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Reader Opinion: Shameless greed

On Jan. 5, 2017, the Dispatch published an opinion letter of mine that included this statement: "President Trump's view of his life relationships seems to be that money is the measure of all things, with an alleged ethic that the end-justifies-the-means." The jury may still be out on this judgment, but it deserves an update related to the recent Republican tax bill.

After a year, there is little that changed from what I meant in the above statement. What seems new is that the statement now also seems to fit a major segment of the Republican Party:

• The rich will benefit greatly at the expense of the poor and middle class, worsening the already dangerously high U.S. wealth disparity.

• The middle class comparatively will get some immediate "crumbs", which are hoped to keep them happy for a time. In contrast, what the rich get is immediate, certain, and permanent.

• The deficit, which Republicans have in the past railed against, will skyrocket immediately with a dubious hope that it will be erased by a resulting booming middle class base to tax. This deficit, meanwhile, will be an excuse to cut Social Security and Medicare.

• President Trump's prediction that killing the Obamacare mandate will kill Obamacare confirms his desire to "repeal" without any "replace." This will increase insurance rates, offsetting most middle-class tax reduction benefits.

• Increased standard deductions will likely decrease itemized contributions to churches and organizations that help the poor, further worsening the harmful effects of wealth disparity.

The secretive and hurried legislative process stifled opposition warnings. A last-minute windfall "pass-through" provision for big real estate owners like Trump caused similarly rich Senator Corker to switch from his previous ethical opposition the bill. This helped put the cynical, shameless greed of the Republican rich on full display.

Dick Peterson

Bloomington

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