Tax reform and a high five – help me understand

By Reade Brower | Nov 23, 2017

The House of Representatives has passed a tax reform bill and Republicans are high-fiving.

Hailed as a major victory though 13 Republicans did not endorse it and zero Democrats voted for it, it is legislation that will affect every American citizen and business owner. It was reported that, in the next 10 years, half the benefits will go to the top 1 percent.

The bill, introduced in early November, was pushed through two weeks later; without enough time to do any kind of solid research or have any bipartisan debate. The bulk of the benefits will be for corporations, whose rates fall from 35 percent to 20 percent, with the costs picked up by the middle class, indirectly through diminished services and loss of tax deductions.

The people who need it the least will benefit the most – help me understand why this is a good idea. The estate tax exemption doubles from $5.5 million to $11 million and then goes away completely in 2024. The new “reform” does away with the alternative minimum tax, enacted 50 years ago to prevent excessive tax-dodging.

The tax on passive income (like the kind President Donald Trump has from his giant real estate holdings) is cut to 25 percent, from the current 39.6 percent if you are in the upper bracket.

The top 1 percent already owns 90 percent of America; the notion that some trickle-down economics is going to help the poor and middle class is a broken glass that doesn’t hold water. Common sense says that giving a $1,000 tax benefit to the middle class stimulates the economy and the trickle-up effect will allow the rich to prosper. Giving the rich another $10,000 doesn’t create commerce; they don’t use it to buy cars, clothes or go out to dinner – they already have money to do those things. They simply add it to their portfolios.

Corporations' making more money does not trickle down to the lower and middle classes; who gets the dividends – the CEO’s and upper classes who have stock holdings.

Studies show most middle-class families will see a decrease, but that decrease goes away in five years, unlike many of the permanent decreases for the wealthy.

Though the tax codes are simplified (one thing I like), the itemized deductions that go away include the deduction of state income taxes, medical expense deductions, college interest deductions and several others that help middle-class Americans.

The bottom line is, the cost for these reforms will be about $1.4 trillion over 10 years, or $140 billion a year. While economists predict some growth in the economy, it will not be anywhere close to covering the costs.  With 75 percent of the benefits going to businesses, the 25 percent going directly back to individuals is lopsided, especially when you consider this will be inverted when it comes to who pays for these reforms.

When the pundits for tax reform to benefit the rich pontificate that the top 1% percent pay 60 percent of the tax burden, they fail to say these 1 percent own 90 percent of the assets – this tax reform does not reform anything, it simply puts more burden on the people who can afford it the least.

Tax reform is needed, but it is hard to understand why the American people can’t see this for what it is: tax relief for the rich, with scraps handed out to the “others.” Those scraps may feed you tomorrow, but middle America will be paying for them for years.

Think about it; this is a cross between a credit card scam and a Ponzi scheme. When the credit card companies give cards with credit limits that have no basis in reality, spending occurs and the endorphins created are uplifting; at least momentarily.

Spending money we don’t have and then have to pay back is the sobering fact; if the tax relief for middle-class Americans is temporary and the bulk of paying back the $1.4 trillion falls on the backs of ordinary people, the results should be clear -- this is not a good deal for regular people.

Here is a sobering fact; if it is not good for the regular people, it is not good for the country. We need a long-term, sustainable plan that benefits the middle class and makes us stronger through trickle-up theory; trickle-down has been tried and created huge deficits. On the other hand, under President Bill Clinton, surpluses were achieved by giving tax breaks and incentives to those who needed them and used them to stimulate an economy that fueled and created surpluses.

Let me know why this is a good idea and help me understand.

We need our politicians to be better than this; we need them to be “for the people.”

“Men are capable of greater things than they perform. They are sent into the world with bills of credit, and seldom draw to their full extent.”

--- Horace Walpole, novelist and essayist (1717-1797)


Editor's note: This column was corrected Nov. 30, 2017, to reflect the accurate yearly estimated cost, according to the Congressional Budget Office, of $140 billion, or $1.4 trillion across 10 years.

