The tax cut that came gift-wrapped

President Donald Trump displays the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul package he had just signed, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Trump touted the size of the tax cut, declaring to reporters in the Oval Office before he signed it Friday that "the numbers will speak." (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

He doesn’t want this gift from Trump and the GOP

This Christmas I received a gift from the president of the United States and the Republican Congress. It came in the form of a “pass-through.” A pass-through is, among other things, a tax break for people who own real estate investments. For me and a number of people I know (as well as for Donald Trump), this amounts to a substantial gift from the government. This gift is not shared by those who work for a salary or place their money in savings accounts. Furthermore, unlike other gifts I received this Christmas, it will be paid for not by those who gave it, but by a reduction in benefits for those who can least afford it, or by our children and grandchildren, who will inherit the deficit that will result.

My resolution for the New Year is to regift the present, in the form of donations to organizations whose agenda is to defeat those in office who provided me with this unwanted and unneeded gift.

Walter Abrams


Ryan and the Republicans inspire holiday cheerlessness

With the recent passage of the tax bill by Congress and its signing into law by the president, I hope that we are all fully aware of, and not the least fooled by, what has happened. Yes, this new law is a huge “Christmas gift,” but not for House Speaker Paul Ryan’s hypothetical “Cindy,” the single mother struggling to make ends meet. Rather, it is the stock(ing) of Ryan himself, along with his Republican colleagues, hung by the chimney with care, that will be stuffed come election season with shiny new corporate contributions.


This is the cycle of wealth and power described so well by Noam Chomsky and others, who have rightly mourned the demise of the American dream for the real-life Cindys of this country left behind in our “corpocracy.”

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What’s really shiny and new this time around is how clumsy and laughable the literary conceit of the lawmakers and president is, comparing their hefty heist to a righteous Christmas present. Now that is truly precious.

George Chigas


Taxes are how we pay for our way of life — cutting them is selfish

What does this tax bill mean to you?

News outlets last week repeated that headline as our Congress passed a hideous bill, bought and paid for by the rich, in a process best described as a parody of representative government.

The selfishness of that question illuminates one of the great tragedies of 2017 America. We have lost a sense of shared destiny and obligation. “Taxes,” as Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts, often remarked, “are the price of civilization.” “Government” is just the name we use to describe what we as a people do together. Together we build and staff libraries and schools. Together we fund fire and police departments; agencies that ensure the safety of our air, water, and food; and first-response teams that save our lives, limbs, and homes.


This is what our taxes do for us. It is patriotic for all of us — including corporations, which benefit from government tremendously — to pay our fair share of taxes.

But in Donald Trump’s United States, Americans are not asked what they can do for their country; rather, they are encouraged to grab whatever they can, whenever they can, while they can get away with it.

Tim Kirk


There’s popular culture, and another popular pastime: Trump-bashing

I can’t thank RENÉE Graham enough for saving my family from being sucked into the Trump-Ryan cabal (“Watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life in the time of Trump,’ ” Opinion, Dec. 27). When our family sat around and watched “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I always thought we were simply enjoying a classic piece of cinema, with excellent acting and a perfect seasonal message. Little did I know that we were polluting our minds and unconsciously becoming part of a society that “vilifies immigrants, women, people of color, and the LGBT community,” in spite of the fact that we have members of all of these groups in our family.

That’s it then. No more “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and while I’m at it, I’m going to ban the Grinch as well. Such an evil character — he must just be another Trumpian in disguise. He had me fooled with the green hair, but now I see how he steals Christmas from the weak and innocent. Just like the tax cut!

I just hope it never gets reported in the press that the Grinch gives it all back so that my family doesn’t get confused and think that he is really a decent guy after all.

David Mahoney