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Letters to the editor: Oct. 29, 2017

Re: Oct. 25 commentary, “Congress presents a tax code that’s fairer and simpler.”

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams says the cutting the corporate tax rate will “help U.S. companies invest and grow in this country.” Except it won’t. Recent history has shown that companies use most of that cash to pay dividends to stockholders and buy back their own stock to increase share prices — which then pays off handsomely for CEO’s that sell their own shares, not to mention the bonuses.

Before the 1980s, these share buybacks were illegal. Since 2008, corporations have bought back nearly $4 trillion in stock. No wonder the stock indexes are at record highs! Why would they “boost wages” with the added cash from a tax reduction? That costs money, shrinking the bottom line. It’s far better to continue buying back their own stock and feathering their own nests.


Re: Oct. 26 article, “In new contract, police agree to more accountability for higher raises.”

A recent article concerning openness by the Austin Police Department sounded like a broken record. It is something I have heard many times from many departments, agencies, offices and governments. It is an ongoing problem that seems simple enough but never seems to be part of habitual way of operations.

Concrete standards should be coordinated and codified about what the public deserves to know and documented. In a democracy, governments should be as open as possible to citizens, so long as there is no harmful effect to individual privacy, national security or our rule of law. Why is this poor old horse being beaten up so much over and over again at every turn?


Dear Rep. Lamar Smith,

I hope you received and studied the recent report from the Government Accountability Office about the terrible financial impact of climate change on our country — not to mention the world. If you could stop denying climate change for a bit, and stop your knee-jerk support of climate change deniers being appointed to important government positions, you might learn of the damage you and others like you are doing to our country.

Listen and learn from Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington. It’s not too late to abandon your head-in-the-sand stance and act responsibly in your position as Republican chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. If you find this change impossible due to your political affiliation, we will be willing to help you find other work.


Our president has dictated that when choosing refugees from 11 selected countries, it is only if their entry is “deemed in the national interest.”

It absolutely is in our national interest to welcome these already well-vetted refugees. It is in our national interest to demonstrate to our children — no, to all citizens of the world — that the United States of America serves as an example of human decency, and that our nation acts on our moral obligations.

We must embrace the lives that mirror the American melting pot experience that created our nation. In the words emblazoned on our Statue of Liberty: “Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand; Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command … . ‘Give me your tired, your poor; Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free; The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’”


Halloween is nearly upon us — and as usual many children and adults are prepping to have some “ghoulish fun.” The National Retail Federation predicts that this year Americans will spend an estimated $9.1 billion on Halloween festivities, elaborated costumes and extravagant parties.

This growing trend of outrageous spending for a make-believe custom is very concerning. This money can be better spent to help our fellow citizens who are in dire need. The money can be donated to recent hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria victims who have lost nearly everything and many are still in the midst of the most horrible crisis ever. It could be used to help those affected by the deadly wildfires still blazing in California.

Instead of spending billions on a one day of fun, using the money for a greater cause to benefit our fellow Americans in need will make a huge and everlasting difference in our lives.


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