Comments (28)
Posted by: Dale Hayward | Dec 04, 2017 21:01

Ken: Anytime at your pleasure. I will be sure to come in peace. Look forward. Regards, Dale

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Dec 04, 2017 18:08

I agree Dale.  It is one's attitude about this life and how any person chooses to life it.  Full, auto pilot, or even a pity party.  Each of us is an individual which hopefully makes one big human family.  Where we are all equal in our cores.  The after life is equal for everyone.  Haven't met anyone yet who's vessel, their soul is carried around in, last forever!


Some day, I would enjoy having a calm face to face discussion.  I have no doubt there would be issues we would agree to disagree on..... BUT, I believe in my heart of hearts, we would find many many topics that would occur with both our heads bobbing up and down like bobble head dolls!  LOL

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Dec 04, 2017 16:31

Ken: Maybe the only real equality is after life in death. Many will disagree but that is when all the money one can muster, all the health one can muster, and all the friends one can muster seems to all fade away. As long as we have any variation in class of whether rich or poor and all that makes us different we will have prejudice, jealousy and discord along the road of life. I honestly feel a lot of your ideas may have merit but I am cautious about grabbing all that you present as being the "perfect" life where people all have a chance to rise above adversity and become as successful as one might be having worked all their lives. We are all dealt a different set of circumstances and not one of us deserves to be compared to another until we have "walked a mile in their shoes". Your successes, trials, and tribulations are unique to you and I wish you the best. I just does not work for everyone.

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Dec 04, 2017 00:17

Perfect world as in a wife with MS?  Or has had Large bcell non hodgkins lymphoma.   Suppose being a drug dealer in younger days which lead to a homeless life style was one way for me to stiffen my perfect life.

Then again drinking until bodily functions not working is part of a perfect life too.

Discriminating against hiring older workers is against the law.  Period, get an employment lawyer if someone has not hired because of age. The government re-trains employees if they have a desire.  Jobs that can be done at home on a computer....coding, transcription etc.

Without getting to gross, I am sure you understand the pain of the prostate biopsies as have I.  Or having your chest opened up and a lobe of your lung removed as part of this perfect life.

I do not want a participation trophy because my life is perfect.  I wanted a tax plan that contains equality that is simplified so a person with a GED can figure it out and not need a PHD in accounting to file their taxes.


I applaud you for claiming it is unfair to judge people, because there seems to be a huge portion of the country that judges the top 1%.  There seems to be an awful lot of people that judge people who are republican or a democrat.  I wanted equality.

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Dec 03, 2017 23:15

Mr. Ken Hill: A couple of thoughts: Some of us would like to work, even in retirement, but health issues, transportation, employment requirements, bias in hiring older works, and other issues can be catastrophic even if you would be willing to volunteer. Not everyone, Ken Hill is as lucky as your dad to be able to do those things. Trying to make things to sell is another entire issue you can not apparently even understand the broad scope of buying materials, marketing, pricing, and so on. You make it sound like you have the world by the tail, however, be careful what is under that tail when you get giddy and life it up to peak with your success. I get up every morning looking forward to surviving another day filled with whatever comes my way. Trying to make the best of it, with limits is not fun, sir, and I applaud you for being the "perfect" person. I certainly hope open heart surgery, cancer, or some other illness does not take away your "perfect world". My dad worked until the day he died of leukemia and prostrate cancer. Only proves we are all not "perfect". We are all different in so many ways it is unfair for you to judge people selfishly as you are.

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Dec 03, 2017 07:29

"Republicans, who control the House, Senate, and the White House, have refused to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This program, which provides health care to nine million low-income children and pregnant women, expired on September 30th.

Instead, with the holidays fast approaching, Republicans focused on their top priority: raising taxes on the poor and middle class to give billions to the top one percent.

In the middle of a cold December night, Republicans rammed through a tax scam bill riddled with mark-ups written all over it that were literally illegible.

But when asked about reauthorizing CHIP just days before, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch had the gall to claim, “We don’t have the money” to pay for it."

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Dec 01, 2017 23:29

So, I guess the equality debate needs to go out the window and discrimination should live free!!!


