CROSSINGS AT HISTORICAL LOW
I am hopeful that Congress will oppose efforts by the president to declare a national emergency on the pretext that our southern border is under attack. It would be an outrage for any official to exploit such a drastic declaration for egotistic and political purposes.
Our nation must not be held hostage to one man’s desire for a costly but ineffective symbol — namely a border wall — that the majority of citizens oppose.
At the moment, I am privileged to enjoy a visit to southern Arizona. From firsthand observation, I can attest that the only border-related emergency here is the humanitarian crisis of people struggling to build a better life. Many of these desperate families and individuals are housed in charitable shelters in Sonora, Mexico, while they pursue asylum appeals through legal channels.
There are no local reports of Muslim terrorists or “prayer rugs” littering the desert — the latter is a fantasy taken from the movies, not a Border Patrol action. There are no caravans rushing through checkpoints. No major crime wave.
A youth group from Phoenix recently visited the church here that I often attend. After touring the border region, one young man remarked, “I came here expecting a war zone. I thought we were under invasion by criminals with lots of guns. Instead, I saw people coming to shop in Arizona.”
Bear in mind: this was a child from a suburb of Phoenix. He had been convinced by irresponsible fearmongering that a war is raging just 180 miles from his home. Evil brown-skinned people supposedly threaten his family’s immediate safety. What a joy it was to hear that he took, instead, the truth his eyes showed him: our neighbors to the south cross the border legally every day as they come to buy products at Home Depot and Family Dollar, peaceably returning home after a shopping trip.
The number of illegal border crossings is at a historical low. Moreover, it has been widely reported that undocumented immigrants commit crimes at far lower rates than legal visitors or citizens. Sadly, facts have not stopped the president from fanning irrational and divisive fears.
THE REST OF OUR TAX HISTORY
In reference to Jim Gould (letter, Feb. 2), the income tax in 1913 was indeed at 7 percent for everyone. But I believe that for non-history buffs, some mention of the rest of our tax history should be included.
In 1916, the rate jumped to 67 percent for the top end. In the 1920s it dropped to 25 percent. In 1944, it jumped to 94 percent for the top rate. The rest of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s the top tax rate stayed at 70 percent and indexed the brackets for inflation.
It then went down to 28 percent, and from 2013 to 2018, it ranged approximately from 39 to 43 percent. Why a tax cut was needed when the economy was in good shape, to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit, is beyond me.
To me, the most important thing to do at this time is to really update our infrastructure. We are supposed to be so advanced, yet we do not have roads and bridges in great shape.
But even more important by far is that we have not updated our electrical grid system.
We have reports that Russia and China can interfere and even shut down our grids. If this happens, there will be mass chaos.
That trillion should have been used for this area — not for giving the wealthy more money.