooper Stops Rabbi At Gunpoint,” Sept. 20; and “Witnesses Yell ‘He Can’t Hear You’ As Cop Shoots Deaf Man,” Sept. 21). What should be done?

Kuster responded first, saying it’s important to screen an applicant before hiring a police officer, as well as having existing officers take ongoing training. Considering that our president, in a July 28 speech urged police “please don’t be too nice” to suspects, is there anyone we can trust to screen potential officers?

Bullies are everywhere, and Washington, D.C., is one example worth noting. A certain percent of that population have control issues, thankfully with built-in safeguards: Politicians need to be voted in, their term is limited and they can be ousted. Why don’t we do the same with cops? If it turns out nominating and electing officers is unworkable, we should at least stack the deck by encouraging people who are less testosterone-driven to dominate the ranks of law enforcement. And/or politics.

Also note: The Washington Post maintains a database of every fatal shooting in the United States by a police officer in the line of duty since Jan. 1, 2015. I checked Sept. 20: Police had shot and killed 706 people this year.

Kevin McEvoy Leveret

White River Junction

Improving Obamacare

We live in a highly polarized society. We are often faced with extreme alternatives, as if there were no middle ground.

Health care is a case in point. Senators recently told us there are two alternatives — repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the Graham-Cassidy bill, or leave ACA as is. The media tell us the same thing.

Everyone agrees that ACA has problems and that it can be improved. One seldom hears that some members of Congress are working to develop less extreme alternatives. Reps. Annie Kuster and Peter Welch, with 18 co-sponsors, have submitted such a proposal to Congress. They are not the only ones. A bipartisan group of at least 40 members of the House of Representatives is devoted to resolving some of the problems with the ACA. With equally many Republicans and Democrats, this “Problem Solving Caucus” proposed such legislation to Congress at the end of July. The media could help by reporting on these activities and giving us details. It would help us give a better reply when we get deluged with requests to support extremes.

A good bill to correct the principal problems with the ACA should result from all this energy. To encourage Republican cooperation, the new health care bill should be given a new title, enabling those who campaigned on replacing Obamacare to achieve that goal.

Robert Z. Norman


Know Your Rights

I recently attended a “Know Your Rights” workshop offered by staff members from ACLU New Hampshire. The targeting and persecution of those without immigration papers continues to intensify, with government officials pushing or violating the boundaries of our laws and Constitution. We must all stay informed.

ICE agents have recently begun frequenting Western Union sites and stores that cash checks for workers, waiting there on paydays to demand documents from people suspected of lacking working papers or green cards. If possible, those with a need for caution might do best to wait a few days after payday before trying to cash their checks.

ICE uses duplicity to gain entree to homes. Agents may not enter a home without a search warrant signed by a judge. Using pressure tactics and official-looking papers signed by an ICE or Homeland Security official (not a judge), agents trick people into opening their doors. If ICE agents come to a house, residents should demand that a warrant (on U.S. District Court letterhead, signed by a judge) be slipped under the door. Otherwise, they should not open the door.

Everyone has the right to remain silent. Silence is best until there is help — no matter the pressure. No one should sign any paper under any circumstances without first speaking with a lawyer. The Community Safety Network in New Hampshire will send a rapid response team in the case of an ICE raid, Call 603-856-0474 in New Hampshire. In Vermont, call the Migrant Justice hotline, 802-881-7229.

Border Patrol agents are legally bound to work within 100 of the border. Their recent traffic stops in Woodstock, N.H., put them approximately 95 miles from the border. The involvement of local police at the time of these stops is deeply troubling and probably unconstitutional.

If you are present when ICE or Border Patrol agents stop a bus or approach anyone in ways that trouble you, use your phone to film. Unless you obstruct an agent or officer, it is never illegal to film. More information is available at www.aclu.org/affiliate/new-hampshire. To get involved, contact the United Valley Interfaith Project, Unitedvalleyinterfaith@gmail.com.

Kesaya E. Noda


Response to Two Writers

First, letter writer Jackie Smith raises her expectation for a coup by our military, to take actions against the president that our duly-elected Congress is not taking (“Stop the Insanity,” Sept. 30). Further, she states the cause of congressional inaction is a fear of not being re-elected. The logical implication is that Smith believes the majority of Americans unwisely agree with Trump’s taking a firmer stand against a nuclear North Korea, while she does not. Democracy is great until people disagree with you; then a coup.

A day later (“Don’t Believe the Spin About Liberal Campuses,” Oct. 1), columnist Steve Nelson defends restricting speech on college campuses, using arguments exactly counter to those in support of protests on NFL sidelines. Then he veers abruptly into an attack on charter schools, old ground he has trod before. Nelson’s claim that universities are controlled by anti-progressive boards and therefore that a liberal bias does not exist is preposterous.

Tim Dreisbach

South Royalton