I suppose once I am dead, the biggest corporation (the Federal Government) should punish my kids twice.  The time they didn't have a dad, with me working three jobs to get ahead.  The loaf of bread didn't take such a big chunk of my pay but lets let  the biggest Corporation take the biggest chunk and punish my kids twice instead of reaping the fruits of my labors.


After all, the Government is the largest corporation and giving Iran $1.3 billion dollars.  You did say large corporations hide their money over seas right?

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Dec 01, 2017 16:15

Yes, indeed, Richard.


“The US has an extraordinary ability to naturalize and accept the extreme poverty that exists even in the context of such extreme wealth,”


In the age of Trump there's no extreme that can not be normalized in the name of the corporate state.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Dec 01, 2017 14:47

Read this and weep.

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Dec 01, 2017 10:49

It is the very inequality in wealth distribution that requires inequality in taxes, Ken.  After all, when someone who makes $25,000 a year buys a loaf of bread they pay the same price as someone who makes a million, but that loaf of bread takes a much bigger bite out of the income of the working and middle class consumer than it does the economic elite.  Working people have to spend their money while the idle rich already have everything they need if not everything they want which is why they stash their wealth overseas.  That's also why consumers are the real drivers of the economy not the idle rich.  Those who must spend their money to live are far more likely to spur an economy than those who may spend it, if they feel like it.  The inheritance tax was designed to prevent an elite class of rich idlers with no purpose in life, or for their excess wealth, but to buy enough political power to maintain their position at the top of the heap.  The Republicans have sold their souls to these people and now serve no one but them, establishing themselves as the party of sycophants and corporate minions.


“In 1932, in the depths of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt called for ‘bold, persistent experimentation’ and said: ‘It is common sense to take a method and try it; if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.’ The contrasting position of Republicans then and now is: Take the method and try it. If it fails, deny its failure and try it again. And again. And again.”


An accurate observation.  The Republicans stick to a failed ideology not because it hasn't been tried before -it has- but because they are determined to destroy any semblance of a democratic, egalitarian society in favor of a hierarchy of the "right" people.  This has been obvious since Reagan shifted the tax burden on to the middle class and began it's destruction.   "Starving the beast," deliberately under funding government agencies, is their method of choice.  Even now they are once again cutting funding for embassy security overseas as they did just before the Benghazi debacle.  One wonders how much of this great nation will be left once the Republican "donors" truly become the ruling class.  For me, I agree with Roosevelt:


"I'd rather be the champion of the powerless, than the lickspittle of the powerful." -Franklin Delano Roosevelt


Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Nov 30, 2017 21:07

Judging by the increase in the stock market and my 401K I hope the tax cuts pass!  Rich or not rich.  I still say I would rather have all taxes be equal no matter how much a person makes.   Every one worries about equality but when it comes to taxes suddenly equality goes out the window!!!  Why is that??

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Nov 30, 2017 11:48

“The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we’ll all go out and spend more, and then it will trickle down to the rest of you, but that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on.” -Warren Buffett

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."  -Frederic Bastiat

“There is a convergent principle in political science known as the Director’s Law. Which states that income in a society is distributed to the benefit of the class that controls the government…  And it can be further noted that all kinds of institutions, from corporations to churches evolve in a way that promotes the best interests of those who control them.”  -Edward O. Wilson, On Human Nature

Subsidies to the Rich are SIX Times Greater Than Subsidies to the Poor

The cost of the entire Safety Net is only about ONE-SIXTH of the $2.2 trillion in tax expenditures, tax underpayments, tax havens, and corporate nonpayment, the great majority of which went to the richest Americans.

The Super-Rich are the Main Beneficiaries of Our Nation’s Prosperity

All the technology in our phones and computers started with government research at the Defense Department, the National Science Foundation, the Census Bureau, and public universities. The Internet made possible the quadrillion-dollar trading capacity of the financial industry. Google is using some of its billions to buy technologies that were built by DARPA with our tax dollars. Pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t exist without money from the taxpayers, who have provided support for decades through the National Institutes of Health, and still pay over 80 percent of the cost of basic research for new drugs and vaccines. Big firms use intellectual property law (another gift from the taxpayers) to snatch up patents on any new money-making products, no matter how much government- and university-funded research went into it.

