It’s clear who will benefit from the new tax plan in Washington: the rich. What we’re hearing less about is who will pay the consequences — and that’s hardworking, low-income Americans. This year we’ve already seen attempts to gut essential programs like Medicaid and SNAP (formerly food stamps).

So after giving away $1.5 trillion in tax breaks to millionaires, those same critical programs will likely wind up back on the chopping block. With one in eight Americans below the poverty line, this is both bad public policy and just plain wrong.

I am counting on our congressional delegation to reject efforts to gut basic assistance to pay for tax breaks for the rich.

Russ Ziegler, Buffalo Grove

Nixon revisited

The ever unfolding story of Trump’s lawlessness is just Richard Nixon revisited. This comparison goes right down to subverting American interests by colluding with a foreign power. Nixon destroyed any hope for a peaceful settlement with North Vietnam by back channel talks and making false promises with Hanoi while Trump has clearly sold us out to the Russians. Trump’s lawyer now says that by virtue of being President , he can not possibly obstruct justice; just as Nixon and his weasel lawyers said before he was forced to resign. Why is it always Republican Presidents – Nixon with North Vietnam, Reagan secretly dealing with Iran before taking office, and Trump with Russia-who collude with the enemy yet posture themselves as patriots when they are clearly the antithesis of that?

Edward David Juillard, Morgan Park

Protect workers and consumers

Thanks to the 2016 update of U.S. chemical policy, the EPA now has the authority to protect us from toxic chemicals. EPA proposed rules to restrict three dangerous chemicals many months ago, but the Trump administration has yet to act. The case for action is strong: More than 300,000 workers and consumers are exposed to trichloroethylene (TCE) through both industrial processes and dry cleaning. It has been shown to cause cancer and has been linked to fetal heart malformations. Methylene chloride and N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP) can be found on the shelves of our local hardware stores in paint strippers. Acute exposure to methylene chloride is responsible for at least 50 reported deaths since the 1980s. Exposure to NMP is associated with developmental harm, including increased fetal and infant mortality. By finalizing bans on these high exposure industrial and consumer uses — in dry cleaning, vapor degreasing and paint stripping — EPA can protect thousands of workers and millions of consumers. What are they waiting for?

Kirk Shellko, Rogers Park

Starving the middle class

The Republican mantra that tax cuts aimed at large corporations and wealthy Americans will generate the kind of revenue growth that will create a deficit-neutral result has not been borne out in our recent economic history. In addition, corporations and billionaires right now are awash in cash.

When polled, most corporations declare that they will use the extra money to buy back stock, to further increase executive compensation, and to buy companies. They do not plan on capital investments or hiring more workers. All this tax bill will do is increase our highly skewed wealth distribution, which is starving the middle class and reducing the ability of that class to drive the demand that businesses depend on. What an ugly scam this tax bill is!

Mary F. Warren, Wheaton