Month: October 2020

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Tax plan: It’s Trump and Ryan against the ‘little people’

first_imgMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes But this raises obvious possibilities for abuse, with every well-paid professional reclassifying herself or himself as a business.To limit these abuses, the Republican bill imposes rules that basically limit the 25 percent rate to “passive” income recipients.That is, you get the full tax break only if you own a business but don’t, you know, actually run itTAXPAYER 4Finally, let’s imagine a very lucky individual — let’s arbitrarily call him Eric Trump — who stands to inherit a stake in a business he doesn’t run, plus a bunch of stock.He’ll get his inheritance tax-free, because the estate tax gets phased out in the Republican bill.He’ll get to pay a low tax rate on his business income. Categories: Editorial, OpinionAccording to news reports, President Donald Trump wanted the House Republican tax “reform” bill to be called the Cut Cut Cut Act.Alas, he didn’t get his wish, and it was instead given a boring name nobody can remember. But there’s still time to change it!So let me propose, as one reader suggested, that it be renamed the Leona Helmsley Act, after the New York hotelier convicted of tax evasion, who famously declared that “only the little people pay taxes.” In the first year of the Cut Cut Cut Act, such a family would indeed receive a tax cut. But this cut comes from several special tax credits that are basically loss leaders to help sell the plan; they all either expire in later years or will get eroded by inflation.By 2027, with the plan fully phased in, that exemplary family would actually be facing a significant tax increase relative to current law.TAXPAYER 2Second, consider someone who is much further up the scale, but still works for a living In the movie “Wall Street,” Gordon Gekko sneers at “a $400,000-a-year working Wall Street stiff flying first class and being comfortable.”What would happen to that guy? Well, I’ve done some back-of-the envelope calculations:If you ignore deductions, he’d end up paying a few hundred dollars less in taxes.But once you take lost deductions into account, especially reduced deductions for state and local taxes, he almost certainly ends up facing a tax increase, not a cut. And of course it’s not just Wall Street stiffs who would find themselves in that situation:So would doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other well-paid professionals.Overall, the Tax Policy Center estimates that more than a quarter of the population would see taxes go up, not down, under the Republican proposal; for those with incomes between $200,000 and $500,000, that fraction rises to more than 40 percent.TAXPAYER 3But what about owners of small businesses?Under current law, their business income is “passed through” to their personal income, and taxed accordingly.The Cut Cut Cut Act would instead allow people with such income to pay only 25 percent — a big tax break for those with high incomes.center_img And since federal spending is dominated by programs — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — that benefit the middle and working classes, the end result of this tax bill would be to leave most working Americans, even those who wouldn’t face direct tax increases, worse off, all for the benefit of a tiny minority, especially those who haven’t even worked for their wealth.You might wonder how Republicans imagine that they can get away with this.But anyone who has paid attention to U.S. politics knows the answer.First, they will lie, unashamedly, about what their bill actually does. Second, they will try to distract working-class voters by stoking racial animosity.That didn’t work too well in Tuesday’s elections, but they’ll keep on trying.Paul Krugman is a Nobel Prize-winning economist and a columnist with The New York Times. That, after all, is the main thrust of the bill.It hugely favors the wealthy over the middle class, which is pretty much always true of Republican proposals.But it’s not just about favoring high incomes.It also systematically favors people who live off their assets, especially inherited wealth, over the little people — that is, poor shlubs who actually have to work for a living.To get an idea why, consider four hypothetical taxpayers and how they would fare under the Republican bill.TAXPAYER 1First is the poster child family Paul Ryan keeps talking about, a family with two children making $59,000 a year. And his stocks will pay higher dividends, because the bill also sharply cuts corporate tax rates, and most of the benefit of those cuts will probably flow to shareholders.So when Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, says the bill’s goal is “to deliver middle-class tax cuts to the hard-working families in this country,” he’s claiming that up is down and black is white.This bill does little or nothing for the middle class, and even among the affluent it’s biased against those who work hard in favor of the idle rich.Also let’s not forget that tax increases on working Americans are only part of the story.This bill would also, according to the Congressional Budget Office, add $1.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade.You know what that means.If this bill or anything like it passes, Republicans will immediately revert to their previous pretense of being deficit hawks and start demanding spending cuts.last_img read more

