Letters to the Editor

Letter writers sound off on tax reform

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., right, discussed the Republicans’ proposed rewrite of the tax code for individuals and corporations at the Capitol on Sept. 27.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., right, discussed the Republicans’ proposed rewrite of the tax code for individuals and corporations at the Capitol on Sept. 27. Associated Press

Stop lying about death tax

Once again, our tax code is being redesigned and purportedly streamlined. Currently, a perennial old chestnut is being paraded before us: an assurance to vanquish, once and for all, the dreaded death tax.

When my husband died, I was terrified that the assets we had worked so hard to accumulate would be gobbled up by a greedy Uncle Sam. But I learned that every penny of my husband’s estate would be exempt from taxation since it fell far below the $5 million threshold before any death tax is due. Everyone I know will be exempt as well, since none of us are multi-millionaires.

Our representatives in Washington attempt to appeal to our compassion by claiming that the death tax is a job-killing burden on family-owned farms and small businesses. But according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, only 50 family farms and small businesses in our whole country are large enough to owe this tax. Ninety-nine percent of Americans won’t benefit one iota from the elimination of the death tax.

We, the people, should contact our representatives in Washington and demand they stop lying about the death tax. We, the people, deserve to make informed voting decisions based on the truth.

Lois Gillespie

Lexington

Giveaway to the rich

The “tax reforms” that congressional Republicans support are a huge giveaway for billionaires and large corporations. While adding drastically to the debt, they give massive tax windfalls to their biggest individual and corporate donors. The losses will be cuts to services that the middle class relies on, like Social Security and Medicare. And there won’t be money to invest in America’s future — its infrastructure and innovation.

Subsidizing corporations does not create jobs. Instead, money goes to stock buybacks, monopoly expansion, CEOs, shareholder rates and lobbyists. While shaving off jobs, international companies build factories in low-wage countries and shift profits overseas to avoid taxes. Instead of 35 percent, the real corporate tax rate is 15 percent, if that, once tax loopholes and accounting tricks are factored in.

The economy is already doing well. The rich are not suffering and businesses in general are profitable. Do we want to underwrite a Wall Street bubble? The middle class and low-paid workers will lose more ground if proposed tax cuts are made. Health care and life-saving Medicaid funds will be diminished. Those just getting by will suffer alongside the middle class.

If you are not very rich, you should be very worried.

Margaret Gardiner

Danville

Budgeting lessons

Most Americans realize that running deficits and increasing our debt, now over $20 trillion, can be a dangerous government policy. They know they must live within their means and not incur too much debt.

During the debate over tax cuts, some will say the cuts must be “paid for” by spending cuts or other tax increases.

Can we agree that I spend my money more wisely than you would spend my money, and that government will spend our money less wisely than you or I?

When government spends money, the decisions are made by politicians and bureaucrats. Their decisions have more to do with keeping their own jobs and putting themselves in more favorable positions than what is best for the citizens they ostensibly serve.

When government reduces taxes, that money stays with those families and businesses who worked for it. It is their money. They will spend or invest it in ways that bring the most benefit to them which will cause our economy to grow more than if government collects and spends it. Spending cuts are the only “pay fors” that should be included. Tax increases in other areas should be off the table.

Ray Davis

Lexington

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