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Letters to the Editor

GOP tax cut didn’t ‘pay for itself,’ just made the rich even richer

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blames spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for driving up the deficit. The GOP tax plan is the main driver of the rising deficit. | AP Photo/Alex Brandon

After running up a large deficit with the big Republican tax cut that went mainly to corporations and the wealthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell now has the gall to call for reducing deficits by cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Republicans have a long-standing practice of railing against deficits when it comes to programs that benefit ordinary people, but blithely ignoring deficits when giving tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy, many of whom just happen to be big Republican donors.

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Republicans made the bogus claim that their tax cuts would pay for themselves by generating increased economic activity and tax revenue. This would have had a better, but still unlikely, chance of happening if the tax cuts had gone to lower income people because they would have been more likely to spend the increased income and thus boost economic activity.

With most income and wealth gains going to the top over the last 30-plus years while the middle class continues to shrink, McConnell evidently believes that the wealthy can never be wealthy enough and ordinary people can never be squeezed enough.

Richard Barsanti, Western Springs

Hire persons with disabilities

Each year, October marks National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual campaign to declare a simple but powerful statement: With the right supports in place, persons with disabilities can and do successfully contribute to our workforce in ways that enhance their lives and the vibrancy of our communities.

This year, Illinois has cause to celebrate: in 2017, 9,550 more persons with disabilities had jobs in Illinois’ economy compared to the previous year. Our nation was founded on the principle that anyone who works hard should be able to get ahead in life. Persons with disabilities deserve equal opportunity to earn an income and achieve independence, just like anyone else.

In total, there are just over 691,000 working-age persons with disabilities in Illinois. That includes people who are blind or deaf or have other visible conditions, such as spinal cord injuries, as well as people with often-invisible intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD), such as autism spectrum disorders. Overall, nearly two in five (263,464, or 38 percent) are employed. According to RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that works to fight stigmas and advance opportunities for persons with disabilities, Illinois ranks 30th compared to the rest of the country.

Although the state certainly has room to improve, the employment successes of workers with disabilities can be attributed to the synergies developed between private business and disability service providers. IARF (Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities) members, along with nearly 1,400 providers represented by ANCOR (the nonprofit trade association for I/DD providers) nationally, work tirelessly to support persons with I/DD to be fully integrated into the community. Though these providers offer a breadth of services, a significant portion support individuals in their quest to secure and maintain meaningful employment.

We know that when persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities have support to access the workforce, both the individual and the employer benefit. Persons with disabilities can bring new talents and ways of thinking to the table and are more likely to be loyal to a company once they are hired — a win-win for everyone. This makes it clear why companies such as JP Morgan Chase, Coca-Cola, UPS, IBM, Starbucks and Walgreen’s practice inclusive hiring and have had great success. As an employer, it is important to consider these talents and advantages when hiring workers.

The dedication of hard-working individuals and staff, service providers and state agencies show that persons with disabilities can succeed when we invest in supports and services. The only limitations to what they can do are the limitations of our imaginations.

John Lipscomb, president & CEO, Keystone Alliance
Josh Evans, president & CEO, IARF

Mitch Trubisky, Bobby Douglass

Mitch Trubisky’s broken-play running in last Sunday’s loss to the Patriots brought back memories of Bobby Douglass for this long-ago Bears reporter. Nobody was more notorious at the unplanned but exciting skill of scrambling than the tackle-busting Douglass, whose 968 rushing yards in 1972 set an NFL record for quarterbacks that lasted 34 years. Unfortunately, these past and present Bear hopes had in common the fact that their improvised running — Trubisky in one game, Douglass over a career- — was much better than their passing.

Douglass, a big, strong-armed left-hander, did have one especially memorable moment as a passer. During a 4-touchdown performance against Buffalo in 1970, he interrupted a scramble long enough to launch a missile about 50 yards against the wind to a waiting receiver, Jim Seymour, in the end zone. The next day it was learned that Douglass threw that ball with a broken wrist.

Ed Stone, Northbrook