Don’t be duped: Trump, Republicans want to raise your taxes

first_imgAt some point, the government will need to pay its bills, through a combination of tax increases and spending cuts.Virtually any future deficit-reduction plan — except for a repeal of the Trump tax plan — would hurt most families more than his plan helps them.This chain of events has happened before.The Reagan and Bush tax cuts may have at first seemed to help the middle class and poor.But the deficits led to later cuts in education, medical research, transportation and anti-poverty programs that almost surely erased the benefits of a modest tax cut.Already, today’s congressional leaders are talking about sizable cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.Trump and his allies are feverishly trying to claim their plan really would benefit the middle class. Last week, a precursor bill barely passed the House, receiving 20 no votes from Republicans, many worried about the tax increases.Republican leaders certainly have a path to passing a tax bill, because nothing unites modern Republicans the way a tax cut does.But the opposition to the recent health care bills also started as an underdog and managed to prevail, by relentlessly talking about the bills’ effects.When enough Americans understood the truth, enough members of Congress felt pressure to vote no.The same could happen on taxes. It is starting to.Recent polls suggest the plan’s approval rating is only about 30 percent.To understand the Trump tax increases, you should first acknowledge the most admirable feature of his plan. It doesn’t aspire to be merely a tax cut. Trump’s plan would not actually cut taxes for many middle-class families. It would raise them.These families are in the minority, yes. But there are a lot of them.About 17 percent of households earning between $50,000 and $150,000 would see their taxes rise immediately, according to the only rigorous analysis so far, by the Tax Policy Center.Among households earning between $150,000 and $250,000, the share is about 35 percent.These numbers would grow over time, for reasons I’ll explain.Ultimately, the plan would be likely to hurt the finances of the vast majority of Americans.No wonder it is starting to look politically vulnerable. It aspires to be tax reform — both cuts and increases. Some deductions shrink, while rates fall, in the name of simplifying the tax code.But after this promising start, the plan commits its cardinal sin.It places the highest priority on huge tax cuts for the very wealthy.They get lower rates and get to keep cherished tax breaks, like the “carried interest” loophole.Herbert Hoover’s Republican Party wanted to put a chicken in every pot. Donald Trump’s wants to put a yacht at every private dock.Having lavished so much money on the wealthy, the tax package — or at least the vague framework that the administration has released — doesn’t have much remaining to spend on middle class and poor families.For them, the package is a mix of pluses and minuses. Their latest talking point is the notion that corporate tax cuts will create an indirect windfall for workers.Funny, though, how the wealthy get most of the direct benefits, while everyone else has to hope for indirect ones somehow to materialize.The main lesson of this year’s health care battle was the political power of facts.They don’t always win the day, but it’s better to have them as an ally than an enemy.Right now, facts are the biggest problem for Trump’s tax plan.David Leonhardt is New York Times columnist writing from a liberal progressive perspective. More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes Many face a lower tax rate, but some face a higher one, and many families lose deductions. The combination creates a lot of losers.Reduced deductions for children, for example, hurt large families, notes NYU’s Lily Batchelder.And the deduction for state and local taxes — also a target for cuts — now benefits 30 percent of households nationwide.It was the main reason for last week’s House defections, and the tensions over it haven’t been resolved.Then there are the long-term problems I mentioned earlier.First, Trump’s plan takes a skimpy approach to inflation adjustments, which will push many families into higher tax brackets over time.Second, the plan would radically increase the federal deficit, and when it comes to the deficit, what goes up must eventually come down. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe old formula for passing a big tax cut for the rich was simple: Package it with a modest tax cut for the middle class — and talk endlessly about the middle-class part.President Donald Trump and Congress are following the formula in some ways.Their plan would deliver an average tax cut of $700,000 to the nation’s 175,000 richest families. That’s enough for each to buy a new 50-foot yacht, annually.Meanwhile, Trump and other Republican leaders keep repeating “middle class,” “middle class,” “middle class.”Yet there is also a major difference between the current plan and George W. Bush’s tax cut or Ronald Reagan’s.last_img read more

