Tax cuts would benefit a few at the expense of the many

At a time when things weren’t as bad as they are now, social critic George Carlin did a standup routine about the U.S. economy being rigged in favor of the wealthy few. He declared, “They call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it!”

Today it’s even worse, as 40 years of stagnant wages have left many, if not most, working-class families unable to make ends meet, while wealthy corporations and individuals have never had it so good. The top 1 percent in the U.S. now own a stunning 77 percent of the wealth. And corporate after-tax profits are at record levels (clearly indicated by U.S. stock markets at record highs).

But they want more.

Urged on by Republican billionaires, Donald J. Trump and Republican Congressional leaders (including Rep. Greg Walden) are shamelessly and deceitfully promoting tax cuts for the wealthy in the name of “tax relief for the middle class,” supposedly to promote economic growth and higher wages.

It will do nothing of the sort.

Simple logic and today’s corporate behavior belies them. Our major corporations are awash in cash with profits from advances in technology and cheap labor at home and abroad. But they are hardly hiring more workers and raising wages. Instead, they are investing in stock buy-backs to increase stock values, and they are investing in even more automated and computerized labor-saving equipment and systems.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the proposed tax giveaway will blow a $1.7 trillion hole in the national debt. And that will inevitably trigger calls by conservatives to cut social programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

It is past time for us to demand and get tax reform that transfers wealth from the top 1 percent to working families, that stops the tax evasion revealed most recently by the “Paradise Papers,” and that puts our economy on a sound footing.

A good step would be to deny Rep. Walden another term in office. And then let’s all join together and define a vision and a plan to bestow economic justice on all hard-working Americans.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

No need to raise a ruckus over church’s tract

Just a brief comment on “Letters” and the commentary written by Megan Kendall which appeared in Monday’s paper, Nov. 6.

First I would like to say that Chris Burk’s letter was “right on.” The Letter/Commentary/OpEd to which he referred should have been sent to the CHURCH who passed out the tracts in the candy — not to the paper. First, if her child goes to church or/and Sunday School, they are exposed to teaching along this line regularly, along with the message that God loves him/her and gave His son on a cross so you would not have to worry about hell! End of story.

If he/she does not go to church or Sunday School, it would have been better for her to discard the tract, discuss it with her child from HER point of view and then write the church that distributed them — not to try to “raise a ruckus” in the whole town about the matter.

Alberta Bailey

Baker City

Criticisms of trick-or-treat tract are reasonable

Organized religion isn’t really my thing. I have my own religious beliefs and do my utmost to keep them personal, only asking that others show the same respect. The importance of this respect was recently fortified by the actions (or mis-actions) of a local Baptist Church. Not the normal case of disrespectfully pushing a religious agenda into other people’s faces. This time they chose children as a target, using candy as a tool.

I wanted to thank Megan Kendall for her thorough commentary and criticism, echoing my own feelings on the matter. I also wish to respond to the four questions Chris Burk asked in the Nov. 8 letter “Editorial on Halloween tract created unnecessary debate.”

“What was the motive behind the editorial board’s decision to publish the initial article, “Tricks, treats and a tract?” Not being an editorial board member I can’t answer that but am thankful they did. Bad behavior/decisions, by any entity, has always been fodder for news and public discourse — a church being no exception.

“Who is the editorial board to dictate what churches should or shouldn’t do, especially when they have a First Amendment right to do it?” I believe the newspaper has that same “First Amendment right” and can “suggest” a change in bad decisions/behavior if they so feel.

“Would our fine residents even be arguing/debating this matter online or in the newspaper had it not been for the inflammatory message of the initial editorial?” I believe word of mouth is as powerful as any news story. Not being “online” and unaware of any ongoing debate on the matter I would find it disturbing that anyone would defend the targeting of children with religious propaganda. I did not find the editorial “inflammatory.” I saw it as informative.

As to the last question (way too long to repeat) — Suffice it to say that visiting the church for the whys and the reasons seems a moot point, the offense and “public interest” speaks for itself.

Funny that not once as a child did I find a tract in my Halloween bag. Peace!

Mike Meyer

Baker City