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The misinformation from Republican political leaders and their corporate lobbyist allies continues to grow regarding the cost of the Build Back Better plan being considered in Congress.  

Their latest attack is to claim there is a “tax on low-income people.”

They are referring to a proposed raise of the excise tax from $1 to $2 a pack on tobacco and nicotine products that would be levied on the manufacturers. It is projected to raise $9 billion a year. Reminder: The CDC says cigarettes are the leading cause of preventable cause of disease and death in the United States, killing over 400,000 Americans a year. Anyone can avoid this supposed “tax” by choosing not to use nicotine and tobacco products.

Another misleading claim is that gasoline prices are Biden’s fault. Not so. President Biden has not stopped U.S. energy production or canceled existing drilling or mining leases. Foreign and domestic suppliers are still ramping up production after an historic slowdown of demand during the pandemic. In fact, prices relative to income were higher 2008-12. Economists anticipate gas prices to steadily decline soon.

Also proposed is allowing Medicare to negotiate prices on some drugs. Big Pharma’s Republican friends claim that this will “stifle innovation and investment,” with no evidence to support that. Let’s remember that Big Pharma has annual profits of about $100 billion and already has negotiated prices with the VA for years. Americans could better afford their needed medications under this proposal.

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy gave an eight-hour speech Nov. 18 filled with falsehoods. For example, he said our bank accounts would be examined by the IRS if we spend $28 a day. False: Increased enforcement is aimed at recovering $600 billion from wealthy tax cheats, not the average person. He claimed this is the biggest spending bill in U.S. history, but the Congressional Budget Office says it would be the sixth biggest in the last 40 years — the Trump years added over $7 trillion to the deficit. 

The highest cost estimates of the infrastructure and social spending packages together would still be less than half of our annual military budget and be less than 1% of GDP.

Conservatives even attack a family sick leave proposal that 186 countries have, with 12 weeks being the usual amount covered. Keeping their wealthy donors happy is more important to them than the well-being of average families.

Surveys show that every provision of the Build Back Better plan is popular with the majority of Americans. Contact your representatives in Congress and urge them to support this bill

John Flynn


A few historical facts


History is good to study whether good or bad: It defines who we are. Patrick Henry said, “The Constitution is not a document for the government to restrain the people but an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”

These three documents are so important to our history that, every night, the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence are lowered into a bomb-proof safe. 

Although we picture the founding fathers as old men, many were quite young. By July 4, 1776, Aaron Burr was 20, Alexander Hamilton 21, James Madison 25, John Jay 29, and Thomas Jefferson was 33. 

Finally, something all Americans can be proud of. During a Civil War battle, the first African American to receive the medal of honor was Sgt. William Harvey Carney, who, despite being shot in the face, shoulder, arms and legs, refused to let the American flag touch the ground. Now this would be a movie that we could all honor.

Les Armstrong


Mike Getz opinion response


Mike, where do you draw the line? It sounds like nowhere. You are a sheep willing to do whatever the government wants you to do. This country was based on the Constitution, of which you have and want none. Grow a backbone. Let each person make their own decisions. Yes, some decisions are worth losing your livelihood over.

Scott Stewart