Baker: It’s All About the Money
Our country is in the midst of the biggest health crisis in 100 years. Over 200,000 people have died so far, and some predictions say we’ll reach 400,000 by the end of the year. In the midst of that, on November 14 the Supreme Court is going to hear a case brought to them by twenty Republican states and supported by Trump’s Justice Department that is trying to declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. If they decide it is unconstitutional, over 20 million people in the US will lose their health care, and at least another 50 million will lose the protection of the ACA for pre-existing conditions. So why does anyone think that this is a good thing to do anytime, but especially now?
In his 2017 tax scam law, Trump removed the requirement that everyone had to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. That requirement was the reason the ACA survived a Supreme Court challenge previously. But now, with the individual mandate gone, a lower court ruled that the whole law is void. Trump and the GOP want a new justice on the court by the end of October to cement the Court’s conservative majority in the hope that they will agree to end the ACA.
But why do that? It turns out that removing the ACA will cut taxes for Trump’s favorite folks- rich people. It will remove the 0.9 percent surcharge for people earning $200,000 or more per year. The ACA also imposed a 3.8% tax on unearned income (such as capital gains, dividends, taxable interest, and royalties) for couples with incomes over $250,000. There is also a nearly $3 billion annual fee on pharmaceutical companies which will go away, plus penalties on businesses that don’t provide adequate health care to their employees. For the affected taxpayers, more than two-thirds of the total value of the tax cuts would flow to those in the top 1 percent of the income distribution and 42 percent to those in the top tenth of 1 percent — the highest-income 1 in 1,000 households, which would receive tax cuts averaging $198,000 per year.
It’s worth noting that the 2017 tax law will increase the deficit by almost $2 trillion over 10 years. Trump has committed to cut Social Security and Medicare next year to help pay for it. Remember that when you vote.
Richardson: The GOP, Greed Over Principles
In less than four years, Mr. Trump has re-branded the 1950s Grand Old Party (GOP) of President (and retired General) Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower.
Today, the GOP might be known as the Greed Over Principles party of Ron Johnson, Mitch McConnell, members of Trump’s royal Cabinet of millionaires and billionaires, and of many GOP lawmakers and “lawbreakers” across Wisconsin and America.
The GOP “lawbreakers” seem to agree with various voter suppression efforts by GOP Governors and GOP State Legislatures that include the uprooting of postal service high-speed sorting machines. And more.
In the 1950s, I voted twice (not in the same election) for “Ike” Eisenhower who may have been the last decent, honest Republican president, except for maybe George H. W. Bush. After visiting both of their Presidential libraries, I was humbled by their dedication to “duty, honor, country.”
I have also visited the Presidential library of Abraham Lincoln who said, at Gettysburg in 1863, that our government “of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” I have the impression that Mr. Trump, from what he says and does, would like to see our democracy perish, and then re-emerge as a dictatorship with him in control for life.
Ironically, as Mr. Trump recuperates from COVID-19 in Walter Reed Hospital, he is being cared for by the people (our military) he has characterized as being “suckers” and “losers.” That includes the late Senator John McCain and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as tens of thousands of veterans, alive and dead.
On Nov. 3, may Wisconsinites and the rest of America’s voters rise up and defeat Mr. Trump and all GOP incumbents and new GOP candidates at all levels of government — local, county, Congressional districts, state, and national. May it be so.
Faust: Nonpartisan non-gerrymandered maps
“Let’s have faith that right makes might” these are the words of the first Republican President Abraham Lincoln. For those of us who want nonpartisan non-gerrymandered political maps drawn in 2021 that is what we must have.
We must have faith that the fact that over 70% of Wisconsinites want nonpartisan maps will make our representatives realize we have both right and might on our side. In 2011 our representatives believed that might made right and had rigged maps drawn up in the dark of the night using political demographic data.
In my district, the 42nd Assembly and 14th senate respectively, I can tell you the message has not been received by all candidates yet. Melissa Arndt has signed the fair maps pledge. Her opponent Jon Plumer has not and has not responded to a kind letter I sent him urging him to do so. Joni Anderson has also signed the pledge, her opponent, Joan Ballweg, has not and does not believe there is a problem with the current or past processes.
I will end with the words of Ronald Reagan: “That’s all we’re asking for: an end to the anti-democratic and un-American practice of gerrymandering.”