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Still time for Congress to sober up on tax reform

first_imgThere is still time for Republican leaders to sober up.BEND ON CORPORATE TAX RATEFirst, they should seize Trump’s offer to bend on his 20 percent corporate tax target.The president mentioned a 22 percent rate, and I bet he would settle for 23 percent or even 24.Any of these would represent a historic reduction from today’s 35 percent nominal rate and would make doing business in the United States attractive compared with our competitors. Each percentage point represents about $100 billion over 10 years. And you know what they say: $100 billion here, $100 billion there, pretty soon you’re talking real money.Congress should use that money to further reduce the overall price tag of the bill, not as an excuse to dish out pork like it’s the Iowa State Fair.With the tax reform bandwagon pulling away from the station, every grifting special interest in Washington will be trying to hop aboard. Don’t let them. However, between the George W. Bush administration, the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve, government has pumped more than $6 trillion of stimulus into an economy flattened by the Great Recession.Coupled with the hard work of millions of Americans and similar efforts by leading economies around the world, that ocean of money has finally lifted us to the economic high ground of solid growth, near-full employment, abundant capital and surging consumer confidence.A healthy society, at this point in the economic cycle, would pay down public debt and marshal resources for the next rough patch.Instead, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, our leaders are preparing to take us $1.4 trillion deeper into the red over 10 years.It’s even worse if you factor in congressional accounting gimmicks.We don’t need more debt-fueled stimulus. We need a simpler, more globally competitive tax regime.If Congress focuses squarely on those purposes, the goals can be achieved for a lot less than $1.4 trillion. Categories: Editorial, OpinionWhen I started as a reporter many moons ago, I learned of a particularly deadly corner of the journalism business known as the DBI: stories that are dull-but-important.Reconciliation of the House and Senate tax bills is classic DBI.But this particular dull topic is very important indeed. In hashing out the final bill, Republican leaders can improve a law that will touch every American — or make it a whole lot worse.The key is clear thinking about the purpose of this law. KEEP PERSONAL INCOME TAX RATEForget about cutting the top personal income tax rate.As a class, America’s one-percenters are creative, generous and public-spirited, but they get a pretty sweet deal out of living here — driving on our highways, breathing our clean air and building businesses protected by the rule of law and Uncle Sam’s armed forces.Today’s top rate for individual earners is just under 40 percent — neither high nor low in historic terms.Running deeper deficits to cut that number by a point (as the Senate would do) is useless symbolism, while sharply raising the income level at which the top rate kicks in (as both bills propose) is more than we can afford.After all, nearly everyone who pays the top rate will benefit from the corporate cut, as companies distribute their windfall to shareholders.Indeed, wealthy Americans have already banked strong returns from a rocketing stock market fueled, in large measure, by the prospect of the corporate tax cut.DON’T KILL ESTATE TAXForget, too, about killing the estate tax, as the House proposes to do in 2024. I understand the philosophical argument.center_img Much of the wealth accumulated over a lifetime or over generations has already been taxed as income or capital gains and shouldn’t be taxed again.But Congress is running a country, not a philosophy seminar, and the country has doubled its sovereign debt in just a decade. Keep the good stuff, like doubling the standard deduction to simplify the tax returns of millions of working Americans.And choose the Senate approach to the child tax credit, which puts more money in the pockets of people who need it most. Republicans are going to get the tax reform they seek. But it doesn’t have to be a law to be ashamed of.David Von Drehle is an award-winning journalist and columnist.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes Not the political purpose, which is obvious to everyone.Republicans control the entire federal government and want desperately to notch an accomplishment (something! anything!).You could stamp TAX REFORM on the owner’s manual of a 2003 Subaru, and Congress would pass it on a party-line vote.Followed by President Donald Trump tweeting a picture of himself on Mount Rushmore.We need clarity on the economic purpose of the law.Those who say tax cuts are necessary to spur growth and create jobs have it wrong.That might have been true in 2010, when tea party tax-cutters roared onto the scene.last_img read more

Stop funding of anti American UNESCO

first_imgThe United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has been in existence since 1945. When the funding of this organization was established, the United States was made responsible for a larger portion of the dues than any other member state.From the beginning, UNESCO has been dominated by anti-American, pro-Communist members who vote against the interests of the United States and our ally Israel. From 2009 to 2014, UNESCO passed 47 resolutions condemning member nations, of which 46 were against Israel, while only one was against Syria. [For more information on UNESCO’s record, see the Human Rights Voices article, “UNESCO in Ruins: Anti-Semitism and the Perversion of Cultural Heritage Preservation.”] In 1984, the Reagan administration suspended membership in UNESCO and refused to fund the organization. Unfortunately, although there was no change in its blatant bias against the United States and Western values, our government rejoined UNESCO during the Bush administration and re-established U.S. funding. There has been no change in UNESCO’s blatant bias in the interim. In fact, during 2016, the organization denied Jewish and Christian claims to holy sites in Jerusalem, going so far as to declare the Temple Mount— the holiest site in Judaism — to be Muslim land.We taxpayers should let our senators and representatives know of our displeasure in having our tax dollars wasted by underwriting anti-American actions that undermine our security as a sovereign nation.Please contact our congressional representative and voice your concern over this issue.George S. Van SchaickRotterdamMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusCar hits garage in Rotterdam Sunday morning; Garage, car burnEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Thursday, Jan. 3

