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Editorial response

LEW BISHOP

WEST UNION — The Courier’s Dec. 17 editorial regarding Senator Grassley’s performance as chairman of the Judiciary Committee neglected to hang a garland over his shoulders.

Spending

ERNEST NUNNALLY

WATERLOO — Donald Trump spent $90 million in taxpayer money on golf trips. That’s enough to house about 5,000 homeless veterans.

Tax bill

NEAL LEEPER

CEDAR FALLS — The Republican tax bill has some hidden surprises. It doubles the standard deduction from $12,700 to $24,000 for a married couple, which sounds like an $11,300 increase in deductions. However, the tax bill eliminates the $4,050 per person personal deduction. The net change in deductions for a married couple is not $11,300, but only $3,200.

For a family with one child, the net change in deductions is minus $850. For families with two or more children, the loss is even greater. For seniors over 65, there has been a special senior deduction that raises their standard deduction from $12,700 to $15,200. This benefit for seniors is lost under the Republican tax bill.

The Republican Congress was concerned by the that the alternative minimum tax has not been indexed for inflation since 1986. However, they completely overlook the fact Social Security income is taxed if your total taxable income is more than $32,000 for a senior couple, and this limit has also not changed since 1986.

Inflation since 1986 has made more of seniors’ income taxable. I’d suggest seniors and families with children contact their representative in Congress, but that would be futile at this point.

Fed lies

JONATHAN GRIEDER

WATERLOO — Joni Ernst became famous with her promise to make special interests squeal. She certainly made them squeal. Squeal with delight. That’s because Joni Ernst voted to pass a tax package that would give multi-million dollar corporations a tax break in perpetuity while saddling middle class Iowan families with $1.5 trillion in more debt over the next decade. Ernst promised to take on the powers that be in Washington, D.C., and instead took on the role as their water carrier.

The tax package Ernst voted for would allow the wealthiest 1 percent to claim a tax cut of worth tens of thousands of dollars while middle-class Iowan families would see their taxes increase. Ernst voted for a tax bill that would strip tens of thousands of Iowans of their health insurance. Ernst voted for a tax package that makes it harder to go to college, harder to be a teacher and harder to buy and own a home. Ernst fed us a pig’s trough of lies in 2014. In 2020 we’ll have a chance to muck out the barn and send a real senator who will fight for Iowans, not special interests.

Friend of Israel

RON IHLENFELDT

WATERLOO — A reminder to remember the people of Israel are our friends. We need to remember it; it’s Israel’s job to watch over Jerusalem for the world. They have done it for 3,000 years, and it is not going to change now.

They know it’s their job to keep watch, to make sure the holy sites are open for all religions. Let them do what was given to Abraham and Sarah.

I sign my name as a friend of Israel.

School choice

MARK SINNWELL

WATERLOO — Education is vital for youths, and making all options affordable and available to parents is critical. I support school choice in Iowa so parents can select the education that is suitable for their children’s needs.

Each child learns differently. School choice allows families to choose options tailored to their specific needs. Programs like education savings accounts and the school tuition organization tax credit put parents in the driver’s seat and remove financial barriers, allowing parents to access and afford the education that best meets their child’s needs. Iowans have a choice of public, private, virtual and home instruction for their children — all parents should have equal access to all choices.

Iowa lawmakers must take up the issue of parental choice in education and allow parents the ability to educate their children in a setting that fits their needs. I support school choice because children are the future and deserve to be educated in the way that best meets their needs and equips them for future success.

What reform?

PAUL HIGGINS

WATERLOO — Even as a delighted conservative, I find it of great interest that our esteemed legislators declare “the most significant tax reform in 30-plus years.” Interesting, particularly to taxpayers.

Either “nothing” happened 30 years ago, or something less than significant is happening with this alleged “reform.” Countless taxpayers would logically think reform would include dismantling the incomprehensible/unmanageable, largely unfair congressionally imposed 74,000-plus-page U.S. tax code. Consider the “Webster’s 9th New Collegiate” at 1,563 pages; the average Bible 1,200. But 74,000-plus?

We’d respectfully suggest no significant reform occurs until Congress demonstrates the courage to gut the elephant (U.S. tax code) into something vastly different than today — actually a fair and manageable tax system. Perpetuating that monster constitutes no reform.

Congress remains suspiciously corrupt and equally inept. Debt approaching $21 trillion, as unfathomable as 74,000-plus pages; improprieties and resignations reported weekly. Committee investigations upon investigations, a secretive club of overpaid, underperforming narcissists ($180k/year) superficially investigating each other, even a “slush fund” to cover their transgressions and a congressional “ethics truce.” Google it.

Thank God we have an apolitical, atypical outsider as president, unafraid to change the unproductive D.C. paradigm. Merry Christmas, taxpayers!

Thoughts on stories

HERMAN LENZ

SUMNER — Regarding the right of free choice in personal and private affairs: That baker who refused to make a cake for the homosexual couple has a right to exercise his free choice as long as he isn’t getting taxpayer funding from the government (unlike the clerk at the Kentucky courthouse who refused to give a marriage license to a gay couple). The couple could easily go to a different bakery to get their cake. An independent business person should have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason, even if she or he doesn’t like the hairstyle or kind of vehicle the customer drives.

On another matter, The Courier story Nov. 27 about a car chase/shooting: The cops have learned they get a paid vacation for shooting at a citizen for any lame excuse. Any common citizen shooting at another person for the above reason would be sent to prison. What happened to equal justice for all? Is this America or the Soviet Union?

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