There’s much more. The wealthiest individuals and corporations are the main beneficiaries of tax laws, tax breaks, property rights, zoning rules, patent and copyright provisions, trade pacts, antitrust legislation, and contract regulations. The largest companies benefit, despite their publicly voiced objections to regulatory agencies, from SBA and SEC guidelines that generally favor business, and from FDA and USDA quality control measures that minimize consumer complaints and product recalls. Businesses rely on roads and seaports and airports to ship their products, the FAA and TSA and Coast Guard and Department of Transportation to safeguard them, a nationwide energy grid to power their factories, communications towers and satellites to conduct online business, the Department of Commerce to promote and safeguard global markets, the U.S. Navy to monitor shipping lanes, and FEMA to clean up after them.

But instead of paying for all the taxpayer-funded benefits, S&P corporations have spent 95 percent of its profits on stock buybacks and dividend payouts to enrich their investors.

"Tax Breaks for obscene CEO bonuses ($7 billion/year)

Currently, the biggest corporations are exploiting a 20-year-old loophole that allows them to write off inflated compensation packages for CEOs, billing stock options, and performance-based bonuses to taxpayers. In 2010, the Economic Policy Institute found out that the biggest corporations cost Americans $7 billion by writing off inflated executive pay. Between 2007 and 2010, this loophole accounted for more than $30 billion in corporate welfare. According to The Guardian, fast food industry CEOs cost taxpayers $64 million through this loophole."


“A society contains a built-in blueprint for failure if the elite insulates itself from the consequences of its actions”  -Jared Diamond, “Collapse: The Ends of the World as We Know them

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Nov 30, 2017 08:32

Sleep more at night. If it's allowed at work or home, take a nap in the afternoon. You'll be amazed at how much better you'll feel. Ben Stein

Jump into the middle of things, get your hands dirty, fall flat on your face, and then reach for the stars. Ben Stein

Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that God will. Ben Stein


Of the 2/3's of corporations not paying taxes, what percentage was businesses that the profits pass through to the sole owner of the business who pays taxes of the profits of the corporation?


The profitable Corporations also pay dividends to the retired folks trying to make ends meet.  Guess we could have those corporations lower their dividend and squeeze more retirees dividend checks so retirement is even more miserable.


I hope everyone is FULLY aware the "add-ons" are no where near done yet!   The old pass it to find out what is in it comes to mind.  That is how Congress gets the bills passed.  Sausage making is the term that has been given to this process.  Yet to make sausage you need all sorts of spices and flavorings to make it taste good.


Wouldn't it be better if I paid the same amount of tax as you did?  The same amount your neighbor paid?   The same amount the corporations paid?  The same amount that Trump pays!   EQUAL EQUAL EQUAL!!!!!! Where it is not sausage, but one piece of meat still on the bone for everyone to taste!

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Nov 30, 2017 07:30

Here's a few more quotes that ring just as true, Ken.


"The evidence is that there is no clear connection between the level of taxation and the level of economic activity...  The biggest growth and prosperity we've ever had in this country was from roughly 1941 to 1973.  That was the best years we've every had and those were years of much higher taxes than we have now.  The highest rate was in the 90s during parts of the 50s, and yet we were very prosperous."  -Ben Stein, conservative economist.


"The highest economic growth decade was the 1960s. Income tax rates were 90 percent…I mean, the idea that there’s some direct connection that all these innovators are on strike because tax rates are at 35 percent on corporations, that’s just such nonsense." - Bill Gates


"Every year from 2006 to 2012, some two-thirds of U.S. corporations did not pay federal income tax, according to a Government Accountability Office study released on Wednesday. In 2012 alone, 42.5 percent of businesses that the GAO defines as large did not pay federal taxes, including 19.5 percent of big corporations that posted a profit.

Profitable U.S. corporations paid, on average, an effective federal income tax rate of 14 percent over the slightly shorter period from 2008 to 2012, the federal government watchdog found."