first_imgStudents need more help fighting hunger Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionMore border security is better than a wallDemocrats want border security. “Wall” defenders cite prisons or the White House as examples of walls working. Of course, the White House has a fence, not a wall. That’s so they can see who’s outside. Walls don’t provide that visual advantage. Prisons do have walls. Prison staff doesn’t care who’s outside. They have guards stationed to monitor the inside. If we want a border wall to work like a prison wall, we need to spread our agents along the entire length. Trouble is, there are few cities or towns near the border. There are few houses for rent or for sale, no schools for their kids, no shopping, no place for their spouse to work. Wonder why we have 2,000 unfilled Border Patrol Agent job openings? However, with a few well-located military-style bases, listening devices, cameras, helicopters, aircraft, boats, drones, ATVs and SUVs, we can monitor the border and respond as needed. That arrangement solves the no-place- to-live issue that makes staffing a wall solution problematic. While we’re imagining a fence around the White House or a wall around a prison is somehow the equivalent of a wall on the border, ask yourself how many illegal immigrants arrive at the White House or prison by air. That is how 46 percent of illegal immigrants arrive in the United States. Even a perfect solution on the southern border only solves about half of our problem. We need border security, not a wall.Glenn GraySchenectady A recent Gazette article highlighted the efforts of Jessica Brennan, a social worker at Rosendale Elementary School, to reach out to meet the food needs of students who need a little extra help. Niskayuna is a relatively affluent community, but still has 13 percent of its students living under the poverty level.Jessica runs “Nisky NOW,” which is a backpack program that provides backpacks full of food to kids in need each weekend. Deliveries by volunteer drivers are made to the kids’ homes on Thursdays or Fridays. She recently organized “Hoops for Hunger,” which was a successful food drive that helped stock the program’s pantry.Earlier this year, when my husband and I visited the school board meeting to inquire as to why our district had not become involved in the Backpack Program, we were told by district Superintendent Dr. Casimo Tangorra that there was not a need here. Hopefully, now all recognize that such a need exists. Only through efforts of people like Jessica has the district implemented the Backpack Program.” This season has again seen many teachers and school staff reaching out to provide assistance to families in their schools. We should be proud of these teachers who are contributing in spite of the fact that they are working currently without a contract. Thank God for people who care for those less fortunate.Dorothy HorstkotteNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusCuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccinelast_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Wednesday, Jan. 8

