Tax cuts mainly benefited the wealthy

Editor,

President Trump claimed the tax bill would pay for itself, would spur corporations to provide pay raises of $4,000-$9,000/year and wouldn’t benefit the wealthy. The Tax Bill does none of the above.

Initial tax receipts suggest the tax bill will not pay for itself but rather leave taxpayers with $1.3 trillion in debt over 10 years.

The Tax and Jobs Act (2017 tax law) makes small reductions in tax rates for most Americans’ tax brackets. But much of the tax relief on lower income levels goes away in 2027.

While most income groups paid less tax in 2018, the benefits flow mostly to the wealthiest taxpayers. Per PolitiFact, the wealthiest 1 percent will get 20.5 percent of the tax benefits in 2018; 25.3 percent of benefits in 2025; and that jumps to 82.5 percent of benefits for incomes above $730,000/year in 2027.

The most notable outcome of the tax law is one few Republicans talk about: The tax plan helps businesses more than individuals. After Congress reduced the top corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, businesses are flush with cash. Lawmakers also let companies repatriate foreign earnings that they have been amassing at reduced tax rates of 15.5 percent for cash and 8 percent for other assets.

The new tax law is making it even easier for big companies to avoid/reduce their taxes. A new analysis finds that in 2018, 60 of the America’s biggest companies paid no taxes on total profits of $79 billion. Amazon and Netflix should have paid $16.4 billion in 2018 taxes but paid none.

So, are companies investing in jobs or providing large pay increases for the average worker? Per Money Magazine, the tax law didn’t do anything to provide an incentive for employers to create jobs.

Instead of reinvesting that cash and creating jobs (as touted by Republican law makers), companies are buying back their own stock and increasing their stock dividends, which is boosting stock prices.

Apple had the largest buybacks totaling $45 billion.

This bait and switch from jobs to buybacks happens every time Congress reduces corporate taxes. Must feel great if you own large amounts of stock. With a so-called growing economy, wages should be climbing. However, real (inflation-adjusted) average hourly wages did not grow at all between June 2017 and June 2018.

It’s time we hold our president and Congress accountable to enact laws that focus on providing benefits for average Americans.

Ken Peterson

Buchanan

Biking trails not adequate for triathlon training

Editor,

I would like to kindly respond to Ms. Zerler’s letter and respectfully address several points (“Bikers should use the bike paths when available,” June 5). This letter referenced my letter (“Give cyclists a break and share the road,” May 31).

As with Ms. Zerler, I too live in the Edgewater District, and her comment of “miles of bike/waking paths in Edgewater” and her urging that cyclists use these paths is simply not applicable or suitable for road cycling. I presume she is referring to the approximately 12 miles of public trails surrounding Harbor Shores.

I am grateful for these trails, as I regularly walk and run on them, but these trails are not suitable for road bikes and triathlon training. These trails are covered in gravel, traverse across bridges, and/or are shared with walkers and golfers.

Ms. Zerler noted that cyclists “could easily access these paths.” However, these paths as a suitable option is simply not true.

Ms. Zerler states that there is a “St. Joseph city ordnance requesting cyclists to walk their bikes across the Blossomland Bridge.” I could not locate this ordnance. I did locate a city ordnance indicating that “Persons eight years of age or younger shall ride bicycles upon public sidewalks only” (Article III. – BICYCLES, Sec. 29.48), but no other mention of other riding on sidewalks.

In addition, the stretch of path on the west side of M-63 she referenced is less than 0.5 miles in distance and is often covered in debris from hovering trees.

Unless maintained, this path would be quite dangerous, and it is simply too short to have an impact on fast cycling.

M-63 is a heavily-cycled road. The majority of the bike course for Ironman Steelhead 70.3 is along M-63, and countless cyclists travel to Jean Klock Park to train on these roads in preparation for Steelhead. While my letter was inclusive to all cyclists, I specifically referenced triathletes. Our community should welcome these triathletes and tourists, not turn them away or encourage that they take their cycling to unsuitable trails.

In an ideal society, most heavily-traveled roads would include bike lanes. A bicycle lane is a portion of a street adjacent to the travel lane that is reserved for bicycles. However, I recognize that bike lanes may not be economically or realistically feasible for all roads. Therefore, extra care should be taken by both cyclists and motorists to promote safety for both.

I respect Ms. Zerler and her advocacy for public safety. I too share her position. 

When riding a bicycle, cyclists should follow the same rules as motorists, and motorists in turn should respect our laws. Both should show mutual respect and consideration for one another. Whether clipped into a bike pedal or positioned behind a steering wheel, the simple philosophy of “be kind” would make the world a much safer and more peaceful place for us all.

Lisa Altman

St. Joseph