LETTERS for the July 5 issue
Hotels should contribute to Fourth of July fireworks
I am so tired of reading about the record-breaking numbers the hotels on Maui are bringing in and simultaneously reading, year after year, about not having enough money for the holiday fireworks display for the community.
Do you think these hotels could put their greed aside and kick in a few thousand each to support the community that supports them year-round? Not only for the community they supposedly support, but how about for their money-spending guests that are staying at their hotel for the occasion?
TRISHA DEUTSCH, Lahaina
Cochran’s rhetoric doesn’t add up
Just read the mayor’s piece about how campaign spending reports don’t match up to Elle Cochran’s rhetoric. Alan Arakawa can be cantankerous at times, but he does his homework, it seems.
Not only was the councilwoman wrong about his contributions but also her own. I see she does not shy away from contributions from developers, as her reputation would suggest.
Goodfellow, Dowling and The Mills Group are all listed as giving her money. Mills built The Shops at Wailea and Maui Lani (very interesting, since the whole sand mining issue was centered around Maui Lani). Then there’s $2,000 from the Uniao do Vegetal, which is known for the hallucinogenic tea they drink during their church ceremonies.
Very curious! Perhaps this means if she becomes mayor, she’ll have tea time during her lunch hour to hallucinate new ways to improve the county.
Also mahalo to my grandson, Greyson, for helping me navigate this very informative website.
JOE PACHECO, Hana
America has forgotten its founding principles
America has come a long way from July 4, 1776, when it declared its independence from Great Britain and said in its declaration, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Many paid a great price to obtain independence from the then-powerful Empire of Great Britain. Nine of the 56 signers of the Declaration “died from wounds, or hardships of The Revolutionary War of Independence.”
Since that war, hundreds of thousands more have died to preserve this great country and its principles.
Unfortunately, too many have forgotten what those principles were.
To many, “these truths” are not so “self-evident” anymore. Instead of “that all men are created equal,” they divide us into different races and groups. But there is only one Human Race, and it started with Adam and Eve. When they divide, they are actually saying we are not equal to them. THOSE ARE THE REAL RACISTS.
America must return to God, the Creator. He did, in fact, create everything on Earth and the Heavens. Those fellows’ souls who said otherwise are in the Hell God created. Theirs was nothing but nonsense!
The Creator did give us “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Defend those rights properly and appreciate them, and the sacrifice Americans have made to protect them.
Love God and your Neighbor, as He directed us to do. In Jesus’ name, stop the baby killing.
MANUEL YBARRA JR., Coalgate, OK
Trump, GOP get failing grades on new tax law
This is the time of year for final report cards, so it’s a good time to grade President Trump and Congressional Republicans on their massive tax cuts mostly benefitting the wealthy and corporations. Six months after enactment, their new tax law is seriously underperforming, failing to achieve passing marks in one important subject after another.
Tax Fairness: Once the law is fully phased in, 83 percent of the benefits will go to the wealthiest 1 percent. Those one-percenters will get an average tax cut of over $50,000 this year. Folks making under $86,000 – the bottom three-fifths of the income scale – will get only about a dollar a day.
Increasing Worker Pay: Trump and other Republicans claimed that giving corporations huge tax breaks would help workers, going so far as to guarantee them a $4,000 pay raise. Unfortunately, only 4 percent of American workers are getting any kind of payout tied to the corporate tax cuts.
Most of those are one-time bonuses, not permanent wage hikes, and few are anywhere close to $4,000. Moreover, the government reported last week that average real hourly wages for four out of five workers in the private sector have actually gone down over the past year.
Sharing The Wealth: Only 402 of the nation’s six million employers have announced any plans to share their tax cuts with employees through bonuses or wage hikes. The total is estimated at $7 billion so far. But that pales in comparison to the $77 billion in tax cuts that just 156 corporations we have estimates for are getting this year.
Meanwhile, since the tax law was enacted, corporations have announced nearly $500 billion in stock buybacks that principally enrich their CEOs and other wealthy shareholders. So, corporations are spending 69 times more benefitting speculators on Wall Street than they are on bonuses and wage hikes boosting workers on Main Street.
The High Cost: When the tax cuts were signed into law, budget experts figured they would cost $1.5 trillion over ten years. That price tag has since ballooned to $1.9 trillion. That big bill pushes up the deficit, which Trump and congressional Republicans aim to reduce by cutting Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, education, nutrition and other public services vital to working families. What a cruel exchange; cut taxes mostly for the rich and Wall Street, then pay for those tax cuts by cutting health care and retirement for working families.
Protecting Health Care: The Trump-GOP tax plan weakens a key part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and uses the savings to pay for tax cuts that mostly benefit the wealthy and corporations. The result: 13 million Americans will lose health care coverage by 2025, and insurance premiums for ACA health plans will spike by 10 percent, on average, most years for the next decade.
Drug companies, on the other hand, make out like bandits, as they always do. Five pharmaceutical giants will together get an estimated $6 billion tax cut this year. The industry will save tens of billions more in the future from a hefty U.S. tax discount on their accumulated offshore profits. Big Pharma received this tax handout after recently jacking up the prices to consumers of some of their most widely-prescribed drugs by as much as 14 times the rate of inflation.
Learning From Mistakes: Despite these disastrous results, Trump and his GOP allies want to repeat their mistakes by passing a second round of tax cuts that would once again highly favor the rich. The most frequently suggested form of this “Round 2” tax cut would give over 40 percent of the benefits to the richest 5 percent of families, those making over $290,000 a year. It would cost another $650 billion, further imperiling important public services.
To get passing marks on how well they address the needs of the American people, Trump and his Republican allies need to repeal their tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Then we could use that money to fix roads and repair bridges, build schools and make college more affordable, expand broadband and ensure cleaner water, and expand quality health care to all and ensure secure retirements.
But if Republicans refuse to improve their failing grades on this most basic test of good governance, the American people may decide to expel them from office.
FRANK CLEMENTE, Americans for Tax Fairness
How can youth navigate the future without knowledge of the past?
The College Board’s Advanced Placement courses offer high school students the opportunity to study a subject in depth. So, why are they dropping more than 8,000 years from its 2019 AP World History course?
The board claims there is just too much content – as it stands – to squeeze into a year, and many teachers agree. Conversely, there are others who object to arbitrarily “editing” history.
In fact, a New Jersey high school student has started a petition that has garnered more than 10,000 signatures. It requests Trevor Packer, the College Board senior vice president in charge of the AP program, to reverse the decision and leave the World History course intact.
The student, Dylan Black, put it this way in his petition: “AP World History covers, as of 2018, 10,000 years of human history stretching from the Americas, to Europe, to East Asia, and everywhere else. The class is demanding on students, but is also one of the most rewarding, life-changing classes I’ve ever had the privilege to take.”
It’s bad enough that too many kids today are deficient in their knowledge of history – a fact that has been proven repeatedly. One study by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) found that only 18 percent of eighth-graders were proficient in U.S. History. We should not be denying students who have a love of history the opportunity to immerse themselves in it.
We should encourage our kids to learn as much as they can about the past. How else can they grow into productive, civically-minded adults without it?
DAVID BRUCE SMITH