Serve the people first

In a hastily prepared document with scribbles in the margins, Senate Republicans have joined their House counterparts to assure the public that permanent tax cuts for the wealthy will mean jobs and bigger paychecks for the middle class.

But the Paradise Papers document that the wealthy continue to find ways to remove their money from the US economy. And in a meeting with corporate executives in November, President Trump’s Chief Economic Advisor, Gary Cohn, saw few of them raise their hands when asked if they planned to use the gains from a lower corporate rate to reinvest here.

A number of Republican lawmakers have admitted publicly that their wealthy donors are demanding the reduction of the corporate tax rate, thus driving their frenzy to deliver.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley was quoted in The Des Moines Register in early December saying that abolishing the estate tax "recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies." This shows a complete disconnect from the reality that millions of Americans are working more than one job to pay bills, cover insurance costs, pay off student loan debt, and more.

The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation released its findings last week, concluding that the Tax Cut and Jobs Act will fall $1 trillion short of paying for itself. This leaves Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other programs at grave risk in years ahead to make up the difference.

It seems that serving the people vs. corporations and the wealthy should not be a partisan issue. As Congress works on resolution of the House and Senate bills, Americans still have an opportunity to tell our leaders to serve the people first, not wealthy donors, and not corporations.

Molly Gerald

Lompoc

Blame the GOP, not Trump

Virtually everything Donald Trump has done as President has been harmful and will take time and great effort to eventually fix, especially in terms of healthcare, education, the environment, foreign policy, and general assistance to the middle class and the poor.

Trump, his appointments, and his entire personal entourage are easy to strongly dislike for their values and lifestyle. But he appealed enough to a latent sense of prejudice among too many voters, though not a majority, to get elected through our arcane electoral system.

Perhaps he's teaching Democrats that their habit of taking the high ground has less value than it used to. Note Alabama Christians' support for a middle aged predator of underage girls. However, Trump could not have been President without Republicans having chosen him, the worst of the bunch, from among 17 possible nominees, two or three of whom might well have been decent presidents.

And the Republican Congress has once again generated a tax plan that primarily benefits the wealthy, those most able to easily pay higher taxes. And they will eventually try to cut safety net programs as a way to reduce the deficit.

Finally, the Republican Party has long drawn upon the prejudice of voters to get elected. Trump wasn't the first to appeal to our worst instincts; he was simply more in touch with the degree to which prejudicial feelings are still deeply ingrained in too many of us. And thus he was able to get the votes of many of the very people who will be hurt most by Republican rule.

So let's try to lower our blood pressure whenever we see or hear him speak. It's not really Trump we should blame. It's the Republican party itself that's the real culprit.

Jack Miles

Santa Maria

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