Letters: 12/28/17

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On the VA

Regarding Veterans’ Affairs wait-list woes, VA health care scandals are going to happen again and again and again because government ownership of the means of production doesn’t work. And it won’t work regardless of how many rules Congress makes, how many tax dollars are thrown at the VA, which party controls Congress and the White House, or who the Secretary of Veterans Affairs is. It is the reason the Soviet Union collapsed. It is the reason government schools achieve mediocre results. It makes VA health care less than what our military veterans deserve.

To provide the health care our veterans deserve, we must end government ownership of the means of production for their health care. Sell off the VA hospitals, move VA doctors, nurses and other health care professional into private practice, and give veterans cash to purchase their own health care.

Chuck Wright/Westminster

Tax breaks for wealthy should be reduced

The only fair tax is one that somebody else pays.

There is little argument that the federal tax code has become too complex. This is largely due to people and companies figuring out how to get around the intent of tax policy so the response is more complications. Not sure how a new tax policy will avoid this.

Taxes are needed to provide services. Polices impact how much money should be raised.

There are serious differences of opinion on what tax rates should be for businesses and individuals. There are two types of opinions. Those linked to party politics and those of non-partisan experts.

We are being told by some that the new tax bill will stimulate business and raise the income of everyone. This has not worked in the past and refuted by numerous independent economists. When implemented in the past, this approach seems to have been a major contributor to the current unholy income and standard of living divide. This divide is partially responsible for the large need for public assistance.

Several CEOs of large corporation have stated that the tax reduction they would receive will not cause them to hire more employees. The savings will go to stockholders. 

The following is some of what I have read (I agree not everything in print is accurate):

It is certain that the benefits to lower- and middle-income taxpayers will sunset in 2023 while the breaks to the wealthy and businesses will continue forever and ever.

A lot of the impact depends on individual situations and whether the final bill strips health insurance from millions of people. Those losing ACA insurance will have insurance rate increases that more than offset tax reductions.

Not all provisions are bad including deductions for medical expenses (these will increase if you lose your ACA insurance, expanded child care tax credits, adoption tax credit, maintaining charitable deductions from IRAs and maintaining 401K and IRAs).

State and local taxes (property tax for example) might not be deductible — the details are still being discussed. Mortgage interest deduction might or might not be retained. Those in the housing sector are concerned.

Colleges are likely to pay more taxes. Student loan interest will not be deductible. While scholarships will not be taxed, stipends for graduate students will be. Many universities face serious problems if these provisions become law.

Some are concerned that increasing the standard tax deduction will result in a reduction in charitable donations because tax deductions will be smaller.

The increasing number of seniors will be hurt badly just when they are likely to need more life-saving health care.

Bob Norris/Longmont

Happy winter solstice

There is a man in Boulder — tall, thin, long-bearded and hood-shrouded — most would call, “ homeless.” His “home” is the streets of Boulder.

He walks night and day, every day in rain, snow and shine… a white plastic bucket in one hand, a 3-foot grab pole in the other. 

He picks up trash systematically, methodically… all the detritus rich people drop. As he does this every day, he checks the parking meter slots just in case someone forgot to pick up a quarter.  It was not much, but I handed him $5.

We stopped. I thanked him. He said, “Thank you. I do this for people like you.”

Gulp. Mindfulness like this is humbling, breathtaking.

I don’t know his name, but if ever the Winter Solstice Spirit could be epitomized during this season, this man — as people rush around in their Porsches, Beamers, attending churches not seeing the forest for the trees — this man sheds light upon us all.

Happy winter solstice.

Phil Brittin/Boulder