first_imgRep. Elise Stefanik is turning a blind eye to what our president has done to be impeached by Congress. Republicans insist on not believing dedicated Americans who work for our government and aren’t political.Experts on our Constitution testified not against our president, but to what our Founders laid out on the law of the land.Make no mistake. If the parties involved were turned around to a Democratic president, Republicans would protect the whistle blower at all costs. Republicans are as blind as the Sanhedrin that condemned Jesus.“Christianity Today,” an Evangelical paper started by Rev. Billy Graham, is calling for our president to be impeached. Many Evangelicals have much respect for “Christianity Today.” But it seems Elise Stefanik and Donald Trump have nothing but bad things to say about it. Trump is as immoral as one can be, and those who champion him are as immoral as he is. The Senate has already exonerated Trump without a trial as our Constitution calls for. History, and more importantly, Our Lord, will remember those who have made a mockery of our Constitution like our North Country Representative Elise Stefanik with regard to taking away our laws as laid out by our Forefathers.Gary Philip GuidoRotterdamSantabarbara is responsive, effectiveI am writing in response to Jennifer Richards’ Dec. 21 letter (“Santabarbara is far left and ineffective”). Angelo Santabarbara has been an active, engaged representative of his district in the state Assembly. I work very closely, in a non-partisan way, with Assemblyman Santabarbara on many fronts, and he has never disappointed with his availability, advocacy and concern about the issues facing his community.As an educator in a school district in Angelo’s district, I feel he has delivered on his promise of providing the districts in his region with the funding necessary to provide the best publicly funded education our state can provide; even in tight budget years.He provides his district with bullet aid, above and beyond what is allotted by the state, to help maintain programs and to make sure our students have what they need to succeed.He has worked tirelessly to advocate for citizens of our state who have autism. His work on this issue has resulted in the passage of several laws that improve the lives of our fellow New Yorkers who live with autism. Finally, Angelo has also worked tirelessly for veterans who live in our community.Angelo Santabarbara is a dedicated member of the New York State Assembly who represents a district that does not include southern Saratoga County. As a citizen of Burnt Hills, I encourage you to seek the contact information for your representatives, Sen. Jim Tedisco and Assemblywoman MaryBeth Walsh to advocate on your behalf.Michael LibertucciSchenectadyIt’s time to get past political polarizationThe clamjamfry has sent a clarion message to the clerisy that the mare’s nest called the Russian collusion is just a chimera.Now we have to jettison the dog’s breakfast known as the Ukraine quid pro quo if we wish to return to the halcyon days of the Nixon and Clinton administrations — a time when the word “polarization” was used only in reference to seekers of the Northwest Passage.Yes, yes, Hillary Clinton did claim the impeachment of Bill was “a vast right wing conspiracy,” and Carville wanted to drag a dollar bill through a trailer park of “deplorables.” Clinton committed perjury and Nixon pulled the trigger for the Saturday Night Massacre. But these days, we have a political smackdown every day the New York Times prints a fresh fish wrapper.So if you want your morning rag to induce relaxation and snoring, elect Joe Biden. Instead of ground and pound, The New York Times and The Washington Post will have hide and hype. All the good news that’s fit to print.Joe NialClifton ParkCreate a statue park in SchenectadyI am in complete agreement with James A. Wilson’s Jan. 1 letter (“Put Lady Liberty back where she belongs”). I can think of no intelligent, nonpartisan, patriotic reason not to.I can think of a lot of petty, mean-spirited, biased things to say about the people who hid the statue away, stored in some dank warehouse, and then plopped her, unrefurbished and unannounced, at an ugly, unsafe, unpatriotic piece of leftover parking lot at Erie and Union. I will save those kinds of thoughts for future opines on the national political entanglement.I’d go a step beyond Mr. Wilson: Create a sculpture garden. Untuck Ms. Tubman and Sec. Seward from their hidey hole next to the library.Free Misters Edison and Steinmetz from their hellish location on Erie Boulevard. Has any pedestrian walked by that spot since Edison and Steinmetz were alive and the workers all lived in Schenectady and walked to GE? Gateway/Liberty/Freedom Park would be a great location for all three sculptures. If Frog Alley is ever completed, it would complement the area even further.Dick CurtisScotia Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionStefanik and Trump mock Constitution Tired of Gov. Cuomo wasting tax dollarsI’m tired of politicians thinking they know better than we do. This applies to many things, but one big one is spending our money.They love to spend our money, and if they run out, they just raise taxes and keep spending.Gov. Andrew Cuomo is writing more checks we can’t cash. He wants high-speed rail between Albany and Buffalo (The Gazette, Dec. 28). Why? Apparently because other people have it. No cost/benefit analysis provided. His famous, frightening words: “This technology is too expensive, too difficult, and will take too long. That’s not an acceptable attitude for New York.”Think about that. If something is too expensive for you, what do you do? If it’s too difficult, what do you do? Apparently, the answer is to have somebody else pay for it, and no matter how hard it is, the taxpayers will persevere. Cuomo, stop wasting our money.Bill DenisonBurnt HillsLook to Jesus in seeking world peaceSuch beautiful messages, such beautiful prayers, such beautiful songs. What if we followed Jesus’s loving teachings 365 days a year, rather than one?What if the United States reduced our 20,000 nukes by a few thousand a year like we pledged to decades ago, rather than bomb countries like Iraq and Syria, or threaten countries like Iran or Korea, which don’t even have one nuclear weapon, (per U.N. inspections)?“Imagine” if, following President Eisenhower’s warning, we called out the corporate military industrial congressional complex by refusing to vote for all the political elite who just increased the destructive, consumptive, imperial war funding.One-hundred-thousand brave soldiers defied orders during the great Christmas truce in 1914.Let’s stand for love, not hate. Let’s demand peace, not war.  After all, what would Jesus do?Peter LookerGlenvilleHave police handle campus sex abuseWhy do we even have a newspaper article (Gazette’s Dec. 28 “Report looks at colleges’ handling of sex assault cases”) reporting on colleges’ handling of sexual assault accusations?The last I knew, sexual assault was a crime. Isn’t it totally inappropriate and unacceptable for college personnel or administrations to be dealing with processing and deciding the facts and resolution of a legal crime?M. B. GuidarelliSchenectadycenter_img More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

Prices up on Furlong first-phase flats

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Match of the day

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The market in minutes

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Ken’s Croydon call-in

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Home Office lands at Manchester airport

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Polished performer

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