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Flynn’s guilty plea doesn’t prove collusion

first_imgIt’s all ugly and ragged, but this White House has a lot of ugly and ragged.Even if Flynn says he was instructed by the president to be in touch with the Russians, so what? All that would mean is the president-elect told his national security adviser to do his job.Don’t be fooled by the breathless, desperate reaction from the usual suspects.As far as the White House is concerned, the Flynn guilty plea is a 4 on a scale from 1 to 10.Sorry, Democrats. The investigations and “collusion” outrage are running out of steam, well short of reaching the president’s doorstep.Ed Rogers is a contributor to the Washington Post’s PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush White Houses.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: 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: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes He has been a cooperating witness since special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation began.The Democrats won’t admit it, but they are throwing in the towel on collusion.Their only choice now is to prop up the convoluted claim of obstruction of justice, and that could go on forever. The ordeal may be bothersome for the White House, but it won’t be fatal.Oh and by the way, let’s reflect on what has happened in this investigation so far.Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were indicted on matters associated with foreign-agent registration and money laundering that predated any engagement they had with Trump.Flynn has pleaded guilty to a crime that occurred after the campaign was over.To be precise, none of this involves the president or his campaign. Commentators are saying Flynn’s plea couldn’t come at a worse time for the president.As Republicans are on the brink of passing this administration’s most important legislative initiative with the GOP-led tax reform bill, some in the media have gone so far as to suggest Flynn’s admission of guilt may disrupt the tax bill’s vote count in Congress.Well, a note to the political geniuses in the liberal mainstream media: There isn’t one Republican member of Congress thinking, “Gee, Flynn pleaded guilty to something or another. Maybe I won’t vote for a tax cut.”It just doesn’t work that way.Once the dust settles, the Democrats and their media allies will realize that there is nothing more to this story than what Flynn has admitted to.Commentators are saying Flynn has agreed to cooperate, as if that is something new.The fact is, there was never a time when Flynn wasn’t cooperating.center_img Categories: Editorial, OpinionFriday morning’s guilty plea from former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn is a major disappointment for Democrats.Flynn admitting to having made false statements is nowhere near where the Democrats want this to go.Of course, the story is big and the fact that a former White House official has been charged with anything and pleaded guilty is consequential, but it doesn’t suggest any collusion occurred and it doesn’t even get close to confirming that Donald Trump or his campaign was somehow complicit in a nefarious scheme.Democrats are already straining themselves trying to suggest that Flynn’s plea is just the beginning and that there is more to come.But as far as Flynn is concerned, that is unlikely. It is just wishful thinking on their part.It’s not as though he pleaded guilty only to leave unresolved matters for later.last_img read more

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Spectrum must do more for customers

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion I read Mary Cater’s  April 4 letter to the editor regarding Spectrum’s treatment of existing customers.  She is “spot” on. We are experiencing all of the same issues that she mentioned. Spectrum is flooding the airways with commercials meant to create new business. They should also have a campaign and initiate practices and pricing policies to better serve long-standing customers.John BestgenNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:Puccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfectEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Niskayuna girls’ cross country wins over Bethlehemlast_img read more

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Letters to the Editor for Sunday, April 28

