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The planet and the debt

EDITOR: It’s easy to envy folks who have more than I do. But, really, as long as I have enough, I don’t care if rich folks can leave $22 million to their kids tax-free. What I care about is my kids. They’re going to be left with a massive national debt, and they’ll have to pay for it with higher taxes, fewer benefits and no social safety net.

They’re also going to be left with a planet that is too hot and violent to live on.

Barack Obama was slowly but steadily bringing the deficit down. He was also working to slow down the rise of the average global temperature. And that has changed too with the present administration. When rich people leave their kids $22 million tax-free, don’t they care that the planet will be uninhabitable for them? It seems pretty foolish to me.

And you know what they say about a fool and his money.

RANDY JONES

Santa Rosa

Middle-class tax breaks

EDITOR: All I see in the paper is that the new tax law gives breaks to the “rich.” I haven’t seen any actual details of the law. As usual it seems that you haven’t read the law, so I did.

It provides some help for the middle class: doubling the standard deduction to $24,000, doubling the child credit to $2,000, allowing use of 529 funds for private grade schools and high schools, a $10,000 deduction for state taxes (that would seem aimed at the middle class).

Close to half of Americans pay no income tax. You can’t get lower than zero, and this law doesn’t seem to change that.

So the rich and corporations get a break. Good, maybe they will stay in the U.S. and hire Americans. It seems the problem in your eyes isn’t about taxes but about redistribution and continued division of Americans into us and them.

Columnist Ron Lieber needs therapy for his rich envy. He is so upset that the rich get to contribute to their children’s 529 college funds (“529 Plans let wealthy save for private school,” Dec. 24). So can everybody else. The rich don’t get preferential treatment.

Read the law. Quit the us vs. them, and get Lieber to go to therapy.

ROGER DELGADO

Sebastopol

Health bill hearings

EDITOR: In a Dec. 23 letter, Don Waltenspied said the Affordable Care Act was “jammed through Congress” without adequate hearings or Republican input (“Did history repeat itself?”). The truth is, the act was subject to 47 public hearings and a round table before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and 53 before the Senate Finance Committee. In addition President Barack Obama invited the Republican leadership to the White House at least twice to discuss the bill, and there were more than 130 Republican amendments. If you question this, look it up yourself.

Isn’t it time the Republicans stopped lying to Americans about what happened and started bipartisan cooperation?

JERRY NEWMAN

Sebastopol

Toxic political climate

EDITOR: In my 38 years of professional work and in my private life, I have supported and worked for justice, equality and inclusion of all people to achieve a society in which we each have opportunities to improve our life situation and that of our children. I have seen the positive results of bringing people along by offering them programs, education, affordable housing, training and jobs.

The current political climate is limiting these opportunities while promoting an atmosphere of distrust and fear. American ideals are left out of the decisions made by the current administration in Washington. Lamenting this national disgrace won’t change things. We must bring the disaffected non-voters and the young into a participatory government.

Trying to influence our brother and sister citizens who voted for the current president isn’t productive, as is seen by their unwavering support for him despite all the evidence of wrongdoing and deceit. We can invigorate our system by registering young people to vote, by promoting election of responsible representatives and by fostering inclusion, thereby restoring our shared societal values and realizing a more positive future for all Americans.

SALLY C. EVANS

Cloverdale

Dubious claims

EDITOR: In my experience, the more someone feels it necessary to pontificate about how great their accomplishments are, how much they know, how smart they are or how much everyone admires them, the less likely that any of those things are actually true. An argument could certainly be made that this observation is applicable to the current resident of the White House.

In a similar vein, don’t you find it just a little suspicious when someone constantly, and often out of context, insists that they didn’t do something? For example, in a recent interview with a New York Times reporter, Donald Trump stated 16 times during the 30-minute session, without being specifically asked about it, that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia. Hmm, 16 times. As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

MIKE BEAVERS

Santa Rosa

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