Letters to the Editor

12/24 What you’re saying: Terry McCann, Chris Weaver, Kaylie Thorpe, Douglas Hines, and David Price

A more prosperous America

It’s been over 30 years since America has seen significant tax reform. Wages have been stagnant for decades while jobs have gone overseas. Let’s take partisan politics, social class and innuendo out of the equation.

The most significant aspect of the GOP tax plan is its claim that corporate success helps people in all income levels. The plan caps small business income tax at 25 percent, allows businesses to write off capital investments as expense and reduces the corporate tax rate between 20 percent and 22 percent.

Cutting corporate taxes helps mainstream Americans. Businesses are owned by people, who employ people, who together produce goods and services that help people across the board. Businesses pass the cost of taxes on to employees and customers, with more than 75 percent of corporate taxes falling on workers in the form of lower wages, according to the Heritage Foundation. Lowering the corporate tax rate incentivizes businesses to come to America and remain.

Opponents of the GOP tax plan state legitimate claims which appear to hurt the little man. One of the key parts of the GOP plan is a gutting of most itemized deductions. Dan Caplinger stated, “The provision has stoked controversy because of the higher state and local taxes that residents in traditionally Democratic-leaning states pay.” Residents in these states are more likely to face tax increases than those in states with little to no state or local taxation. The same can be mentioned for real estate and medical deductions; however with fewer taxes being deducted these expenses can still be met. Yes people are losing a tax break, but in the big picture Americans will have more disposable income now that this burden will be lessened. Under the plan, there will be a rise in the standard deduction for the loss of the aforementioned itemized deductions.

As the House and Senate iron out the details to the tax bill leading to a stronger America, rest assured that America is on her way to helping her people becoming more prosperous.

Terry McCann

Durham

Don’t hide criminals

Regarding the guest column by Gretchen Engel “In 2017, no new death sentences and a frail and aging N.C. death row” (THS, Dec. 15)

I think we have lost vital components of the penalty phase in our criminal system, one of which is the deterrent effect that has been removed when we began to hide criminals. No more chain gangs or public day pens with prisoner names on the clothes. Capital punishment should be applied live on TV right ahead of lottery numbers. Corporal punishment should be applied in the school auditorium or on closed-circuit TV. There would only be one paddling a year.

There was a time when everyone in town came to the square to see punishment applied. This exposure solidified the connection between criminal action and repercussion, a component nearly obliterated by today’s hypersensitive society.

Chris Weaver

via Facebook

Choose life

Regarding the guest column by Gretchen Engel “In 2017, no new death sentences and a frail and aging N.C. death row” (THS, Dec. 15)

While there are some crimes so heinous that death itself may be too lenient, we should consider more than emotion in making this decision.

From a purely utilitarian standpoint, the process between conviction and execution is slow and extraordinarily expensive. It is cheaper to house an inmate for life than it is to house them on death row through the usual 10 to 20 years of appeals. Therefore, from an economic perspective, life without possibility of parole makes the most sense. After all, why spend hundreds of thousands on court proceedings for a reprehensible person, when you could lock them up and throw away the key for far less? It would get killers’ names out of the headlines a lot faster, helping deny some of the macabre notoriety which motivates some criminals. Besides, wouldn’t that same taxpayer money be infinitely better spent in crime-prevention efforts?

Then come the stickier ethical questions. If the practical drawbacks show us anything, it is that we still seek to execute people, even when it is cost and time prohibitive, and leaves the public no safer. If there’s no practical reason to kill, we’re doing it because we want to. In that sense, it leaves us with little moral ground to stand on. And what of the very real possibility of killing someone who was wrongly convicted? In 2014 a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences estimated that 1 in 25 death-row inmates was wrongly convicted. Can we justify continuing this practice, knowing, statistically, for every 24 guilty parties, one innocent will die?

Finally, we come to the deep racial issues inherent in the criminal justice system. People of color are disproportionately convicted and carry harsher sentences than whites do for the same crimes. People of color are disproportionately executed. This is an inescapable fact, as are the rest of the points discussed above.

If as a society we are going to kill certain people, we need to be absolutely certain that we are doing it for the right reasons. Given the grave flaws outlined above, there are too many problems with this system to justify executing prisoners.

Kaylie Thorpe

via Facebook

‘Organic’ cruelty

The Trump administration ruled this month that animals raised for food under the “USDA Organic” label need not be treated any less cruelly than those in conventional farming. The decision reverses years of U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, which held that the “organic” label should impose minimal ethical, health, and environmental standards. For the animals, this included adequate space, light, and access to the outdoors.

Under the Trump administration, this will no longer be the case. “Organic” farm operations will be allowed to cram laying hens five to a small wire cage that tears out their feathers and to grind or suffocate millions of male chicks at birth because they don’t lay eggs. Mother pigs will spend their miserable lives in tight metal crates, as their babies are torn from them and mutilated with no anesthesia. And dairy cows will continue to cry for their babies torn from them at birth, so we can drink their milk.

Caring consumers opting for “organic” animal products, to reduce their role in subsidizing these abuses, will now have no choice but to switch to plant-based foods, including the widely available nut- and grain-based meats, milks, cheeses and ice creams.

Douglas Hines

Durham

Critical moments

Editor’s note: On Dec. 14, U.S. Rep. David Price (D-NC) and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright published an op-ed on CNN.com asserting that we have reached an “Article I moment” in our nation’s history:

In the first 10 months of his administration, President Donald Trump has, among other actions: questioned the principle of mutual self-defense that has formed the bedrock of our NATO alliance for six decades; withdrawn the United States from the most significant global climate agreement in history, which every other country in the world has now signed or ratified; provoked a destabilizing war of words with nuclear-armed North Korea while sowing doubts about America’s commitment to our allies in East Asia; submitted a budget proposal to Congress that would drastically cut diplomatic personnel, foreign assistance, and contributions to international organizations; and disparaged and marginalized the work of career diplomats and foreign policy experts, asserting that “I am the only one that matters” when it comes to America’s international relations.”

If America’s role as a global economic leader, a guarantor of security for our allies and a defender of human rights and democracy is to survive, Congress must do more. ... At critical moments throughout our nation’s history, Congress has asserted itself as an essential check on the president’s foreign policy powers. We believe that our country’s situation today requires such leadership — not merely an assertion of congressional powers, but an assumption of new responsibilities.”

Read the full op-ed published on CNN.com: http://cnn.it/2kuDRKt

What you’re saying

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