President Donald Trump on Wednesday delivered a stump political speech lauding his tax reform proposal (“Trump, GOP issue tax plan outline,” Sept. 28). The emperor has no clothes! He outlined no figures for the dramatic reduction in tax receipts that his proposal would result in and laid out no details on the increase in the federal deficit that these cuts would produce — a burden that would be borne by our children and grandchildren. He made no reference to the elimination of tax loopholes that need to be made to partly compensate for the tax reductions. Even though many industrialized nations have lower corporate tax rates than the U.S., these loopholes, which include petroleum and mineral depletion write-offs, are not available to corporations with headquarters overseas. Giants such as General Electric already pay no federal income taxes; they need no further incentives from the federal government.
Furthermore, Trump has been touting increased government spending for infrastructure that America badly needs for its roads and ports; where will the money come from with a drastic reduction in tax receipts? The ports of New Orleans, Baltimore and New York, to name a few, are in need of significant upgrades. Our transportation system is decaying, with expenditures on highway, bridge and mass transit in need of rejuvenation. When will we get the high-speed trains like the Shinkansen in Japan, the TGV in France and the magnetic levitation train in Shanghai?
Lastly, the impact of these tax proposals on the working middle class would be negative, while cutting tax rates from 39.6 percent to 35 percent for the wealthiest Americans and eliminating the alternative minimum tax on the wealthiest. We can only hope that the majority of voters — and the Congress — will not be taken in by Trump’s rhetoric.
Arthur E. Higinbotham, St. Paul
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The subhead under the top story in Thursday’s Star Tribune reads: “Analysis: Proposal would benefit the wealthy; effect on middle class unclear.” The first item under “What it means” is that the standard deduction nearly doubles to $12,000 for individuals, $24,000 for couples. This would be of minor consequence for a wealthy couple, but a huge savings for us in the middle class.
Gary and Margie Nash, Chanhassen
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Here we go again. GOP tax cuts for the rich blow up the debt/deficit. Perhaps more wars on the nation’s credit card. Then when the Democratic adults in the room return to power, the GOP will run around with their hair on fire, screaming for the Dems to bring down the debt/deficit. So predictable and tiring.
David Pederson, Minnetrista
TRUMP AND THE NFL
A letter writer got it wrong on constitutional protections
The letter writer who wrote that Marc A. Thiessen was “patently wrong” in his commentary in which he said that professional athletes are not constitutionally protected from the consequences of their peaceful protests on the field is himself patently wrong (“For team owners, don’t be too quick to say ‘You’re fired,’ ” Readers Write, Sept. 28).
Contrary to popular belief, the First Amendment does not protect all speech; it just protects against government interference with speech. Specifically, it states: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.” Although the writer claims the Supreme Court has twice held that any action taken by an employer to punish an employee for exercising their constitutional rights is suppression of free speech and illegal, I believe the cases he relies upon for that proposition involved public employees, people working for the government.
If the writer’s version of the constitutional protection was accurate, an employer like Target could not stop an employee from demonstrating in favor of a political candidate or from making a political statement while he or she was in the workplace. If the writer wanted to make a valid legal argument in favor of the NFL players, he could have suggested that President Donald Trump (that is, the government) violated the First Amendment rights of the kneelers when he said the NFL owners should fire them for their speech.
Ronald Haskvitz, St. Louis Park
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The syndicated Michael Ramirez Creators Syndicate “A Little Perspective” political cartoon needs a little perspective (Opinion Exchange, Sept. 28).
Was the flag-draped casket supposed to represent that of a fallen soldier or that of a black man killed by a police officer?
The reason I ask is that the answer to my question completely changes the names on the backs of the jerseys.
Nick Dolphin, Minneapolis
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I totally agree with the letter writer’s statement about football players kneeling. In Catholic tradition, kneeling (on both knees) or going down on one knee (“genuflecting, ” in Catholic parlance) are both considered more respectful than standing. Also, as I look at the players on the field, many have their heads bowed, as in prayer or deep reflection. Others, facing forward, have a look of seriousness and resolve. It would seem they are calling on us to reflect at a deep level. In this day and age of sound bites and tweets, of bullying and trash talking by political leaders, it is actually refreshing to have someone invite us to pause to carefully deliberate about our course as a nation.
Lisa Wersal, Vadnais Heights
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The “practicing” Catholic letter writer obviously doesn’t know why she kneels in church if she is equating it with a knee down during the national anthem. I kneel to scrub my floors, but it is hardly a form of worship.
Karen Cody, Golden Valley
If single-payer makes sense, who will really pick up the tab?
According to a letter writer (“Single-payer makes business sense,” Readers Write, Sept. 27), a single-payer (i.e., government) health care system that replaces the current employer-supported system will save employers $10,000 to $20,000 per year per employee, which, according to a commentary on the same subject (“Why single-payer is not likely our path forward,” Opinion Exchange, Sept. 17) totals $260 billion annually. But who is going to pick up this tab in place of the employers? The answer would seem to be higher taxes. Since, according to the letter writer, the claim that tax decreases stimulate economic growth has repeatedly been proven false, the corollary must be that higher taxes will not depress the economy. Therefore, an eminently painless solution: higher taxes for single-payer health care and all manner of other government-supplied benefits without any fear of triggering an economic depression. Are there any economists who would care to chime in on this magical panacea?
Vernon J. Vander Weide, Minneapolis
C’mon, guys, grow up
Just saw a picture in the paper of the Twins celebrating their clinching a wild card spot. I guess I don’t get it. Why do grown men have to line a room with plastic, don goggles and spray each other with what is — I am sure — not cheap champagne? This whole tradition seems very juvenile to the highest extent. Would not the money they wasted be better spent, perhaps on a good charity? Couldn’t they just as well celebrate their good fortune with a Coke and a hearty slap on the back?
Barry Jorgenson, Stillwater