"But just in case anyone not making seven-figure salaries didn’t get the message that the GOP was utterly indifferent to their concerns, the Republican-controlled Senate had already tilted the playing field by stipulating that any of its meager, so-called “tax cuts” for middle-class Americans would be phased out by 2026, while the proposed tax cuts for corporations would extend into perpetuity."


Then, they went back into their bill and added a section stipulating that, should their bill expand the deficit less than expected — which is to say, should they have fewer fiscal constraints — then all unexpected revenue should be immediately spent on making corporate America’s permanent tax cuts larger, even as some middle-class families see their tax bills skyrocket.

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Nov 29, 2017 20:28

Isn't it funny how we have not learned any better then someone who made that quote who lived from 1874-1936?  What does that say about Americans?  We stink at history?  Or we just don't learn from our mistakes?


Shame on us all !!!!

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Nov 29, 2017 18:30

“The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.”
— G. K. Chesterton

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Nov 29, 2017 17:46

Feb 1, 2017 - The Internal Revenue Service has recently released new data on individual income taxes for calendar year 2014, showing the number of taxpayers, adjusted gross ... The top 1 percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes (39.5 percent) than the bottom 90 percent combined (29.1 percent).


Why should the top 1% be singled out to pay more?  I stand by my original statement of having one tax rate period!!!!   No deductions, no special interests.  Everyone pay the same percent..."make a lot pay a lot", "make a little pay a little".


Then again there could be a new system where income tax disappears and everything has a federal sales tax.  Make a lot buy a lot pay a lot.  Make a little buy a little pay a little.


I am trying to be civil, but I get the feeling the people that think the highest earners should pay a different rate are the first people in line to scream for equality.


In a recent debate on this topic with my brother-in-law, I explained I have worked for years when I was younger over 100 hours per week.  The over time was great but I worked very hard.  I asked him why I was making a big pay check was from working more then someone who chose to work only 40 hours a week.  He actually understood, when I explained while the full time worker who worked 40 hours went home and enjoyed a beer at the end of his day, I to finished up my 40 hour a week job.  The difference was, instead of going home and putting my feet up I went to my second job and worked another 40 hours.  Then every other day after my second 40 hour job I chose to go out and work part time for another 20 hours a week.  It was then my brother-in-law understood why it was unfair to be taxed at a higher rate.  I don't consider myself a 1%er, however I do know I have worked much harder then a guy that worked only the 40 hours a week and didn't work weekends.  I do not feel I should be punished for choosing to work that hard to get ahead.  Then be punished to have the government take more to pay for someone who chooses not to work.


I did not work three jobs because I was a "D" or an "R" or an "I".  I worked hard because I enjoyed it and do not mind paying the same tax rate as the guy who chose to work 40 hours a week and drink a beer at the end of his day.  Key word is "same".   Both sides are right here.....we pay too much in taxes and the tax bills being put forward are so complicated so people do not understand.  Government does that for a reason.  People are rebelling for paying too much tax so Government needs to make the bills big and complicated so people don't fully understand.  Be it the health care bill or even this tax "cut" bill.  The tax cut bill is a tax increase in the long run.  Just being sold as a tax cut.  Sort of like giving a person free heroin the first time.  Cut taxes and give the people free money today and pay for it later.


Keep it simple.  Calculate what the government needs to run today and tax everyone the same amount to balance the budget.  After all isn't that what all Americans are suppose to do?  Live with-in their means?

Posted by: Patricia Keyes | Nov 29, 2017 16:21

Clearly Mr. Walpole is a novelist and NOT an economist.

He does not understand that business owners, employees and stockholders WORK, RISK and INVEST to earn the money while employees at the IRS, the politicians at all levels of government, and the foreigners feasting on our foolishly, criminally huge handouts DO NOT. They all suck off the teat of a grossly uneducated populace that they deliberately created with their idiotic failed education policies and bloated administrations. They hold jobs they cannot be fired from, and they have nothing better to do, it seems, than to have worked the last 80 yrs to fleece us, ehem, I mean, raise taxes so high the lower income wage earners can no longer afford food, clothing or heating, never mind housing! And all at the point of a policeman's gun, with the court system corrupted to support their theft. Ask the average Maine high school graduate if they can afford to live away from home and own/maintain a used car on a "minimum wage" job in rural Maine. What a joke. It's because 50% or more of the common man's income is now siphoned away by government agencies that provide no service nor product wanted by anyone. Even with a lower wage, if they could keep more of it, and the cost of goods was lower as a result, they would do better.

