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When we can discuss

As he said after the Las Vegas massacre, the president of the United States repeated that the church shooting in Texas isn't the time to talk about gun control. He pointed out that this tragedy was the result of a mental health problem "at the highest level."

Surely he has a point: He and his Congress refuse to discuss the proliferation of military-style rifles among the gun-loving public, claiming the Second Amendment makes it a "right" not to be touched, but have any of these shooters qualified as part of "a well-regulated militia"? An AR-15 is not suitable for killing a deer, but it does an amazing job of wounding and killing humans.

If this is not the time to seek controls prohibiting the sale and possession of such efficient people-killing machines, when would it be? Is the "highest level" of our government suffering a mental illness which prevents them from an honest look at this problem? How many more people will have to die before steps are taken to restrict the use of such weapons to our military and police? When will the time be right?


Little Rock

Found inappropriate

The letter of Floyd Hopson, thanking Jesus for the Trump presidency, raises an interesting paradox (unless it was meant as a joke): the strong support for Trump by the religious right.

I find including Jesus and Trump in the same paragraph very inappropriate. Jesus was the exact opposite of Mr. Trump: humble, poor, chaste and forgiving. Mr. Trump is boastful, immensely rich, twice-divorced, bragged about groping women, and vindictive. Can somebody explain to me what is so wonderful on Mr. Trump from the "religious" point of view? Can they be just right-wing, with a very thin veneer of religion?



Address panhandling

As a frequent patron to the River Market District, a recent incident gives me great pause to continue to enjoy the many fine restaurants and music venues.

Without great detail, suffice it to say my wife and I parked across from a major hotel with our destination a half a block away. We were greeted on the sidewalk by a staggering and seemingly intoxicated man with whom we chose to avoid to interact. The man became very assertive in his attempt to engage us and upon being further ignored, he began to shout obscenities unsuitable for print. Feeling threatened and not wishing for confrontation, we continued to scurry around the corner, thankful for the railing separating the sidewalk and street.

This is a real situation that in my opinion needs some serious addressing. Can the city, police and businesses large and small come together to address the panhandlers and intrusive dangerous behaviors? I believe it to be significant enough of a problem that it detracts from patronage. It simply is not safe. Many people will not or rarely go to the area for fear of being mugged or worse. Such a shame as it has much to offer.



Full of same snake oil

Last week, the GOP unveiled its new tax plan and to no surprise, it was chock-full of the same stale dogma and snake oil the Republicans have been peddling for years. Slashing tax rates for the wealthy and most especially real estate tycoons. Let's remember, real estate is where Mr. Trump makes his money, and he remains the only presidential candidate of either major party who has refused to release their tax returns in 40 years. I think this is a reason why: because it would show how much he would benefit.

The GOP plan also gets rid of the alternative minimum tax, which is paid primarily by upper-income families with lots of deductions. According to a leaked copy of Mr. Trump's 2005 return, the AMT, as the tax is called, amounted to the vast majority of what Mr. Trump actually paid in taxes that year. The plan also does away with the estate tax, which will greatly benefit just 0.2 percent of the population, but result in a loss of $269 billion in revenue over a decade.

The plan also blows a giant hole in the budget deficit, but the usual noise you hear from Republicans about that has disappeared. But if they are successful in passing this scheme, in a couple of years you can bet they will be coming back saying spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid has to be slashed in order to rein in the deficit.

And while the plan doubles the standard deduction, it cuts out many other deductions used by the middle class, like the state and local tax deduction. So, needless to say, the Republican talk of helping the middle class is nothing more than what it seems comes out of the mouth of White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders each and every day: one big fat lie after another.


Little Rock

Fair deal for Arkansas

Stock markets and corporate profits are booming, but the boom does not reach most of us here in Arkansas. And when we don't have money, we don't go to restaurants, buy new cars, renovate our houses, or start new businesses. Which means that the economy in Arkansas stands still while Wall Street and Silicon Valley race forward.

Sadly, though, our congressional representatives insist that giving tax breaks to coastal CEOs will somehow benefit the people of Arkansas. Apparently their one idea is cutting government investments in school lunches, roads, health care, and veterans so the rich can pay less tax. Period. No other ideas.

But it used to be different. Back in the day, politicians represented the people of their states, not just their campaign contributors and party leaders. In the past, Arkansas voters sent people to Washington to collect taxes from the few wealthy, powerful people profiting the most at the national level, and invest those federal dollars in the regular people back home. Voters used to ask their congressional delegation, "What federal money are you bringing home to Arkansas?" And elected officials used to photograph themselves cutting ribbons on new schools, highways, and veterans training programs. Voters simply didn't re-elect the ones who came home empty-handed.

It was a fair deal for Arkansas that worked well for generations. Let's try it again.


Little Rock

Editorial on 11/09/2017

Print Headline: Letters

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