Email Letters: April 27, 2017
Congress should force Trump to divest and disclose business dealings
Stereotypes are harmful and necessarily lead to misunderstandings. One such is the view that all Trump supporters are undereducated and fail to grasp the complexities of governing. Not true. However, the letter of April 26 wherein Michael Higgins tries to justify Trump’s failure to release his tax returns certainly reinforces those who adhere to the aforementioned stereotype.
In his last paragraph Mr. Higgins states that the president “has businesses all over the world.” Indeed, this is the first president ever to have the audacity to continue conducting business with foreign countries while pretending to represent our county without any conflicts of interest. This is exactly why Congress should force him to divest and disclose his dealings including his tax returns…or resign.
Please ask Sen. Gardner to support the BLM Methane Rule
The Bureau of Land Management’s Methane Waste Prevention Rule is sensible, sound public policy. Colorado College’s State of the Rockies Project released poll results in January 2017 revealing that 81 percent of respondents (registered voters in seven western states) wanted the policy to continue.
As the BLM developed the rule, stakeholder input was gathered during public and tribal meetings held during a two-year period (2014 and 2015.) More than 300,000 public comments were submitted. This is how democracy works.
Using the Congressional Review Act now to repeal this rule would be shortsighted. It would demonstrate disregard for the process of gathering stakeholder input and incorporating public comment. It is no way to conduct representative government. The BLM methane rule promotes responsible stewardship of a public resource by minimizing waste and collecting royalties that benefit taxpayers. It also protects public health by keeping pollutants and carcinogens out of the air and it promotes job creation in the burgeoning methane mitigation industry. Please join me in asking Sen. Cory Gardner to support the BLM Methane Waste Prevention Rule.
There are multiple reasons why Trump should release tax returns
Once again, the ignorance and hypocrisy of die-hard and uninformed Trump supporters “like poor old” Michael Higgins are exposed in Wednesday’s letter to the editor, “Trump should not release his tax returns.” While it is clear that Trump has no intention of doing so, there are multiple reasons why he should.
First, because Trump said he would. From May 20, 2014 through February 25, 2016, candidate Trump repeatedly either promised or implied that he would “absolutely” be releasing his tax returns “soon.” Most Americans still want a president who keeps his word, and Republicans are quick to falsely accuse Democrats of not doing so.
Second, on February 25, 2016, Trump began claiming that he “could not” release his tax returns because they were “being audited” – but he has never provided any “audit letter” from the IRS, not all of his tax returns were ever under audit, and there is really nothing that prevents release of tax returns that are also being audited. Four 40 years now, Americans have understandably wanted a president whose personal integrity is confirmed by his/her personal tax returns.
Third, given Trump’s demonstrated penchant for lying about virtually everything, his tax returns would likely confirm reports that his multiple claims about his massive charitable contributions were also lies. Most Americans want a president who tells them the truth (most of the time).
Fourth, Trump’s tax returns would reveal from whom he receives income (thus settling reports of his money-laundering for Russian oligarchs and/or violations of our Constitution’s “Emoluments Clause”) and to whom he owes money (thus exposing his potential conflicts of interest). Most Americans want a President free of such conflicts and/or of leverageable financial connections to Vladimir Putin.
Higgins also lamely resorts to “birthers’” obviously false equivalency between President Obama’s college records and Trump’s tax returns, and apparently does not realize that the Clinton Foundation did disclose its sources and amounts of income – which Trump’s surrogates then used to fabricate false accusations of “corruption” and/or “pay for play” (projecting and deflecting Trump’s well-documented dishonesty onto Hillary Clinton).
Unless the IRS charges him with tax fraud, the only things Trump has to fear are public embarrassment to his demonstrably fragile ego – and impeachment. With Republicans in control of Congress, the latter is highly unlikely – unless release of his tax returns would disclose revelations that would compel even a small minority of patriotic Republicans to support impeachment. That remains the most convincing reason that Trump announced on January 22, 2017, that he would not be releasing them.
Minimum wage law may not have favorable results for Western Slope
Columnist Sean Goodbody is, as usual, half right in his observations, this time regarding Colorado’s new minimum wage law (Constitution Amendment 70.) Among other things, Goodbody references Seattle’s recent limited experiences with its minimum wage increase as “good signs for Colorado’s wage initiative.”
Well, not so fast. Goodbody states that starting in 2020, “[Colorado’s] minimum wage will … rise with the Consumer Price Index [“CPI”.] The relevant issues, then, for Daily Sentinel readers in three short years and indefinitely thereafter will be: (1) What CPI figure will be used? (2) How is it determined? and (3) Will the result be neutral, favorable or unfavorable to the Western Slope?
The answers are not very rosy. (1) The Colorado Division of Labor and Standards, the governing authority in this matter, computes and uses a single CPI figure. (2) That statistic is determined only on the combined economies of Denver, Boulder and Greeley. (3) The result is then applied uniformly (indiscriminately) to the entire state. Furthermore, use of that single metroplex statistic is predicated on Colorado’s prior Constitution Amendment 42, which in pertinent part remains unchanged by Amendment 70, and which has been successfully litigated as appropriate for this one-size-fits-all application.
Given the political attacks on local natural resource industries and their inherent cyclical swings, a fair reading of the tea leaves regarding Amendment 70 suggests the Western Slope will be bound by a measure unrepresentative of its baseline economic circumstances. The results will likely be more pronounced – and adverse – than Goodbody blithely suggests.