Companies are giving back | Dec. 28, letter
Taking the bad with the good
The letter writer takes a jab at the Times for not mentioning the bonuses supposedly given employees due to the Donald Trump tax plan. His sources are TV and Facebook, which we all know are very reliable. Conveniently left out of the letter was the fact that both AT&T and Wells Fargo, the bonus givers, announced layoffs of 1,000 and 900 employees respectively just before announcing the bonuses. The sources for this were AT&T and Wells Fargo. So before we go about patting Trump on the back for helping employees get a bonus, let’s consider the cost to those who have lost their jobs to pay for it.
Ray Day, Spring Hill
To beat Trump, think like his supporters
Dec. 27, commentary
U.S. as world’s piggybank
Opinions like that of Andrés Miguel Rondón remind us why we voted for Donald Trump. We are tired of being the world’s monetary bank, the army that protects the world and services every disaster across the globe, yet is criticized for everything we do. The United States is in debt largely because we give billions every year to countries across the world who feel free to tell the United States what to do and when to do it.
Rondón should return to his native Venezuela and fix his country. Before he leaves Madrid, maybe he can help the Catalan people who have been oppressed by the Spanish government.
Pat Dalton, Clearwater
U.S. says it negotiated $285M cut in U.N. budget | Dec. 26
Meaning of generosity
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley says U.S. generosity toward the United Nations is unappreciated, citing the vote by many nations against the U.S. position about moving its embassy to Jerusalem. Obviously she doesn’t know the meaning of generosity. If you’re being generous, you can’t attach a bill to your generosity.
Joe Jones, New Port Richey
Corrosive influence of cash
C-SPAN’s Washington Journal aired a presentation on Dec. 21 with two political experts as the guests who were there to give grades for the job that the two houses of the U.S. Congress have earned so far.
One guest, James Thurber, a distinguished professor of government at American University and founder of the Presidential and Congressional Center, provided an overall grade of D-minus for both the House and the Senate.
Ultimately, a caller from Tampa stated on air: "The poor grades which the House and the Senate, both Republicans and Democrats, have earned … arise from their necessity to answer to and spend 75 percent of their time drumming up large campaign contributions from wealthy donors who largely … profit at the expense and loss of the vast majority of U.S. citizens, leaving only 25 percent of their time doing a very poor job legislating."
The caller continued: "This corrupt plutocracy all resulted from the three Supreme Court rulings of Buckley vs. Valeo (1976) equating the graft of big money in political campaigns to freedom of speech; Citizens United vs. FEC (2010) opening the door to super PACs and then McCutcheon vs. FEC (2014) opening the door to dark money in political campaigns."
Immediately in response to this caller’s statements, Thurber stated: "He should be on C-SPAN. He hit the nail right on the head."
So, in today’s choices between Republicans or Democrats, one can only, for the most part, simply "pick your poison."
John I. Campo, Tampa
Industries counting tax law benefits
A successful formula
In a shameful display of anti-Trumpism, this Associated Press article states the benefits of the 2017 tax reform to the categories of businesses and employers, but seems to feel obligated to put in negative disclaimers:
• "Yet mainstream economists have expressed mainly doubts that workers will benefit much from corporations’ lower tax burdens."
• And in speaking of tech companies: "But their employees may not have cause to rejoice: CFRA analyst Scott Kessler predicts that tech companies will use most of the money they repatriate to buy back their stock and pay shareholder dividends."
One can always find "analysts" who will say what you want to hear. I assume that’s the reason the AP didn’t interview well-known economist Lawrence Kudlow for its article.
In an article in Time in September, Kudlow and co-author Brian Domitrovic wrote about the success of the tax cuts made during the Kennedy/Johnson and Reagan presidencies. The following positive observations are about the benefits to our economy that came from tax cuts like those included in the 2017 reform:
• Given that his spending had proved a flop (on his campaign promise to "get this country moving again"), Kennedy … (initiated) a plan to cut income tax rates across the board, from 20 percent to 30 percent apiece. As Kennedy’s tax-rate cut … was … implemented … the nation embarked upon an eight-and-a-half-year, uninterrupted run of growth at just over 5 percent a year.
• As president in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan said repeatedly that his own tax cuts were taken from the Kennedy model. The major tax-rate cut of 1986, which took the top income tax rate down to a five-decade low of 28 percent, passed the Senate 97-3, as the nation enjoyed a long run of growth comfortably over 4 percent per year.
• The Kennedy-Reagan policy mix of tax rate cuts in the context of a strong dollar remains untried in the 21st century, a now nearly 16-year period of unprecedented economic sluggishness.
The two greatest political figures of the last 60 years gave us the model we need today to set our great nation back in its natural groove of growth again.
Terry Kemple, Brandon