LETTERS for July 14 issue
Take steps to protect services in West Maui
Once again it’s been proven that West Maui is a large cul-de-sac for both travel and communications. A few years ago, we lost all telephone and cell voice communications, Internet and television due to a fiber optic cable being cut in the Olowalu area.
This time, we were cut off by telecommunications and cable company cables being burned in the Maalaea area. As of this writing, all voice communications are still iffy. Television and Internet are dead.
It was asked, after the last major outage, why aren’t alternate communication routes brought online to keep the networks at 100 percent availability?
The response from Hawaiian Tel was that they use self-healing fiber optic rings to maintain availability. That’s all well and good as long as the fiber cables aren’t severed or burned.
When they are, the self-healing rings are worthless because they can’t make a complete ring.
There are a number of technologies available for alternate communication routes: copper and fiber cable, undersea cable, microwave radio and satellite. None are cheap.
Is the price worth being able to call someone outside of West Maui at any time, or ordering ice balls at 3 a.m. on Amazon?
MIKE SOWERS, Kaanapali
Hawaii Wildlife Fund seeks volunteers
Aloha friends of Maui’s honu’ea!
Summer is in full swing, and nesting season is upon us!
The honu’ea need our help.
Volunteers are needed for our Hawksbill Recovery Project Night Patrol.
Campouts have already begun, and we need more (wo)man power to ensure our team members don’t get too exhausted!
If you are available, please RSVP to Stacey.firstname.lastname@example.org. Training and reservations are required.
Help us spread the word!
HAWAII WILDLIFE FUND, Maui
Why did gas prices jump?
I just have to ask a question: why did our fuel prices just jump from $3.15 per gallon to $3.32? That’s a 5 percent increase – and all stations raised to this. Why?
It is my understanding oil is still low, and the price of fuel on the Mainland just hit an 11-year milestone for low fuel pricing.
I do not understand why this has taken place, and I would like to get answers.
Did shipping costs just jump? Did we run out of refineries we draw from?
NAME WITHHELD BY REQUEST
Support term limits in Congress
The American political system is broken.
I know that you probably agree with me on this.
I believe that you are a well-informed, politically active, patriotic American who votes regularly in elections. And you are well-respected in your community.
I am also guessing you share my belief that it is time to dismantle the corrupt permanent class that has emerged in Washington, D.C., by limiting how long people can serve in Congress.
The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution limits the president to a maximum of two terms. We now need a 28th Amendment to the Constitution that would: 1) Require a House member to leave after serving a maximum of three terms; 2) Require a Senator to leave after serving a maximum of two terms; and 3) Prohibit by law members of the House and Senate from working as paid lobbyists until seven years after they leave Congress.
Serving in Congress should be seen as true patriotic service to the country, not a path to getting rich.
If you agree that such an amendment to the Constitution is needed to save the America you love from being destroyed by a corrupt and broken political system, sign our petition to your U.S. representative in Congress and your two U.S. senators.
This petition demands that your U.S. representative and two U.S. senators co-sponsor and actively support this 28th Amendment to the Constitution, to limit terms for congress.
We will deliver this petition on your behalf to your U.S representative and two U.S. senators.
If limiting terms for the president is a good idea, limiting terms for Congress is also a good idea to prevent the emergence of a corrupt oligarchy – which is exactly what has happened to America.
PETER J. THOMAS, Chairman, Americans for Constitutional Liberty
Time to declare our independence from corporate tax dodging
Marchers in this year’s Fourth of July parades in small towns across America passed a variety of Main Street businesses: barber shops, restaurants, computer repair services. What all these small businesses have in common is that none of them use unpatriotic offshore tax dodges to avoid paying their fair share of U.S. taxes. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for America’s multinational corporations.
Huge U.S. firms are avoiding almost $700 billion in U.S. taxes on $2.4 trillion in profits they hold overseas, according to a study by Citizens for Tax Justice. This massive, ongoing tax dodge hurts American families, small businesses and hometown communities in several ways at once.
First, it’s just not fair. Why should working Americans pay all their taxes every year, while big corporations don’t? The only winners from this tax avoidance scheme are corporate CEOs and wealthy shareholders, whose payouts are inflated with the taxes not paid. (Oh, and the lobbyists who swarm Capitol Hill convincing Congress to open the tax-dodging loopholes in the first place.) Those tax-dodge bonanzas further widen our nation’s already yawning income and wealth gaps.
Second, it deprives us of resources we desperately need to fix what’s broken in our society: potholed roads, crumbling bridges, overcrowded schools, underfunded retirements.
Third, overseas tax dodging gives multinational companies one more advantage over small businesses and domestic corporations that actually pay their taxes. With their economies of scale, national advertising budgets and cushions of cash, big companies don’t need yet another leg up on their smaller competitors.
How do multinationals get away with it? It’s mostly due to a loophole in the tax code called “deferral.” Even though American corporations are taxed on all their worldwide earnings every year, they can indefinitely avoid paying the taxes due on overseas earnings until they bring that money home.
And here is a key point: a lot of those profits sheltered offshore were not actually made there. Corporations use accounting tricks to shift domestic profits to overseas tax havens, thereby cutting their U.S. taxes while facing little or no tax abroad.
What can be done about all this unpatriotic corporate tax dodging? Plenty.
First, Congress needs to make corporations pay the $700 billion they owe now on their $2.4 trillion in untaxed offshore profits. House Speaker Paul Ryan has just proposed a tax plan that would let corporations pay a fraction of what they owe – about $170 billion. That’s a huge tax giveaway for a small collection of the nation’s largest and most profitable corporations.
Second, Congress needs to reject Speaker Ryan’s plan to slash the corporate tax rate nearly in half. Cutting the corporate tax rate from the current 35 to 20 percent will lose $1.7 trillion in public revenue over ten years. Because of all the loopholes in the tax code, big corporations are already paying an effective tax rate of just 14 percent now, according to the Government Accountability Office. They don’t need to pay less in taxes; they need to pay their fair share.
At the heart of the American colonies’ drive for independence back in 1776 was a demand for tax fairness. That demand is still alive today as we celebrated our 240th Fourth of July. Through much-needed reforms, working America can declare its independence from corporate America’s tax dodging.
FRANK CLEMENTE, Executive Director, Americans for Tax Fairness