In response to a recent op-ed by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich about Apple and other U.S. companies avoiding taxes by keeping money overseas (“Make tax-cheating Apple pay up” — Sept. 6), Mr. Reich either doesn’t understand how the tax system actually works or he is intentionally misleading his readers. First of all, companies have no obligation to pay any more money in taxes than the law requires. Secondly, everything they are doing is perfectly legal. Thirdly, the U.S. has one of the highest tax rates in the world, so why would you bring the money back here if you are going to be gouged by the tax man?

Mr. Reich goes on to talk about the ideas of a tax amnesty and how the last time we did try that (2004), it didn’t produce the desired results of more investment by the companies who got the break. He references a study that showed the money brought back “was used to pay for dividends, share buybacks or executive bonuses,” to which I say, so what? He has to know that a dividend is taxable and whoever was given a bonus would have to pay income tax on that bonus. And if that person happened to be one of those evil rich 1 percent guys, that rate would be 35 percent.

If we are to ever have a debate about how to fix this problem, we need to have some intellectual honesty. Unfortunately, we never get that from the left. They instead prefer to have an issue to exploit the uniformed, not solve a problem.

John C. Fawcett, Burr Ridge

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Chicago teachers share the burden

The mayor and Chicago Public Schools leadership continue to demand that the Chicago Teachers Union do their part and finally “share the burden” of helping the city and district reach financial stability. Well, over the past 5 to 6 years, teachers have given back at least $2 billion dollars. Not $2,000. Not $2 million. Not $200 million. Rather, $2 billion. What has CPS done with all of that extra money?  That is a rather large sacrifice and shows teachers have “shared the burden,” all while CPS continues to make devastating cuts to schools. CPS also withheld raises after the contract expired. This is not legal. When a new contract agreement is not reached, the previous terms carry over into the next school year. CPS just decided not to pay the lane and step raises, and, to this point, has somehow gotten away with it.  Yet, the rest of the contract terms continue? Additionally, who decided to take multiple pension holidays? The teachers?  No. City leadership decided not to pay its bills.

Have other city unions been forced to give back this much, and then been asked to give up more in a new contract? I don’t think so. This seems like a personal vendetta that one person has against a union that went on strike once, and, due to the continued attacks on CTU, its members, and schools, will likely have to go on strike again to demand it be treated fairly. Do not blame the teachers for what city leadership has done.

Justin Nowak, Belmont Heights

A push for ethical treatment of animals

The Humane Society’s Paul Shapiro’s excellent September 8 commentary regarding cage-free hens was encouraging (“What happened when McDonald’s demanded cage-free hens”). In an ideal world, we would all be vegans and there would be no more slaughterhouses. But at this time there needs to be a concerted effort to treat “food animals,” including cows, pigs, chickens, lambs and turkeys, with the utmost compassion and tenderness. They are sentient beings and our fellow creatures. The moral onus is on humans to respect them and raise them in a kind and dignified manner.

Brien Comerford, Glenview

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