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Tax surprise

ROD LORENZ

TRAER -- If you are a farm landlord, you are in for a big surprise with the new tax cut proposed. You are about to be taxed 15.3 percent Social Security (self employment tax) on your rental ground.

Has anyone looked at the new tax proposal? I skimmed through it, and it's just a bunch of numbers and words that need professionals to sort out. Anyway, on Page 51, line 15 states that 1402a is amended by striking paragraph 1. This amounts to a serious tax increase for any landlord; a modest 200-acre farm renting for $200 per acre would now have to pay $6,120 in self-employment tax.

Please do not be fooled by all the news of a big tax cut. Farmers, you are going to pay more one way or another if they push this through into law.

Contact your congressmen.

Veterans Day

STEVE KAPLER

WATERLOO -- On June 14 1969, one of my older twin brothers got married at St. Edward’s Church. Earlier that morning, he attended the funeral of a fellow Columbus High School graduate who had been killed 10 days previously on Hill 471 in South Vietnam’s Quang Tri Province. His name was Lt. Michael O’Connor. He and five other Marines who made up a recon patrol dubbed “Flight Time” had been dropped behind enemy lines to gather intel on North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troop movements. In the early morning hours of June 4, their position was ambushed and a close-quarters firefight ensued. Urgent calls for help went out. By the time rescuers arrived, all Flight Time members were dead.

One observer reported: “The team’s weapons were all gone and bayonets were used to finish the fight. Hand-to-hand combat had taken place. … They had fought to the last man and only the perverted mind of the suicide bomber with satchel charges ended their fight.” Mike O’Connor had just eight weeks left on his tour of duty.

This Veterans Day, if you’re bored, you might take time to locate his grave at Calvary Cemetery on Falls Avenue and simply say, “thank you.”

Clayson column

GARY HEDDING

CEDAR FALLS -- Dennis Clayson on Nov. 4 challenged the woman who called out George H.W. Bush for sexual assault. He wrote the woman does not understand sexuality or assault, or both, because the past president was too “feeble” to be assaulting her. The Department of Justice website defines sexual assault as any sexual contact without consent. Examples of sexual contact including “fondling.” Fondling includes “copping a feel.” So, she knows about sexuality and assault.

Clayson accuses her of acting disproportionately. I disagree. She didn’t slap him across the face. She didn’t file a complaint for sexual assault. The only thing she did is refuse to remain silent. She held him accountable for his action. She did speak out in public, but then Bush copped a feel in public, so that isn’t disproportionate either.

Sexual assault does not get a pass because someone is more than 90 years old; or because it comes from someone in a wheelchair; or from a respected past president; or as a joke. Ridiculing this woman, so that others choose proportionate silence to sexual assault, means sexual assault in this country may not change. And Clayson’s article was about the things that prevent change.

Troubled masses

DONALD FISH

SHELL ROCK -- The world has become more crowded and compressed and we have more electronic but less face-to-face communication. This is a formula for distrust, paranoia and dishonesty between groups and individuals. Do not be surprised at increased local gun violence and international tension. You righteously claim "guns are not the problem." I say guns within the reach of people who are angry, confused, hungry or bullies are a major problem. Read the stories.

We need common-sense gun regulations. We don't need assault rifles designed to kill masses in the public. We need money for prevention and treatment of social and mental health conditions. Equality is the key to our freedoms, yet we allow big money and corporations to undermine our freedoms by brainwashing us and avoiding regulation. Pay attention to whose marketing tells you what to buy and how to live. Search out the human stories behind sensationalized news bytes. Wonder about why we the people are the losers in a win/lose system. Government and corporations are not our enemies. We need to build economic and governing systems that build goodwill and respect not power and riches. Love and vote. Understand your neighbors.

White crosses

KIE MAAS

WATERLOO -- To the woman who called Faith Lutheran Church about the white crosses: I am so sorry you are hurting because of the abortion. You feel guilty after having an abortion to save your life. Please think about the 900 out of 1,000 women who had an abortion because they were told it was the best or only "choice" they had. That is the reason our sign says "Abortion 'choice" hurts -- Jesus Heals."

Abortion is not helping women. People can get help if they have made that choice at Word of Hope, (888) 217-8679. The witness of the crosses is to help people realize abortion is a bad choice, not a solution to a difficult situation. If the message would prevent one woman from making that choice and not have to deal with the pain you are dealing with, would it be worth it? Planned Parenthood did 328,348 abortions in 2015, 300 times the 1,000 crosses. Breast exams are down 12 percent in a year, prenatal care and adoption referral are almost nonexistent, but abortions and government funding are up. Not respecting human life, which includes abortion, is a big problem in our nation.

US is bankrupt

ROBERT BLAIN

CEDAR FALLS -- It's ugly. The federal deficit is $19-plus trillion. We’ve been habitually accumulating more than $1 trillion per year in federal deficits and trade deficits. Free trade left our manufacturing base hanging on a meat hook. We’re a world leader in poor test scores, illegitimate children, substance abuse, divorce, welfare dependence, low savings rates, obesity, political corruption, illegal immigration, polarization of wealth, the loss of formal religious training, cyber insecurity, consumer indebtedness and societal violence.

Now we have a proposed tax reform plan that’s nothing more than a $1.5 trillion giveaway program for a society that didn’t earn it and doesn’t deserve it. We’ve long been living beyond our means: consuming more than we produce and being enabled by ongoing systemic debt accumulation. The U.S. is morally and fiscally bankrupt and is now in the final stages of cannibalizing itself. Appropriate for any giveaway program would be to include free yoga classes for all Americans so we can bend over and collectively kiss ourselves goodbye.

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