Tax Reform Moves Into the Spotlight

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Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, and Gary D. Cohn, the National Economic Council director, left the Capitol after a meeting with Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, on Tuesday.

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Al Drago for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Trump Hurries a Tax Overhaul Not Yet Written” (front page, Sept. 14):

President Trump is using the tragedies of multiple hurricanes hitting the United States as an excuse to rush through Congress his plan to reform the country’s income tax code. Attempting to capitalize on the suffering of millions of people to circumvent the normal process of careful and systematic analysis of the impacts of making major changes to the tax code can only mean that his proposals would fail to stand up to the detailed scrutiny that normally accompanies such legislation.

More important, unless President Trump releases all of his tax returns — which, during the campaign, he promised to do after the election — we can never know how much he and his family personally benefit from his proposals. Given that he has repeatedly used the office of the presidency for personal aggrandizement (doubling the membership fees at Mar-a-Lago, hosting foreign leaders at Trump hotels), we can only believe that his plan is less a “Make America Great Again” plan than a “Make the Trump Family Ever Richer” plan.

ROBERT CHECCHIO, DUNELLEN, N.J.

To the Editor:

Re “When the Rich Said No to Getting Richer,” by David Leonhardt (column, Sept. 5):

Thank you, Mr. Leonhardt, for reminding us that after World War II the highest income category was taxed at 91 percent. Taxes then paid for war expenses and the Interstate highway system. Today, governments are unable to adequately fund law enforcement or education or fix those highways, among other needs, while some multimillionaires, although in the maximum 39.6 percent tax bracket, actually pay an effective tax rate lower than their secretaries do.

In the same way, some corporations ostensibly taxed at 35 percent actually pay a far lower rate or even no taxes after tax credits and deductions. It would be interesting to know how many companies are using contractors to pay their employees a stagnating wage and keep them in dead-end jobs instead of appreciating them as loyal employees and helping them to further their education and goals, as reflected in the Sept. 3 Sunday Business article contrasting two employers, “The Great American Janitor Test.”

There is a better way than that being pursued by those who do not see the corrosive effect of the values of many of today’s “leaders.”

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