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A taxing fairy tale

The just passed House tax bill eliminates personal exemption and almost doubles the standard deduction, among other things. Consider a working married couple with two teenage children filing jointly with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $36,900.

Under the current tax plan, after subtracting a standard deduction of $6,350 times two and a personal exemption of $4,050 times four, they will have a taxable income of $8,000 and pay a tax of $800, being in the 10 percent tax bracket.

The same taxpayer, under the proposed plan, after subtracting a standard deduction of $12,000 times two, will have a taxable income of $12,900 and will pay a tax of $1,548, being in the 12 percent tax bracket, almost doubling their tax burden. This is a nightmare to the working family.

It is well documented that this tax is a giveaway bonanza to the wealthy. The elimination of the estate tax alone could save President Donald Trump and his family more than $1 billion.

The biggest hoax of all is the claim that the corporate tax cut will induce corporations to move back to the USA, increase investment and increase wages. An investment occurs only if it is profitable and wage increases occur only when there is a shortage of workers.

Corporation tax cuts alter none of the availability of cheap foreign labor, investment profitability and a willing worker pool. Thus, the claim is a fairy tale. Only wealthy stock holders reap the benefits of a corporate tax cut.

The Congressional Budget Office estimate shows that this tax plan, by 2027, would increase the deficit to $1.5 trillion a year and add $10 trillion in debt to our current debt of $20 trillion. Where are the debt haters?

Mukhtar M. Ali, Marco Island

 

Too hurried to care about flag

Driving back from Naples after warranty drop offs, between the Dodge Ram dealership and Lowe's on Airport-Pulling Road, was an American flag in the middle of the road with cars running over it.

I had to do two U-turns and park in a turning lane with my flashers on and walk back 50 feet and remove it and no one tried to slow up so I could get it.

I did manage to remove it, although there was even a sheriff’s car that went over it. He had lights; he could have turned on to slow the traffic to get it, but he kept driving.

It seems like people are in too big of a hurry to care about the flag. Just during the time I was there, at least 50 vehicles drove over it without slowing.

I'm retired military and I think it's a shame people are like that.

A lot of veterans died and were wounded while serving under that flag. I took a little time, but I did what had to be done. I just had to say something, thanks.

Brett Reynolds, Marco Island

Chanukah, Feast of Lights

Starting at sundown on Tuesday, Dec. 12, the Jewish community will be lighting the first candle of Chanukah, the Feast of Rededication, an annual event commemorating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem more than 2,000 years ago.

The Book of Maccabees describes how the Seleucid Emperor Antiochus seized the Temple in 165 BCE and defiled it by offering a pig before an image of Jupiter. Two years later to the day, on the winer-solstice date of Kislev 25 on the Jewish calendar, the Levitical priests began to purify and rededicate the Altar of God in accord with the eight-day ritual of consecration outlined in the Bible.

Since one of the priests’ acts was to “light the lamps on the lampstand,” as the Book of Maccabees puts it, the central observance of Chanukah is to kindle flame nightly throughout the eight-day holiday to dispel the cold and dark of the winter night.  The “lampstand” mentioned is the m'norah, the seven-branched “tree-of-life” candelabrum which Moses had made at God’s instruction in Exodus 25, which is the oldest and most authentic symbol of the Jewish people and the Jewish faith, and which today serves as the coat-of -arms of the State of Israel.

Because Chanukah is not only a sacred celebration but a bright spot amid winter’s darkness, it is traditionally a joyous holiday occasion, celebrated with gift-giving, story-telling, singing and games. Because of an ancient legend that the Levitical priests were hard-pressed to find enough consecrated oil to light the m'norah, it is also the custom to eat treats prepared by frying (Chanukah is the doughnut’s moment to shine!).

With all that light-hearted party spirit, The Feast of Lights is an enduringly meaningful affirmation of freedom of conscience, and a summons not just to recognize but to celebrate diversity.

The Jewish Congregation of Marco Island invites local residents to join us in our shared celebration of Chanukah, the Feast of Lights. Candle-lighting takes place at the start of Shabbat evening worship at 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 15. In addition, the Congregation is host site for a community-wide Chanukah party co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Collier County at 5:45 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 17. The synagogue is located at 991 Winterberry Drive, a block and a half west of Collier.

For more information, call the JCMI office at 239-642-0800.

Tina Boxma, JCMI

 

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