Editor:

The tax bill, that could be up for a vote next week, is a bad bill for everyone but the 1 percent for many reasons and this is well understood by the American public. Its average approval rating is just 28 to 30 percent according to recent polls.

The Republicans are struggling to keep the deficit increase below their self-imposed $1.5 trillion limit and resorting to magical thinking and fuzzy math to achieve this illusion. Weird that deficits don't seem to matter anymore when, during the Obama administration, they were willing to shut down the government and put the full faith and credit of the United States in jeopardy to rein in the deficit.

Some are speculating that deficits will matter again when it is spending at issue and not tax giveaways. Speculate no more! Last week House Speaker Paul Ryan gleefully announced that "we're going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit." These sentiments have been echoed by other congressional Republicans, and despite promises not to cut Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, President Trump is apparently warming to the idea.

This goes back to the Reagan era. It's called “starve the beast.” First, you enact massive tax cuts (weighted toward the wealthy on the “trickle-down” theory) and then (shock! horror!) the deficit increases and you have to cut spending to prevent an unsustainable deficit.

These programs are called Entitlements for a reason. We are entitled to them because they've been paid for through income and Social Security taxes. Any move to reduce entitlements is, in economic terms, equivalent to a massive tax increase on lower- and middle-income Americans and, in moral terms, theft!

Call Congresswoman Stefanik's office. Urge her to vote against this bill.

Alan Brown, Saranac Lake

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