Our wages DO NOT belong to the government. They belong to us. We know best how to spend it to please and properly benefit ourselves. I won't get into the evil government is now creating by outlawing charity giving. Big city govts are actually making it illegal to feed the poor in public parks. Their friends, insurance companies, are influencing laws that encourage distrust and an atmosphere of predatory lawsuits that force non-profit groups to pay exorbitant prices for liability protection. The mafia has left the streets in many cases, and moved into govt offices! There is no more primary personal responsibility than to provide food, and when necessary, clothing to one's actual family, friends and neighbors local to you. Local community giving by volunteers not only provides heartwarming social interaction, but doesn't cost a thing in government payroll costs.

It is absurd to believe that a Congressman is thriftier than a housewife, or tighter than a self-employed contractor or a small business owner!  And we resent slush funds in the millions of OUR MONEY used to pay off the victims of unwanted sexual advances by those Congressbeasts! They are criminals and should go to jail like any other rapist does.

The tax reform package will eliminate taxes for married couples earning $24K or less. The simplification of the tax code will return our right to understand our tax liability, and be able to calculate it ourselves without spending hundreds a year for accountants! I can do without THAT burden! I'd rather hire them to manage my investments and get something out of that $495/yr!

The facts, not from the Democratic Party's propaganda arm, but from the  Senate Finance Committee, courtesy of Politico's article by Brian Faler, dated 11/12/17, are that 97 MILLION middle class American families will gain roughly a $450 tax cut!  That's nearly 30% of the people!  The poorest won't pay income taxes at all, same as they do now. In 2019, those earning between $20-$30K will see a decline in their taxes of 10.4%. Those making $50-$70K will get a 7.1% decrease. Millionaires will only get a 5.3% drop in their tax rate. That's not fair, but it's something, since I never got a job from a poor man.

Yay, Rich People! Thank you for having the self-discipline and vision to save money, listen to your customers and provide them with things they need, make a plan of action that works, hire me and millions of others, and generate dividend profits for elderly people to live on now that they are too feeble to physically work! YAY! You make the world a better place!

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Nov 29, 2017 14:57

"The Senate tax bill is expected to TRIGGER A $25 BILLION ANNUAL CUT TO MEDICARE, the CBO estimated earlier this month.
THE MEDICARE CUTS AREN'T PART OF THE TAX BILL ITSELF. Instead, they are MANDATORY SPENDING CUTS that would occur BECAUSE OF THE TAX BILL'S $1.5 TRILLION INCREASE TO THE DEFICIT. THESE SPENDING CUTS ARE KNOWN AS SEQUESTER— and we know what happens to Medicare in a sequester, because it happened just a few years ago." Read for yourself what happened. "

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Nov 29, 2017 10:38

Seeing the "politician" going to "work" at the age of 88 carrying his own brief case in the halls of congress makes me wonder at what age does one stop working.  After all 'work" is a four letter word which many think is bad.  My dad worked until he was 77 for the SBA when he was forced out because he had too much time accrued and was taking Monday and Thursday and Friday off to use up his accumulated sick and vacation time.


Does retirement mean a part time job is not to be considered? Would a hobby making things to sell in craft fairs be considered a job?  I am sorry that my opinion of retirement is not to sit in a chair and wait to die.  My dad that retired at 77 is now 84 and now "works" at volunteering at the "SCORE" office. He now is sharing his knowledge in helping younger adults learn the ins and outs of business. I admire his work ethic and follow in his shoes quite frankly.  I see the joy in his ambition towards life and how his glass is not just half full but overflowing!  He is the chairman of the planning board in his town, deacon at his church, and members of many clubs such as Shriner, Rotary, etc.