first_imgBarr is a disgrace as U.S. attorney generalHow low can we set the “Barr” for the Trump presidency? I have come to accept the fact that many Americans are surrendering their values to support a man whose policies do not always align or fall on the side of decency.This level of support for a president whose motives are driven by narcissism is pervasive. For example, a Florida voter stated that “Trump is a despicable human being, but I will vote from him.” However, the most disturbing illustration of this support is the performance of Attorney General William Barr. As Will Rogers said (for those that know who Will Rogers was), “All I know is what I read in the newspapers.”So about a year or so has gone by and no movement on a Holocaust memorial. At least no mention of it in The Gazette.We have people rallying for a thousand workers of St. Clare’s. We have Gazette writers extolling the virtues of eliminating plastic straws. However, we have nothing about the 6 million-plus who died in the 1940s and the millions who have since been slaughtered. Even with last week’s killing of Christians in Sri Lanka, there’s no movement on a memorial. Come on Niskayuna. Come on Schenectady. Make a mark. Show the state that this is an important issue and get it done. As was stated in the movie “Field of Dreams,” if you build it, they will come.Bob NicolellaScotia Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionWaiting for action on Holocaust memorial Mueller witch hunt a waste of time, moneyThe Mueller report is out at last.  Replace songs with sound of sleigh bellsEaster has past and spring is sprung. One of the rituals of the warming season is the roving ice cream truck.Do they really need to continuously play irritating ditties that can drive people within hearing range to exasperation?center_img Well, after a couple years of serious political theater, the report is out. Of course, the Democrats want more. I knew that was going to happen, they have to have some nonsense to impress their less than astute followers. How much has this partisan nonsense cost the taxpayers and what has it done?The usual people are bloviating about it wholesale.Talk about a witch hunt or Kangaroo court. For what it’s worth, I think the Democratic National Committee (DNC) owes us the cost of all this waste of time and money and move on to something the taxpayers of this country want and not all the leftist, commie, progressive things they seem to be so proud of.Oh, I cannot forget the other half of this debacle, that is the so-called “fair and balanced media” that really is the rabble-rousing publicity-raising arm of the DNC.If the “fair and balanced media” had spent one-tenth of the time and money spent in persecuting Trump and done its job, we never would have been stuck with Obama; he never would have gotten the nomination.Same for the goddess of the media, Hillary. She would be in jail for all she has done. Benghazi, her so-called foundation, the nonsense of missing Haiti money, violating secrecy of important items, are just a few things.David G. DeMarcoHadleyMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationCuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccineEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? I’m horrified that Barr, who was appointed by Trump as the 85th United States attorney general, has morphed into his personal attorney. We all know that he publicly auditioned for the job of attorney general by telling Donald Trump what he wanted to hear. This occurred in Barr’s 2017 op-ed defending Trump’s decision on the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Again, in 2018, Barr wrote another defense of the president stating that, “The chief executive is lawfully empowered to interfere with investigations and fire inferiors.” Possibly as a private citizen, Barr’s intense support of Trump occurred with the promise of a role in the administration. Were his memos totally unsolicited or was there a sinister plot to hire Barr with the goal of protecting Trump? Regardless of the circumstances that brought Barr to the role of the attorney general, he has forever tainted and dishonored the office of United States attorney general.  Maxine BrisportRotterdam As a youngster in New York City, the ice cream man had a simple set of sleigh bells activated by pulling a cord. Everyone within hearing knew what those sleigh bells meant and where the truck was parked. The bells even conjured up the cooling image of a cold cone or Popsicle, all without assaulting our ears with an ear worm that infests our minds for hours to come.Surely, the Mister Ding-a-Ling trucks and the like could install a sleigh bell sound in place of interminable repetitions of “It’s a Small World.” Sitting outdoors would be so much more pleasant.Thomas P. HerrmannCharltonlast_img read more

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Letters to the Editor for Thursday, Jan. 30

