Letters to the Editor, Dec. 29

Aggressive oversight' of energy emissions is counterproductive

To the Editor,

As I was reading a recent op-ed by a legislator, I was struck by his praise of the state's "aggressive oversight of Vermont Yankee" in its attempt to curb carbon emissions.

Yes, the state of Vermont leads in-state low-carbon generation, but we buy more out-of-state fossil fuel than ever since Vermont Yankee closed. If this "aggressive oversight" in fact contributed to Vermont Yankee's closure, it cost Vermonters their largest zero-carbon energy provider.

In just a few weeks, Vermonters will have the opportunity to voice their support for the sale of Vermont Yankee to NorthStar. However, if the same antagonism dressed up as "aggressive oversight" is applied to NorthStar, we could once again see an end to a project of economic and environmental value.

Let's not repeat mistakes that have already been made. NorthStar has a thorough decommissioning plan. I look forward to the approval of the sale and the strong economic future that will soon follow.

George Clain, Barre

The facts about taxes and tax Cuts

To the Editor,

In 2015, corporate income taxes provided $341.7 billion in federal revenue. Had the tax rate been 21 percent, as it will be starting in 2018, instead of 35 percent, all other things being equal, it would have only been $205.02 billion, a loss of $137 billion. The last time the top corporate tax rate was as low as 21 percent was 1939. It was 40 percent or higher from 1943 through 1987, and from 1988 through 2017 it was either 34 percent or 35 percent.

Even before the tax cut bill, the US's individual tax rates were already low compared to the rest of the industrial world. Drastically lowering the corporate tax rate, while further lowering individual rates and giving major breaks to "pass through" businesses puts total US income taxation far below the averages for developed countries. And we have to fund a much larger military budget than other countries.

In short: We clearly won't have enough revenue for social programs of any kind. This new reality means that everything from Social Security to Medicare to food stamps to aid for the disabled is in danger.

Please remember this over the coming year. Republicans from Donald Trump to the Koch brothers to major US corporations will be running massive propaganda campaigns to convince you by Election Day in 2018 that the recent tax cut bill is a boon to you, your family, and your country. It is the opposite of that.

Lodiza LePore, Bennington

Cutting Social Security and Medicare is in Republican plans

To the Editor,

While Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell issued a joint statement on December 1 "reassuring" everyone that the GOP tax cut bill's ballooning of the deficit wouldn't trigger automatic cuts to programs like Medicare, on December 6 Ryan publicly announced "We're going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit."How do we reconcile the two statements? Through the usual semantics — the "reassurance" only said the cuts wouldn't come through the "automatic" reductions called for by the "Pay as You Go Act"; it said nothing about attacking social programs in separate, deliberate legislation unconnected to the PAYGO Act. Mr. Ryan tends to speak in fine print, and Mr. McConnell lives in fine print.Ryan's not the only powerful Republican in Congress determined to rip up the social contract under which we've lived for decades. Days before the Ryan-McConnell "reassurance," Senator Marco Rubio publicly said that "We have to generate economic growth which generates revenue, while reducing spending. That will mean instituting structural changes to Social Security and Medicare for the future." No semantics there, and no nuance, either. They are coming for those programs.Ryan himself addressed the issue again just last week when he told a gathering of reporters "Baby boomers are retiring and we have fewer people following them in the workforce. We have something like a 90-percent increase in the retirement population of America but only a 19-percent increase in the working population in America." He didn't explicitly say it—that small print tendency again—but he pretty clearly implied that Social Security and Medicare depend on either magically increasing the number of working people, or cutting benefits for the people who will be retiring.And the capper comes from a Republican member of Congress who told reporters off the record that he had broached reform of what Republicans disdainfully call "entitlements" and Trump said he would not go after Social Security "until the first day of his second term." Listen to that "fine print" there—Trump said "he" wouldn't go after the programs. But if Congress should — and it will — happen to go after them...

Lee Russ, Bennington

"Wreaths Across America" a success

To the Editor

Fellow residents of Bennington and the surrounding area, we at the Vermont Veterans' Home want to thank you for participating in this year's National Wreaths Across America Day at the Vermont Veterans' Home. Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, the mission to remember, honor and teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as over 1,100 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad. Again this year the day was cold, windy, and snowing, yet as resilient Vermonters, over 375 of you attended and participated in honoring those who had served our great nation. Incredibly, we had sufficient wreaths tolay a wreath, call out the Veteran's name, and salute all Veterans interned at our Vermont Home. Thank you to Amy Maroney for spearheading this amazing and never to be forgotten accomplishment. Also in attendance were several youth groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and church groups. This was our largest turnout ever, we are extremely grateful for you setting aside time during your busy holiday schedule tojoin us and participate. We appreciate our State Representatives who joined and participated, Mary Morrissey and Kiah Morris.You all attended not to "decorate graves" but to commemorate their sacrifice and dedication to these United States and to the cause of Everlasting Freedom. A profound Thanks to all who attended. Semper Fidelis.

Colonel A. M. Faxon Jr., Deputy/COO Vermont Veterans' Home


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