America's billionaires create jobs. Or do they do it?

Billionaires create jobs …

Secret IRS Files Reveal Billionaires Skip Income Taxes | 20th June

ProPublica is unfair accusing billionaires of skipping income taxes. The billionaires pay their taxes according to the tax code. I also make all deductions from my taxes that I am entitled to under the tax code. If ProPublica has a problem with the taxes these wealthy men pay, let the news agency try to change the tax number. I am dismayed to see such false accusations against these icons of our economy. Their brilliance has produced successful companies that provide millions of jobs.

Alex Mackenzie, Crystal Beach

… are they really doing that?

Back with the billionaires | Letters, June 22nd

A letter from Valrico fulfills its promise to offer “a little perspective”. It praises the "trickle-down" economy that was dismissed 40 years ago by George H. W. Bush as the "voodoo economy". Bush was right. Trickle Down writer Arthur Laffer was on TV just last week scoffing that the bottom tier of the American workforce was "not worth subsistence level."

The author says a Times editorial "failed to give due credit to the black and female billionaires in our supposedly white supremist, patriarchal system." Mockery of the reality of our white, predominant, patriarchal system put high propaganda value on that one black or female billionaire under a million who they claim proves the merits of the system but who actually proves the bitter rule.

All of the jobs created by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and Microsoft account for a fraction of the jobs that were destroyed in the rise of these untaxed billionaires. We don't have to “withdraw” these billionaires, we have to “back up” them – with a fair tax law.

Steve Douglas, St. Petersburg

Not so fast with gun laws changing

I'm a combat veteran and I like my guns. I also want stricter gun laws | Column, June 17

If guest columnist Justin McFarlin is what he claims to be an "NRA certified" gun instructor, his students are likely shooting off target. That is, if his teaching skills are in line with his clumsy view of the federal firearms background check requirements. McFarlin conveniently omits in his introductory paragraph that he could complete his gun purchase in 30 minutes because he had a concealed gun permit, which allowed him to legally bypass the three-day waiting period. So why propose increased regulation when existing law is not being enforced?

The paperwork initiating background checks, Form 4473, requires a gun buyer to provide answers to questions about his or her ability to legally purchase and possess a firearm; the information provided must be truthful and otherwise violate applicable law. However, prosecution of applicants who lie on Form 4473 is extremely rare. Why?

After all, the lion's share of internet firearms sales involve shipping the firearms through the mail or through a commercial carrier, who therefore sends them to a licensed dealer who must initiate the background check process. The bottom line is that the existing federal background check requirement is obviously sufficient.

John Gill, St. Pete Beach

The author is a rifle range officer at the Wyoming Antelope Club in Clearwater.

Repeal of the second amendment

I'm a combat veteran and I like my guns. I also want stricter gun laws | Column, June 17

My Answer: I don't like your guns, any guns and background checks are meaningless. Every gun owner in America is just one bad day away from being the next mass murderer. I represent the majority of Americans who do not have weapons. We have one goal: to cancel the second amendment. To do this, our first mission is to expose the gun owners' lies.

My rule is not to discuss this with gun owners. They either deny the facts or claim they are the exception. Nothing I say will change your paranoid fantasies. I'm making an exception this time, mostly out of respect for the author. Here are the gun owners' lies:

Lie: You cannot override the second amendment, there is no point in trying. Fact: Article V of the Constitution requires an amendment to be proposed by two-thirds of the House and Senate or a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the state legislatures. It is up to the states to adopt a new amendment, with three quarters of the states voting in favor of ratification. Two thirds of Americans already have no weapons. We will make it clear to our representatives that we are the super majority, not the gun owners.

Lie: I need a gun to protect myself and my family. Fact: Anything to do with gun ownership makes gun owners and their families less safe and at much greater risk of gun violence. Just possessing a weapon increases the likelihood that the weapon owner is twice as likely to be a victim of gun violence. Having access to a gun in a home increases the risk of death from suicide by 300%. When gun owners brag, "You have to get my gun out of my cold dead hands," the reality is much more likely that the dead hands are the hands of a concerned family member or a curious child.

Lie: If guns are banned, only outlaws have guns. Fact: Japan has some of the strictest gun regulations in the world, and yakuza gangsters now enjoy just making money and not shooting each other all the time.

Lie: freedom, America! Fact: Other democracies have universal health coverage, free higher education, paid parental leave, guaranteed comfortable retirement, and little or no guns. America's “land of the free” has medical bankruptcies, student loan debt, no paid parental leave, work beyond retirement, and lots of guns. Freedom – you keep saying this word. I don't think you know what it means

Charles Kormos, Tampa

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