I do still work and have no plans of retiring.  I strongly disagree with the notion that retirement means to stop working.  Work is a passion quite frankly.  Work should be something you get up in the morning and desire to go to do.  Not something you work all your life and can't wait to stop to retire.  Social Security was set up under much different times then now.  People live longer, so should the retirement age be set at 75, 80?  Social Security was not set up to have people retire and live off that program for more then 50% of the time the person worked feeding that program.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Nov 29, 2017 07:41

Excellent, thoughtful article.  Hopefully we can get back to CIVILITY:

"Civility is claiming and caring for one’s identity, needs, and beliefs without degrading someone else’s in the process.....(Civility) is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences, listening beyond the preconceptions, and teaching others to do the same. Civility is the hard work of staying present even with those whom we have deep-rooted and fierce disagreements. It is political in the sense it is a necessary prerequisite for civic action.  But, it is political, too, in the sense that it is about negotiating interpersonal power such as one’s voice is heard, and nobody’s is ignored."
Cassandra Dahnke and Tomas Spath

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Nov 28, 2017 23:56

Ken Hall: I assume you either have plenty of money or are still working and have plenty of money but many of us retired are living off what we thought would be plenty of money-insecurity. At what age does a person stop working? Do we work until our death bed due to ill health? Or do we just live as best we can and despise all the damn politicians that have, and always will screw up everything. No money, no health insurance, no medications, no heat, no lights, and unable to pay taxes so no house. Got to love the way life is.

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Nov 28, 2017 22:56

And when all else fails.......GET A JOB!!!!!!

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Nov 28, 2017 22:55

Then again praying works for those that believe...............

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Nov 28, 2017 22:48

Ron as you have figured out relying on Trump for programs is a sketchy proposition........So instead of relying on the government and fellow tax payers why not sponge off Citgo?

So let's not rely of the Federal Government and suck off one of those corporate tax evaders instead!

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Nov 28, 2017 18:15

"As winter weather begins to set in across the United States, federal politicians are reportedly making huge cuts to a crucial government program that provides heating assistance to the elderly and disabled. Under the GOP proposal, millions of American households will be at risk of losing heat this winter.

"As Gray TV reported recently, “President Donald Trump proposed cutting the multi-billion-dollar program as part of his budget plan. Government estimates suggest six million people rely on it to heat, cool, or weatherize their homes.”

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Nov 25, 2017 18:02

I am high-fiving my 401K increases!  Given the fact some of the stock market gains are based on the anticipation of the tax cuts.


I just wish the decisions to cut taxes were allowed, but the use of  "D" "R" "Trump" "1%" "socialist" are not allowed.   So people could read the actual bill for themselves if they choose.  Not knowing if it was a democrat or a republican based author or some heavy influenced sided think tank.

It is too bad there just couldn't be ONE tax rate for everyone and now a days every "thing" (corporations etc).  Where someone making one gazillion dollars would pay the same percentage of his income on taxes as someone who makes $1000 a year.  Everyone preachers equality.  NO tax breaks for anyone!!!!   NONE!  If you make a lot of money, you pay a lot of taxes!   If you don't make much money, you don't pay much in taxes.  Suppose that is too simple though.

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Nov 23, 2017 07:06

"Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) admitted who this bill is really for: “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again.’”


"The top 1 percent of earners would enjoy 80 percent of the tax cuts under the GOP plans, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. One analysis found that the money Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her family would receive from just one of their tax breaks could pay more than 6,000 teachers. And a news report concluded that President Trump and his family could save more than $1 billion."


"...  few could have anticipated just how gratuitously the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act violates the president’s promises to the American people. Pretending that corporate tax cuts produce huge wage gains for middle-class workers is one thing. But ending deductions that benefit veterans, indebted students, orphans, and people who suffer from rare diseases — while preserving one that benefits owners of golf courses — requires almost superhuman chutzpah."


From the beginning, it was clear that the GOP plan would deliver a windfall to the Trump family, through its abolition of the estate tax, a giant cut in the rate for pass-through companies (like the Trump Organization), and a massive reduction in the corporate tax rate (which will primarily benefit wealthy shareholders).


Understand now?

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