House Republicans want to tie funding for Israel to cutting funding for the Internal Revenue Service that would crack down on wealthy tax cheats.
This is a venal, transactional appeal to Republicans’ ultra-wealthy big donors, some of whom may be tax cheats.
This proposal echoes the Trump-Republican tax cut, which included the largest corporate tax cut in U. S. history at a time when corporations were doing well and so many ordinary people were struggling.
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Money is so important for winning elections that politicians, especially Republicans, are willing to contort themselves to appeal to big donors. Billionaires sometimes contribute tens of millions of dollars, meaning one or a few of them can buy more political speech than tens of millions of ordinary people combined. This is thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The five justices in the majority were appointed by Republican presidents.
During the Republican Eisenhower administration, and before and after, the highest marginal personal tax rate was just over 90%, which discouraged astronomical CEO compensation and left more money to pay workers. Unions were strong and a counter-balance to corporations, so productivity gains were shared between workers and corporations and the middle class was growing.
Public funding of election campaigns would reduce politicians’ focus on big donors and motivate them to consider everyone, which is how democracy is supposed to work.
Richard Barsanti, Western Springs
Philanthropic measures needed to help migrants
Every day, the newspaper reports on the overwhelming burden asylum-seekers live with and a city government desperately strapped for resources.
Wouldn’t it be amazing for one or more large donors to fund the discovery of talent and experience among recent immigrants and co-create streams of employment with and for Spanish-dominate newcomers?
The migrants could work as resource aides and teachers in schools; drive mobile units in neighborhoods to provide information, health care and supplies; take or teach in community college classes with childcare provided; work in day care centers; participate in arts-related projects; build new grocery stores; help local retail; build housing and so forth — all coordinated by some of the city’s brilliant community organizations.
Sure, some of this happens on a small scale. But something much larger, well-funded and well-coordinated seems prudent, especially as winter rolls in. MacKenzie Scott, are you listening?
Margery Ginsberg, Sheffield & DePaul
If Clarence Thomas doesn’t like ethics rules ...
If U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas doesn’t want to be bound by any ethics rules, then why doesn’t he simply resign from the court? His friends would continue to subsidize his lifestyle, wouldn’t they?
Lauretta Hart, West Ridge
Housing migrants, with collaboration
Why can’t Chicago house migrants in vacant schools? Why can’t we ask churches, synagogues, mosques and temples to find room in their basements, their schools, their rectories and convents?
Why can’t the mayor ask all Chicagoans who have an empty room to house migrants? The city can pay them to incentivize it. Why aren’t we working more with the county? Why can’t migrants help renovate vacant homes? Wouldn’t it be better for them to live in a house that needs repair versus a tent? What about shopping malls that are half-empty?
Why not modify zoning and codes thoughtfully and temporarily to tide us over, and let’s see what innovations and renovations we can elicit from this situation. Every challenge becomes an opportunity. Let’s do it.
Barbara Koenen, Hyde Park