first_img“Whole student” approach necessaryThe Jan. 23 article “Schenectady school’s likely face budget gap under Cuomo proposal” seems to adversely affect the Jan. 13 article supporting “Schenectady teachers lead the way in gold standard certifications.”Schenectady District Superintendent Larry Spring suggests Gov. Cuomo’s education budget will adversely affect school district and BOCES educational services for students and teachers.Therefore, the gold standard certified teachers have a future challenge to improve educational services while financial maneuvering occurs within our indebted economy.Certified teachers’ transfer of the social and emotional learning (SEL) standards to teacher assistants, teacher aides and instructors will expand the state education department’s “Expanded Learning Opportunities” system.Teachers’ leadership to amend the County Shared Services Plan can establish a “whole student” SEL service contract for development of a 21st Century Community Learning system by schools, government and nonprofit youth agencies.Professional educational and counseling personnel can coordinate SEL services for youth at the various county and BOCES Community Learning Centers. Inclusion of SEL standards within the Career and Technical Education programs can influence students’ skills to adapt to diverse workplace environments and reduce harassment in society.The “whole student” SEL program standards within the 21st Century Community Learning environment are essential for youth to sustain their future and peacefully confront the various bullies and punks in our communities.Michael McGlynnWatervlietTo inspire unity, put country over familyPut something else first. Are you concerned because it looks like laws are being passed that favor criminals over the police?You brought it on yourself with your “blood is thicker than water” and “family first” stuff.In the United States, there are 700,000 police officers. There are 2.3 million people in jail, which probably means 7 million total criminals.Assuming an average of 30 voters per extended family, that means there are 21 million voters who are in the families of police but 210 million voters who are in the families of criminals.Because of “family first,” voters for laws that favor the criminal are a 90% majority. Because the United States is a democracy, the majority rules, and those are the laws that you get.Don’t like this? Then start putting something besides your family first and get others to do so as well. You and everyone need to do this so that the United States of America stops being a sack of 80 million grains of sugar and starts being a unified body named “Uncle Sam” once again.Joel NelsonSchenectadyCouncil should be open to all viewsIf personal issues matter more to some members of the Schenectady’s City Council than their oath of office does, why don’t they think another’s issues are just as good? Can’t they handle the truth?And if they can’t handle the heat, then get out of the kitchen.There is always someone waiting in the wings ready to take their places. I am one of them. My contributions to the city are solid.A public forum is for everyone. There is no room for partiality.On Jan. 13, an uneducated councilman called for a black-out to the process. There also was an unhealthy undercurrent of hostility displayed by him toward his colleague, Ms. Perazzo. His theatrics did not indicate anything smart. Only buffoonery. Read the Constitution, councilman.As a 40-year observer of City Council meetings, it is my right to express dismay over the choice of the current council president,Ms. Porterfield was entitled to the seat.Please note the other two women on the City Council did not support her. Madeline Albright has a famous quote, “Women who do not support other women should burn in hell.” To that I say, yeah and they won’t be here to pollute our world with their brand of humanity.Mary B. McClaineSchenectady Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionBail system always favored the wealthyIt is disingenuous of prosecutors and police to claim that they had no input into the bail reforms that recently became law.In fact, law enforcement officials testified multiple times during legislative hearings before the bills were passed last April.Hearing transcripts are available online. You can look them up.It is equally misleading for politicians and law enforcement to be scaring the public with charges that the new law lets criminals roam our streets. Actually, the old law already allowed that.Ax murderer Christopher Porco awaited his trial while free on $250,000 bail. Alexander West, who ran over 8-year old Charlotte McCue with his boat on Lake George and fled leaving her to die, was free to wait at home for his trial. His bail was set at $100,000.And today, Nauman Hussain, accused of complicity in the death of 20 people in the Schoharie limo crash, is free on $450,000 bail.See a pattern here? Anyone with big money has almost always been able to get out on bail, even when accused of dreadful crimes.Only the poor, who couldn’t afford to post bail, had to endure pretrial incarceration, even though they had not been found guilty. The new law just levels the playing field.Jacqueline DoneganSchenectadySt. Clare’s workers feeling abandonedNew year, new decade, new hope for the St. Clare’s pensioners, one can only dream.It has been well over a year since we were informed either our pensions would be reduced, or we wouldn’t be receiving one at all. Total injustice.Months ago, Gov. Cuomo said he’d “look into it,” yet it seems he hasn’t. Almost a year ago, Bishop Scharfenberger met with the SCPRA Board, listened intently to our stories, and promised he, too, would “look into it” and help us in any way he could. We haven’t heard one word from him either.Over 1,100 people are affected by this catastrophe, and those who have the ability to fix it will not. Those who share the responsibility of making our pensions whole are not taking accountability and continue to blame each other.They obviously know we are suffering, however they choose to look the other way. Perhaps they think if they continue to ignore us, we’ll just go away. Gov. Cuomo and Bishop Scharfenberger, I am here to tell you that will never happen. We will continue to fight for what is ours.We’re fortunate to have the support of some local politicians, AARP Foundation, several attorneys, as well as people we know and those we do not in our neighborhoods. Complete strangers are speaking up and supporting us, but the governor and bishop continue to pretend we don’t exist. Why?Kathy AdachSchenectadyEconomists share views of presidentsThe U.S. president has no plan, no scheme, no constructive ideas whatever, according to one of the world’s most influential economists.He is in many respects, perhaps inevitably, ill-informed, slow-minded and bewildered, and he fails to remedy these defects by seeking advice. He gathers around him businessmen, inexperienced in public affairs and only called in irregularly.Sound familiar? You couldn’t be blamed for assuming that I’m referring to Donald Trump, but it’s actually a paraphrase of an assessment of President Woodrow Wilson, made by the economist,John Maynard Keynes in 1919.Unfortunately, the more things change the more they stay the same.Walter F. WoukSummit More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

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Strutts flexes leisure muscle

first_imgStrutt & Parker has bought hotel and leisure specialist William Hillary to beef up its leisure team.The new leisure and hotel department, headed up by Strutt & Parker’s Roger Pryor, will operate as a niche section of Strutt & Parker and will quadruple the size of its existing leisure team. Pryor said: ‘Until now we have been limited in our ability to give advice on leisure. This move will allow us to branch out and give the sector proper representation.’ William Hillary, established in 1982 has five surveyors, while Strutt & Parker employs more than 500.last_img read more

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Cooking oil to be the secret ingredient in new GLA headquarters

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REStQ bags plum job as PFI project adviser

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Pre-Christmas planning for Swansea

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Gray matter

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