A better Trump
Re “Horrified by Trump? Just tell yourself it could be worse” (Foon Rhee, Dec. 15) Yes, it could be worse, but it also could be better. Imagine the ghost of Richard Nixon and the other three spirits coming to visit the White House on Christmas Eve. The deceased president cautions the new guy that the length of Donald Trump’s chain forged in deceit is very, very long. The spirit of the past shows him visions of people hurt and banks not paid. The spirit of the present shows him Americans struggling to make ends meet and sick kids that need their health insurance. It points out what is real and not fake news. Then, the spirit of future shows him what awaits us all at the end of a road paved in dumb and dangerous tweets. I agree, it could be worse, but let’s hope for the best. Bless us all. We need it. Believe me.
Anthony M Villanueva, Folsom
Clinton is ‘worse’
Foon Rhee is correct, it could be worse. The Clintons could be in the White House. Rhee includes his usual list of stinging criticisms of the president. However, it is true that Trump is diving headfirst into issues that previous presidents avoided: immigration, North Korea, trade, crime, taxes and more. (Rhee must be OK with the economy and the stock market.) But let’s hope his administration, described by Rhee as “full of top officials who are incompetent, ideologues or both,” can get the job done. Of course, it might help if the media tried being a little more supportive. Who knows? He might succeed.
Foon Rhee would do well to focus on President Trump’s eight key objectives to Make America Great Again, rather than focusing on unhinged hysteria. It would be nice to see an occasional article on the actual progress of these objectives: repeal and replace Obamacare; reduce regulations; rebuild America’s infrastructure; upend and renegotiate trade agreements; appoint conservative judges; rebuild our military; control immigration and our borders; and cut taxes. I believe he would be pleasantly surprised.
MLS expansion fee
Re “Sacramento team needs more money to join Major League Soccer. Owner says it’s a ‘tall task’” (sacbee.com, Dec. 21): MLS says Republic FC needs more money. Can someone explain why MLS needs $150 million to allow a new team to play in their league? They are planning to add four teams, so that’s $600 million – a huge amount of money. Surely far more than necessary to allow them to rewrite their annual match schedule to let four more teams to play with the existing teams. If they were going to use that money to pay the players or build the stadiums, that might make sense. But my guess is a lot of that money is lining some MLS organizers’ pockets.
Re “You’re paying for America’s smoothest roads. Can you tell?” (sacbee.com, Dec 15): Some contractors are complaining about the smoothness standard for California highways being too strict, unnecessary and even dangerous. Meanwhile, Caltrans defends the standard for its long-term benefits and safety. The reality is that the smoothness standard is the same as that met daily by contractors constructing concrete floors, and it reduces the movement of vehicles’ suspension and pounding on highway pavement by half, extending the life of both. Skid testing by Caltrans has assured the surface is safe.
Contractors who don’t understand or can’t provide the quality required shouldn’t be bidding on the work. California once had the best highways, but they became the worst. The new, higher standards are welcome to restore them.
GOP tax plan
Re “With tax vote, California Republicans take a 2018 gamble” (sacbee.com, Dec. 21): How can two political parties be so far apart on tax policy? Republicans say it’s going to help middle-class taxpayers and the economy. Democrats think it will destroy the middle class and make the rich richer. Why is it that Democrats can’t find even one sentence, one paragraph or one section of the tax plan that they could agree with? The same thing happened with Democrats when Obamacare passed with no Republican votes. Nothing is perfect and the tax plan is probably not as good as the Republicans say, but it surely isn’t as bad as the Democrats say it is either. Is compromise officially dead in American politics? The latest Gallup poll found a 14 percent approval rating for Congress. I think that says it all.
Janis E. Hightower,
Debt and deficit
Congratulations Republican Party! You have successfully taken the U.S. backwards financially, sacrificing the interests of the average American for the interests of the large investor and donor classes. With the deficit out of control and the national debt at more than $19 trillion, you have just added to the nearly impossible task to pay the nation’s debt down.
Additionally, you have shown you do not care one whit about the children and grandchildren of this nation, for they will inherit a financially struggling America. No doubt, the top 1 percent, those who you represent, do not care about this or, for that matter, anything connected to making the commons a better place for the average American. Yes, I know you intend to reduce the deficit and debt by reducing Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. May you rejoice in this effort, too.
Larry Dorshkind, Redwood City
Re “‘Loaded with ornaments.’ These Californians view GOP tax plan as a Christmas gift” (Dec. 20): The only people getting an early Christmas present because of this tax plan are wealthy corporations, not small business owners like me. The tax plan was supposed to make the system easier but it will only make filing my taxes more confusing. Large corporations automatically get a huge tax rate cut from 35 percent to 21 percent. But small business owners still pay at the much higher personal tax rates, and in order to comply with the “pass through” deduction will have to guess months in advance how to balance our own compensation between a paycheck and estimated gross profit.
The guardrails meant to prevent large corporations from taking advantage of pass-through rules are a major headache for small business owners who play by the rules, without actually preventing wealthy individuals from profiting. What’s more, the $10,000 limit to state and local tax deductions will likely mean I pay more in taxes than before. I pay $9,000 in property taxes on the building I own for my small business, so I won’t be able to deduct most of my state and local taxes here in California. Congress rushed through a tax plan without taking the time to listen to small businesses.
Out with one party
Re “Out with the GOP” (Letters to the Editor, Dec. 21): What have the Democrats done to fix our taxes? No, the tax plan is not great, but it is better than anything the Democrats have done. The writer suggests that we vote out all Republicans so we can stop passing self-serving laws. Does the writer mean the Democrats? They have controlled California for years. We had great roads, now we have large pot holes. Our dams are falling apart. Democrats recently raised the gas tax. I am on a fixed income and this is a killer.
Be careful of what you wish for, wanting a one-party government like we have in California. You already have a one party-state and it sucks.
Leslie H Brown,
Re “If California wants to go all in on universal health care, Vermont’s former governor is here to help” (sacbee.com, Dec. 14): The current debate about health care is basically about who will pay. Patients or employers? Or the federal, state or county governments? While we argue about who will pick up the huge bill, the bill keeps growing. No payment scheme, whether single-payer, which I favor, or any other arrangement will succeed until costs are contained, and the key to that is eliminating fee-for-service payment.
Hospitals and providers should be paid a fixed amount yearly for each covered patient. Doing so will eliminate the incentive to perform unnecessary procedures and treatments. Hospitals and providers will have to organize into Accountable Care Organizations and individual physicians will be salaried. Organized medicine will scream bloody murder if such a plan is proposed, but in the end, physicians will still do well financially and will be spared the burden of red tape. It is essentially the Kaiser Permanente model.
Dr. Jack Kashtan,
Re “A wishful anti-Trump wave in McClintock country: ‘If they can do it in Alabama, we can do it in CD4’” (Dan Morain, Dec. 17): In its 53 year history, the much-loved Wilderness Act has had only one minor revision. Now Rep. Tom McClintock wants to subvert the act by passing H.R. 1349, allowing mountain bikes. Contact your representative to block this egregious bill.
McClintock issued a press release with several misstatements (i.e. lies). Bicycles were never permitted in wilderness. All mechanical transport has been banned since the act was passed. McClintock asserts that “mechanical transport” means motorcycles. The act bans all motor vehicles, then adds the “mechanical transport” phrase to ban human-powered mechanical devices. McClintock also states that bicycles are permitted in the Rattlesnake Wilderness Area in Montana. Not true.
Eilene Lyon, Durango