Letters to the Editor
Thankful for increase in Alzheimer's research funding
TO THE EDITOR
This year, the annual cost of caring for individuals living with Alzheimer's or other dementias will reach $259 billion, $175 billion of which comes in direct costs to Medicare and Medicaid. Yet in 2016, for every $100 the U.S. government spent on Alzheimer's research, $16,000 was spent by Medicare and Medicaid to care for those living with the disease.
Thankfully, Congress is taking action. Just recently, a $400 million increase in Alzheimer's research funding was approved. I am proud that Congressman Duffy voted for this historic increase.
The human toll of Alzheimer's is obvious, especially to someone like me who is caring for someone with this disease. Today, there are more than 5 million Americans living with this disease—the only leading cause of death without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression.
Barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent or cure Alzheimer's, the number of Americans with the disease is set to triple over the next 35 years, and the cost of care will increase to $1.1 trillion in 2050.
It is only through adequate funding and strong implementation of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease that we will meet its goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer's by 2025.
Please join me in thanking Congressman Duffy for his commitment in the fight to end Alzheimer's.
Board Member of Greater Wisconsin Alzheimer's Association
Trump's tax cut and history
TO THE EDITOR
Steve Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary, outlined Trump's tax cuts, basically Trump's campaign proposals. Mnuchin, billionaire and former Goldman Sachs executive, nicknamed "the foreclosure king," smiled as his taxes will decrease greatly. Associated Press Fact check, 4/28, studied the outline and provided some history.
No tax cut has ever been self-financing in history. Reagan's 1981 cut was the biggest, reducing federal revenues by almost 19 percent. In today's dollars, more than $600 billion a year or over $6 trillion over the next decade. Reagan's cut contributed to years of deficits, debt increased 186 percent, even after he raised some taxes later, mostly by taking away middle and lower income tax benefits.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said of Trump's plan: "no achievable amount of economic growth could finance it." It will drive the debt to 111 percent of GDP by 2027, compared with 77 percent now. It gives half its benefits to the wealthiest 1 percent (trickle-down economics), while middle-income households receive 7 percent—at a time when about 87 percent of the population believes there's too much income inequality.
The top 1 percent own 45 percent of the U.S. financial wealth while the top 10 percent own 93 percent, and the top .1 percent has more than the lower 90 percent .
During an economic recovery, the wealthiest 1 percent benefit the most with upward movement of stocks and real estate investments. In the "recovery" of 2009 — 2010, the top 1 percent of income earners captured 93 percent of the income growth.
Trump and Republican plans double Bush tax breaks for the wealthiest 1 percent, hedge fund managers (who contributed greatly to the 2007 Great Recession, four made $1 billion + each in 2007), and real estate moguls. With limited information, it appears the biggest windfall for rich people comes from lowering the top tax rate for small business owners to 15 percent from 39.6 percent.
There is no definition of small businesses, which includes Trump families' businesses. I believe that true small businesses should have decreased taxes, but it must be defined. How many hundreds of millions or billions of dollars do people need before they invest?
Corporations saw significant gains in their stock as the economy recovered under Obama economic and regulatory policies from the 2007/08 Great Recession. Obama had 75 straight quarters of economic growth, the longest period in history and unemployment dropped from 10 percent to 4.7 percent. This is what Trump inherited.
First we need tax reform, not tax cuts for corporations as some pay little or no taxes now and end corporate welfare.
History has shown inequality slows economic growth and promotes instability. Reagan's economic policies and promotion of trade liberalization were turning points, deregulation of the financial sector and reduction in the progressive tax rates. It lead to 40 percent of all corporate profits going to the financial sector.
From 1930's through 1970's, government took an aggressive role in reining in large corporations and banks through regulations and progressive taxes. Government invested in infrastructure. Americans had free roads and bridges and was the envy of the world. America thrived through downturns - wars, inflation, stagnation, international competition, riots, and movements. Why? Because from 1930's through 1970's, 70 percent of all income growth went to the top 90 percent of population.
But from 1980 to 2015, nearly 100 percent of growth in market income — income before taxes and government transfers like Social Security went to the top 10 percent - "trickle-down economics."
If you want to "Really Make America Great Again," reject economic policies of recent past and go back to the economic fundamentals of the 1930's through 1970's. Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel winner in Economics book, "The Great Divide" offers history and ideas on change.
(previous area resident)
Don't pull the plug!
TO THE EDITOR
The DNR magazine "Wisconsin Natural Resources" is currently on the chopping block for the Wisconsin state budget. This magazine is self-sustaining by subscriptions with only two full-time positions. Photos and articles are contributed by individuals who receive no financial gain and the circulation is approximately 75,000.
The April 2017 edition contains articles about the spring fishing report, the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative with a map showing where the fingerlings have been stocked, and information about the Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve on Lake Michigan.
The proposed budget cuts, supported by Gov. Walker, want to get rid of the magazine in its entirety to save money. We disagree. This is not a tax savings. The proposed elimination would save .001 percent of the state budget.