Politics led to the deaths in Benghazi

first_imgAfter the attack, both Obama and Mrs. Clinton both blamed a video that little to no one had seen, when in fact the night of the attack Mrs. Clinton emailed her daughter and told her Al-Qaida had attacked our embassy.In Niger, the soldiers were on patrol in a dangerous area. There were no requests for more security. They knew there was a chance of armed conflict and they were armed. No one from the Trump administration has tried to blame a video or make any other excuse.I know as an informed reader it’s fun to watch the Democrats try to blame President Trump for what happened in Niger. Unfortunately, there’s no comparison. Obama and Mrs. Clinton were never found to be responsible for Benghazi. I believe they just ignored the requests for added security, and once the attack occurred, they denied any culpability because Obama’s re-election would be hurt if the truth ever came out.The fact is, politics led to the death of the four Americans in Benghazi and four brave Americans lost their lives. In Niger, four brave Americans lost their lives, period.Dave EdwardsHalfmoonMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesHigh-risk COVID exposure reported in Clifton ParkEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Re Oct. 31 letter, “Politics has no place in Benghazi, Niger”: The only thing that the attack in Benghazi and the attack in Niger have in common is both were carried out by Muslims and, in both cases, four Americans were killed.As Mr. Gary Guido stated, attacks happen and unfortunately people will be killed.The attack in Benghazi occurred just a week or two after the Democratic convention in 2012, at which Obama proclaimed that al-Qaida is on the run.In addition, the ambassador had requested on multiple occasions increased security. Somehow the person responsible, Mrs. Clinton, never saw the requests. How could they need more security after the president had declared Al-Qaida basically destroyed? Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Propane customers bear responsibility

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionWe have all seen articles recently denouncing a local gas company because some propane heating customers are running out of gas due to the recent weeks of very cold weather.I’m not familiar with the business practices of this particular company, but gas companies in general seem to do a very good job of keeping their customers supplied gas. When a heating account customer first begins receiving gas service from a particular company, at least one (maybe two) #420 (100 gallon) tanks are installed at the customer’s location. At this time, the customer opts for company-owned or customer-owned inventory. If the inventory is company owned, the customer isn’t charged until the next delivery and the meter on the truck determines the amount of gallons used and payable by the customer. Usually, with auto-fill service, the company makes a scheduled, periodic delivery to “top off” the tank, assuring the supply of gas.  As the colder weather approaches, the gas company “steps up” the delivery schedule based on weather-service-determined “heating degree days,” thus assuring an adequate supply in the tank. This also allows the company to reorder and keep its main tank filled to meet the demand. With customer-owned inventory, the customer can either pay for a full tank of gas and go on auto-fill or  purchase gas as they feel is needed. Under the latter, the responsibility of having gas in the tank lies with the customer. Due to human nature and many times economics, the customer fails to order enough gas to keep him going through cold spells as we have experienced lately, thus running out of gas. The gas companies do what they can to respond to an onslaught of calls requesting immediate delivery, but they’re limited to the number of deliveries they can make in a day and, on the big scale, the supply of gas they have in their own tank. So let’s not jump to more unneeded state legislation when all that’s really needed is a little more awareness and cooperation from customers.Kenneth BensonCharltonMore from The Daily Gazette:Schenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?last_img read more

No repeat of Korean War’s casualties

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion A perusal of statistics on the internet reminds us that 54,260 Americans lost their lives in the Korean War. In addition, 415,000 South Koreans were killed and 429,000 were wounded.According to this source, 1.5 million North Korean and Chinese people lost their lives. Why would anyone with an ounce of sense and any sympathy at all for their fellow human beings want to behave in a way that would bring about another catastrophe of this magnitude?FRANCIS R. TAORMINASchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:Motorcyclist injured in Thursday afternoon Schenectady crashSchenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%Schenectady department heads: Budget cutbacks would further stress already-stretched departmentsTroopers: Schenectady pair possessed heroin, crack cocaine in Orange County Thruway stopEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

Get facts, decide for yourself on sewers

first_imgHey, Burnt Hills, Ballston Lake, regarding your sewer vote. Have you seen enough signs, read enough letters to the editor or seen enough road-side signs admonishing you to “do this or don’t do that?”How about this? Get the facts and do your own thinking.Make up your own mind. How about that?David W. ChristensenBallston SpaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusGuilderland girls’ soccer team hands BH-BL first league lossEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img

Site not right for Holocaust museum

first_imgRe March 26 article, “Couple opposes planned museum”: I agree wholeheartedly with Bob and Sheila DiSarro that the Capital District Jewish Holocaust Museum does not belong in a residential neighborhood, nor should it be put next to a Catholic cemetery.Look, without a doubt the Holocaust was one of the worse cases of man’s inhumanity to man and should never ever be forgotten. This is just not the location for it.On the other hand, if Niskayuna approves this site, the Catholic Diocese could donate more land and erect a memorial for victims of sexual abuse at the hands of some of the sickest individuals in this country.Maybe it could include a wall of shame listing the names of the priests who committed these atrocities. Then again, there’s probably not enough room left in Niskayuna for such a wall.Ray WeidmanLathamMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

West Yorkshire offices: Leeds the way

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London and Chester aid DevSecs’ half-year profits

