Tax overhaul disrespects, disregards middle class
In this season when bells should peal to proclaim God’s love for all, we are instead distracted by the alarming clanging of self-serving political hacks scurrying about in the dead of night. They seek to preserve their elitist way of life by heralding tax law that loves no one save the hacks, their parties, and the promise of cash from wealthy businesses and individuals.
Meanwhile, in this country, citizens are homeless, hungry, sick and uneducated because funding for people, programs and training is denied in favor of more wealth for people and institutions that need help only to count their money.
Calling the tax bill pending in Congress a tax simplification and job creation act is not a simple misnomer, it’s a callous lie. It is designed to disguise the growing power of a “ruling class”, abetted by government, that denies fundamental freedoms except to those with the ability to buy them.
There is nothing wrong with working hard and enjoying the rewards of your labor. However, everything is wrong with using what you have earned to deny others the ability to do the same. When tiny sops this bill offers the middle class in order to win their support expire in five years, the middle and those below them on the ladder of the economy, will discover how thoroughly they are disregarded, disrespected and disenfranchised by Congress and its 1 percenter masters. The fix is in. Or, as Whitehouse Budget Director Mick Mulvanney prefers to put it, one of the most popular ways “to game the system” is by passing temporary measures that are automatically repealed later. But not the permanent cuts for companies. And this from a guy appointed by Trump to head the only agency meant to protect against the predatory loans of payday lenders and the outright thievery of Wall Street bankers.
So listen to the church bells and be joyful. Also, listen to the alarm bells of corruption clanging in D.C. and vote, act up, protest, resist and demand change. Change that really simplifies the tax code by undoing all the sweetheart deals and accompanying regulations made over the years by the best government money can buy. Merry Christmas.
Jim Cartwright, Canfield
Raise for Social Security recipients is just a mirage
It’s a sad day in Amer- ica again for Social Security recipients. The government did it again.
It used our 2 percent cost-of-living raise for 2018 to help pay the premium payment of our Medicare. Therefore, most of us get nothing, and some of us will get just a few dollars.
Speaking of Social Security, why didn’t Congress members pay back their IOUs when they robbed the surplus?
I guess this is how to Make America Great Again.
Alice N. Dyce, Austintown
Payday loan reform would hurt millions of Ohioans
Your editorial of Dec. 7 (“Legislators should listen to Ohioans who want payday lenders reined in”) seems to suggest that not everyone in Ohio deserves access to credit when they need it. Members of the Ohio Consumer Lenders Association respectfully disagree.
Access to credit is a real issue in Ohio. Data shows that almost 1 in 3 Ohioans has a sub-prime credit score, a reality that makes it difficult for millions in our state to get a loan from a bank or carry a credit card that can be used in a financial emergency. Short-term credit from regulated, legal companies provides a way forward for hardworking citizens who need money quickly to cover unexpected expenses.
Instead of sticking with the facts, misleading and inaccurate information continues to be printed. The Pew Charitable Trust, for example, cites a five-month term on a $300 loan. The reality: less than 0.1 percent of all loans last that long.
And while short-term credit is undoubtedly expensive, actual costs for Ohio borrowers are less than half of what Pew alleges. It’s also suggested that borrowers have a terrible experience, but independent polling shows that customers are overwhelmingly satisfied with their experience.
The editorial also holds up Colorado as a model state, but neglects to mention that the legislation actually cut off access to credit for thousands of Colorado residents, forcing them to pay bank overdraft fees or seek unregulated, expensive offshore lending products that put borrowers’ identify at risk.
The same thing will happen in Ohio if House Bill 123 is passed into law.
Our industry recognizes that there is always room for improvement.
Innovation to develop products designed to help move consumers “upstream” should be encouraged. We also wholeheartedly welcome legislation that seeks to remove illegal bad actors from the marketplace. And, we should absolutely make sure consumers have the ability to repay their loans, with lenders judged based on outcomes rather than arbitrary standards that unfairly burden sub-prime consumers.
On those efforts, we look forward to working together with regulators to create fact-based, common-sense regulations.
Patrick Crowley, Dublin
Patrick Crowley is spokesman for the Ohio Consumer Lenders Association.
Rep. Ryan urged to work to restore net neutrality
I’m a creative entre- preneur in the Cortland and Warren area. I sell my wares on Etsy and a dedicated website. I’ve lived here for eight years and am an active member of the community.
I work full time for the U.S. Postal Service and pursue my passion from my home online. I’m writing to you today because the rules that protect an open internet have become a victim of the chopping block, and that is a major threat to my business and this community.
My way of life is constantly in jeopardy as a postal worker at the Youngstown distribution facility. I’m sure you are aware of the struggles our facility has been going through to remain open. Growing up in a family business taught me to work hard and advocate for what I am passionate about. If my facility closes, I would have to move to Pittsburgh. I love my community here, and that is why I started my company online.
It began with my passion for creativity and a way to stay in the community that I love even if my job leaves me. If my option was to leave the Youngstown area to continue working for the Post Office, I would depend on my online business to support my ability to stay here.
Last Thursday, the FCC voted to overturn the bright line rules that enable a microbusinesses like mine to thrive. Net neutrality is essential to the success of my business and my ability to care for myself and my family. Etsy has opened the door for me and 1.9 million other sellers to turn our passion into a business by connecting us to a global market of buyers.
Moreover, 87 percent of Etsy sellers in the U.S. are women, and most run their microbusinesses out of their homes. By rolling back the rules that ensure net neutrality, the FCC not only took away our livelihood, it also put up barriers to entrepreneurship for a whole cohort of Americans.
If U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan truly believes that small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, I urge him to stand up for microbusinesses like mine and denounce FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s attack on the internet and work to overturn it.
This holiday season, I ask Congressman Ryan to support small and microbusinesses in the Youngstown area by fighting for us.
Tracy Petrekovich, Cortland
Trump endorses hatred
When will Pres- ident Trump awaken from his social-media dream? Retweeting sensationalist videos of random Muslims doing deplorable things can’t serve any purpose but to provoke a whirlwind of opposition to his xenophobia and carelessness.
This endorsement is advancing a vicious campaign of hate, one that no American should tolerate. Instead of using his role to promote unity, it seems Trump enjoys watching the world burn.
Labeeb Ahmad, North Canton