This publication is a great tool for tourism. If you look at the fishing industry alone, Wisconsin ranks #3 as a non-resident fishing destination. 1.3 million anglers fish Wisconsin waters where each fisherperson spends an average of $500 - approximately $650 million annually. Total spent by residents and non-residents combined comes to $3.8 billion for fishing equipment, rentals, hotels, restaurants, etc. The magazine is a major promoter of natural resource conservation, environmental issues, and tourism for Wisconsin.
We encourage anyone who loves the Wisconsin outdoors to contact your state representatives (ours are Rep. Rob Stafsholt at 1-888-529-0029 and Sen. Sheila Harsdorf at 1-608-266-7745) and encourage them to support and protect this great magazine. Subscriptions to the magazine are available by phone 1-800-678-9472 or go online at dnr.wi.gov or mail a check for $8.97 to: P.O. Box 7191 Madison, WI 53709-7191.
Good luck at fishing openers!
Katy Neitzke, New Richmond
Barb Arnst, New Richmond
Linda Hendrix, New Richmond
Paula Brandt, Glenwood City
Time to defund Planned Parenthood
TO THE EDITOR
Next year the United States will achieve an anniversary of great sadness. Our nation, spearheaded by Planned Parenthood, will have killed 60, million babies since abortion was first legalized in 1973.
The majority of these babies were perfectly healthy, as were their moms, and most would likely have lived long and productive lives had they been given that opportunity. When it comes to the babies, pro-choice can oftentimes be synonymous with death.
Planned Parenthood kills nearly 300,000 babies every year and they receive $530 million of our taxpayer dollars each year. They do not provide a single service that is not already covered by the ACA. We are wasting taxpayers' money providing duplicate services. Money which could easily be shifted into ACA coverage and would undoubtedly be spent much more effectively.
If that is not enough to open one's eyes, in the 2014 election cycle, Planned Parenthood and their affiliates spent nearly $2 million supporting Democrats and another $3 million fighting Republicans. They also gave another $590,000 directly to Democrats running for political office, essentially using taxpayer dollars to influence elections and that stinks!
Last but not least, as a Christian nation I cannot believe we allow this type of barbaric activity to occur. Statistically there are over 200 million people who identify as Christians in the United States today. I have never came across anything in the Bible which could be remotely interpreted as defending abortion but yet here we are.
Unfortunately we have millions of people in this country who are willing to sacrifice what is right and just, be it out of ignorance, greed, power or fear, I am not sure. There is no such thing as a pro-abortion Christian. Just a lie. It's time to draw that line. It's time for a change and it's time to defund Planned Parenthood!
Support state park, Lake Mallalieu
TO THE EDITOR
We speak on behalf of the Lake Mallalieu Association, consisting of over 100 homeowners, the three surrounding municipalities that participate in monitoring the Willow River water quality and the Hudson area community. Unlike other dams in the state, this is unique. It creates Little Falls Lake, the focal point of Willow River State Park, the fourth-most visited park and one of the top revenue producing state parks in Wisconsin. This park generates nearly $30 million annually in community expenditures and is visited by over 800,000 guests annually.
Additionally over the last 15 years, two dams upstream of the park have been removed. This created a situation, whereas Little Falls dam was the last sediment trap in the Willow River before Lake Mallalieu and the St. Croix River. Since the dam was breached in 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey indicates sediment flow into Lake Mallalieu in the first year alone increased nearly 15 times over previous years.
Without this dam in place to protect downstream flooding and re-creating a sediment trap, the water depth of the Willow River and Lake Mallalieu have and will continue to be impacted. This is causing loss of plant and fish habitat, impacting migratory wildlife and impairing the ability to navigate, causing hardships for visitors and community members that use the river and lake regularly. Your support is deeply appreciated. Please contact the Wisconsin Joint Committee on Finance at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your email will be forwarded to all the committee members.
Thank you for your consideration in this critical matter.
Lake Mallalieu Association
712 Riverside Drive N.
Hudson, WI 54016
A heartfelt communication to Paul Ryan
TO THE EDITOR
You certainly are having a difficult time attempting to replace Obamacare with Trumpcare or Ryancare. Your two tries to ramrod your proposal through the House of Representatives each hit a stone wall. Not even enough Republicans were willing to buy your proposal so you had to pull your idea out of consideration for a vote. As a result, your personal approval rating has dipped to an incredible 20 percent, about half the dismal approval rating of Trump.
Gosh, why are so many representatives opposing your health plan? Asking this might provide ideas of what to do differently. Could it be that many of these representatives may be seeking re-election in districts where lots of the 14 million persons you would kick off of access to health care live? Or might it possibly be that these representatives fear the consequences of drastic increases in premiums—or of kicking people with pre-existing conditions out of affordable health care coverage?
These could cost lots of votes. Another possibility is that tens of thousands of people call you a hypocrite for claiming that passage of your health care proposal, which might exclude them from coverage, a "blessing." It does seem odd that you, who claim to be a devote Catholic, would turn your back on the poor, the ill and the aged—especially while you keep your own extensive, and expensive, health care insurance.
You say that your very low public approval ratings do not bother you. Perhaps they ought to. Your party won the Electoral College vote largely on the basis of a claim that you would provide "health care for all, at a less expensive cost." Which of these words do you not understand?
James A. Benson