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Saudi jobseekers move into Uber gear for extra cash

first_img“A large number of Saudis have joined Uber for the part-time, flexible economic opportunity it provides,” said a company spokesman.Uber, which launched in the kingdom in 2014, acquired Dubai-based Careem in 2019 for $3.1 billion.Both Uber and Careem have hired women since the kingdom lifted its ban on female motorists in 2018.”I have paid off a third of [my wedding and car] loans thanks to Uber,” said Khaled, a 27-year-old newly-wed Saudi man.”I work 10 hours a day in addition to my other job to quickly settle my two loans.”  Topics : ‘Flexible economic opportunity’ Nearly two-thirds of all Saudis are employed by the government in secure and often undemanding white-collar jobs.But as the public sector wage bill balloons, the kingdom — pushing reforms for a post-oil era — is seeking to wean citizens off government largesse.Cultural attitudes to work are slowly changing in a country where 40 percent of Saudis are aged between 20 and 40, with a new crop of nationals working in food trucks and gas stations for the first time.Often these are second jobs to augment their incomes as high costs of living push many into debt. Like tens of thousands of Saudis looking to make extra money, 31-year-old Ahmed turned to the global giant Uber, whose drivers in the conservative kingdom had always been predominantly foreign workers.For the father of three, a salary of 8,000 riyals (US$2,133) as an employee at a private company in Riyadh was not enough to support his family and cover a monthly housing loan of 4,000 riyals.”I finish my job at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, and this is what made it difficult to find a second job,” Ahmed, clad in a white traditional thobe, told AFP.”My income after paying the monthly loan would be so limited, and we went through four years of this drought.” Burdened by a bank loan, Ibrahim Ahmed searched for years for a second job before opting for something once seen as menial in oil-rich Saudi Arabia — driving for a ride-hailing app.Such blue-collar occupations have largely been the preserve of low-income foreign workers in the formerly tax-free petro state, which long offered its citizens cradle-to-grave welfare.But Saudis are increasingly taking on what are widely seen as low status jobs in an age of dipping oil prices, as the government trims subsidies amid sluggish economic growth and high unemployment. In 2017, Ahmed sold his car to put a down payment on a new vehicle and enrolled with Uber.The company’s spokesman says it is available in 20 cities in the kingdom and employs more than 200,000 Saudi drivers.”I work for seven hours a day, five days a week, and make an average of 6,000 riyals per month from Uber,” said Ahmed, adding the second job had helped ease his financial burden.   ‘My own boss’ For years, the kingdom has been struggling to pursue “Saudisation” — a program to get firms to employ more locals.Unemployment in Saudi Arabia for the third quarter of 2019 stood at 12 percent, a marginal improvement from 12.7 percent in 2018, according to official figures.”Young Saudis are accepting jobs they previously would not have accepted,” Abdullah al-Maghlouth, a member of the Saudi Economic Association, told AFP. “The presence of foreign companies, such as Uber and Careem, give young Saudis the opportunity to pursue these jobs… and increase their income,” he added.There appears to be somewhat more prestige in working for a ride-hailing app than driving an ordinary taxi, largely reserved for foreign workers. But there remains a stigma in the conservative kingdom attached to blue-collar jobs in general.Turki al-Oneizi says he does not care about dirty looks.”With Uber, I’m my own boss,” the 33-year-old said.”There is no shame as long as I’m doing something that does not violate my morals and ethics. This is something that improves my social and economic situation.”last_img read more

Indonesian mission confirms third national diagnosed with COVID-19 in Singapore

first_imgThe embassy also said it would be monitoring the situation closely and coordinate with the relevant local authorities on all matters regarding the patient.Case 147 is the third Indonesian to be diagnosed with COVID-19 in Singapore.The first Indonesian case is a 44-year-old domestic worker whose test results came back positive on Feb. 4, along with the positive test results of her employer, a Singaporean national. The woman has since recovered and has been discharged from hospital.The second case is a 62-year-old woman who entered Singapore on a social visit permit and had no travel history to countries or territories affected by COVID-19. She tested positive on March 6.  As of Monday, 13 Indonesians overseas had been diagnosed with COVID-19: nine Diamond Princess crewmen in Japan, three in Singapore and one in Taiwan. Seven have recovered from the disease.Topics : A 64-year-old Indonesian man in Singapore has been diagnosed with COVID-19, but it is likely he contracted the virus outside of the island nation, the Indonesian embassy has stated, confirming an earlier announcement from the Singaporean government. The Singapore Ministry of Health announced on Sunday that the man, identified as Case 147, had just arrived in the city-state on Saturday and tested positive for the virus on Sunday.”It is not yet known how the Indonesian citizen contracted the COVID-19 [virus], but the Singapore Ministry of Health has said that this case is an imported case, meaning that the [man] is likely to have been infected before [arriving in] Singapore,” the embassy said in a statement on Monday.last_img read more