U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin talks about the looming "fiscal cliff " at Hilton Chicago, Friday, December 7, 2012. I John H. White~Sun-Times
Updated: February 21, 2013 6:43AM
Morals, not gun laws
If Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the aldermen really want to stop or curb gun violence, it won’t be with gun laws. Chicago has had gun restrictions for 20 years and they have not stopped criminals from shooting people. The politicians need to speak the truth about what is killing kids. It’s the lack of moral and family values taught in the households. How about this crazy concept: Teach your kids that it is not all right to use gun violence or any other violence to solve your problems.
Richard Clemens, Bridgeport
Might someone recommend where the Lance Armstrong aficionados might go to have the “v” removed from their rubber “Live Strong” bracelets? Perhaps “Lie Strong” might be more appropriate.
Paul M. Peterson, Edgebrook
Sen. Durbin on tax reform
Ike Brannon works for a “conservative D.C.-based think tank” and recently challenged me on this page to state what I would favor in tax reform. I accept. First, with middle-income families falling further behind each year, we must protect the progressivity of tax laws that “forgive” up to $1.2 billion in taxes each year. Specifically, we can protect the mortgage interest deduction for working families and draw reasonable lines on the value of realty affected or the number of residences one can claim. We should draw careful lines on health insurance, charitable contributions and state and local tax deductions that acknowledge their value but do not protect the extremes. And although the Cayman Islands and Bermuda may be popular tax havens for the rich and famous, we can bring $100 billion of taxes owed back home if we close these egregious loopholes. I welcome Mr. Brannon to come to Chicago and ask the first 10 people walking by if the biggest oil companies, now the most profitable businesses in history, should give up their annual tax subsidies of $4 billion. There’s room to reform the code, protect middle-income families, reduce the deficit and eliminate the most outrageous tax favors in a way that even Ike would like.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin
Why not divert a small portion of the advertising and marketing money the Pentagon now spends to recruit new soldiers to the equally important job of selling America’s employers on the practical advantages of hiring veterans? Such a campaign would educate employers in specific reasons veterans can add value to their enterprise and offer a positive alternative to the drumbeat of stories about PTSD and other debilitating consequences of war that make vets seem like risky hires. It would involve advertising in business media, production and distribution of informational material on military training and experience, and publicity featuring veterans who have succeeded in the business world. The effort would be supported by a robust program of market research to identify knowledge-based barriers to employment and find ways to overcome them. How is the employment of veterans related to military recruiting? Young Americans volunteer to serve their country, but most do so with the understanding that their service will give them an edge on life, a belief strongly encouraged by recruiters. To the extent that turns out to be a promise not quite kept, future efforts to maintain the strength of our armed forces will become more difficult and costly.
Thomas W. Evans, Mundelein