Facts skewed can affect our mood

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To the editor,

I would like to address several of the issues raised in a recent letter (“Done with Schumer” — Nov. 24-30). In a serious accusation, the writer charges that Sen. Chuck Schumer raises funds from big business and Wall St. and engages in “pay to play” with these wealthy donors. Unfortunately, our election system forces all members of Congress to seek money from wealthy donors. And the recent Citizens United ruling from the Supreme Court has only exacerbated this problem. If we want to see what pay to play really means, we have only to look to the White House’s Cabinet, where at least six former Goldman-Sachs executives are sitting in top positions, including Steve Mnuchin and Gary Cohn. Other Cabinet members were big donors, such as Betsy DeVos — now Education Secretary (but with no education credentials).

Another issue raised was the national debt, largely the result of George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, an incredibly costly war that was paid for with loans, primarily from China. The tax bill that is now being hastily pushed through by the Republicans in Congress will explode the debt. How will this happen? The Republican plan proposes cutting taxes to big corporations, most of which pay practically nothing already, due to fancy accounting practices. They are hoping that giving more tax breaks to corporations will cause them to hire more and increase wages — the “trickle-down effect.” This idea has been tried more than once, and proved to be ineffective in stimulating the economy. The more likely result will be that CEO’s and shareholders will simply take even bigger profits.

These corporate tax reductions will be permanent, but any small tax break we may see will expire in a few years. Also, the bill will give the super-rich a huge windfall by eliminating the estate tax — a tax that only applies to estates worth over $10 million. So why are the Republicans doing this? Because their big donors, such as the Mercers and the Kochs, are insisting on it. They want their money’s worth for supporting Republican candidates. Again — pay to play.

Do the disgustingly rich really need even more? How many houses, yachts and private airplanes will be enough? This bill will hurt the middle class and especially the poor by eliminating deductions for home ownership, college loans, state and local property taxes, just to name a few. They are also proposing eliminating the mandate to purchase health insurance, assuring that our prices will rise. Truly mean-spirited would be eliminating such deductions as reimbursing teachers who must provide school supplies out-of-pocket for their underprivileged students.

The last item raised was the Iran nuclear deal. Without it, Iran will be free to pursue its drive for nuclear capability. Is that what we want? So far, Iran is complying with the deal. I believe we have more to worry about from North Korea than Iran, with the current president’s ignorance about foreign policy, and his reckless taunting of Kim Jong Un. In addition, this administration is systematically gutting our State Department, putting our service members and diplomats around the world in severe jeopardy.

I urge everyone to read a variety of newspapers and news magazines and to be very careful about which TV channels you choose to get your news from. Relying on any one source (such as Fox) will give you a skewed version of reality. The White House wants us to believe that the real news is “fake news.” But facts are facts folks. Let’s get our news from many sources, get the facts, and then use our own judgment.Arlene Kane


Sick of sick transit

To the editor,

Those who fail to remember history are doomed!

(The old saying is they are “doomed to repeat it” but in this case they are just doomed).

I am sure my fellow transit historian, Larry Penner, would agree that the so-called newest transit proposals are once again a re-hash of old and tired ideas.

After working in the subway for four decades, the proposals to “shut down” the system are totally unrealistic. True, certain sections of the subway have benefited greatly from the new Fast Track operations. In these situations, all transit divisions concentrate manpower to do everything from track and cable work to tunnel and infrastructure repairs. There are just so many workers on staff, and if there is a wholesale shutdown, there are simply not enough employees to do what these millennial pencil pushers expect to be done. With the Governor and Mayor continuously head butting about funding, I seriously doubt that across the board hiring of qualified technicians will ever take place.

I have written about the so-called subway line extensions in the past. Here too, the same old plans for forays into Brooklyn, first put on the table in the 1920s, then withdrawn in the 1930s due to funding issues, have been dusted off once again. One plan calls for an IRT extension running down Ave S, under Marine Park, and giving me a nice new station on my East 36 Street corner. Believe me, you won’t find me waiting with the new MetroCard in hand, patently watching for my train.

With the new management under Joe Lhota in place, our dedicated transit leadership needs to have their hands untied. To improve operations across the board, the politicians have to make a reliable funding source available and stand back. Failing this, the revolving door of upper management will once again spin, and transit will remain the same old-same old for perpetuity. The dreamers can make all of their plans in the clouds, never to come to fruition.

Robert W. Lobenstein

Marine Park

Support for Biden

To the editor,

In the last four Presidential elections, Democratic candidates who as Senators voted for the War Powers Act of 2002, endorsing the invasion of Iraq, were defeated twice, while the Democratic candidate won the other two elections. Does this have any bearing on Joe Biden’s electability? Reasonable people may differ. If the American people want someone who voted for the invasion of Iraq to serve as President, they could do worse than Joe Biden.Eric Politzer


Let’s all be safe

To the editor,

Yes, while the death of the delivery boy on the bike in Sunset Park was tragic, one part of the story has been omitted from most reporting of the story. Yes , wrongly, the car speeded up to make the light, we are all guilty of that. But eyewitnesses and a nearby security camera reported the boy went through the red light. Had he stopped for his red light, this tragedy would have been avoided. Of course the community, Paul Steely White and his Transportation Alternatives honchos will always blame the drivers, or anything other than bicyclists or pedestrians for their illegal actions, causing injury or possibly worse on themselves.

Richie Hecht

Bay Ridge

Discipline should rule

To the editor,

A female student was raped on a stairwell at a New York City high school. How much worse can things get in our schools? Now, we will hear from educational spokespeople that the incident is troubling and that we’re investigating. We rarely hear the results of the investigation. Knowing the system, the recalcitrant will be back in a public school shortly. Would such a child be in a charter school? Of course not. Eva Moskowitz and her gang cherry-pick students, something the public schools can’t do. They’re stuck with whomever walks in. When the parent of these brats refuse to sign for special placement, the child remains in a regular classroom so the mayhem continues and the teacher is routinely blamed for not motivating the student and receives a poor rating at the end of the year.

Now, of course, we have a mayor who believes in redemption, so translated, that means that nothing will basically happen. We’ll hear that the brat is socially maladjusted, economically disadvantaged, culturally-deprived and other liberal catch phrases. Let’s see how quiet the United Federation of Teachers and the supervisory unions will be during the so-called investigation.

Besides restoring the “600 school” concept for unruly students, the police must be left in charge of school discipline — not the principal or central board. Of course, this will never happen as a million excuses as described above will be given for these students.Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Reach James Harney at (718) 260-2529 or e-mail him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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