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LETTERS: Who needs ‘flying taxis’ when we have the L?

(Santiago Covarrubias/For The Sun-Times)

I see that the big ride-hailing company, having conquered the streets, now is targeting the skies (Nov. 9, “Uber unveils flying taxi”). It claims that its chopper-airplane hybrid “will soar over traffic congestion, sharply reducing city travel times.”

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Somebody should tell the geniuses at Uber that such a thing already exists in Chicago. It is called the “L,” and it has soared over car-choked city streets for well over a century. It costs two bucks and change, any time of day — a fraction of what an Uber or Lyft trip costs, whether aerial or terrestrial.

True, the L does not have the George Jetson feel of a drone-cab and does not appeal to app-addicted hipsters, leading to declining ridership. Clearly, what the CTA needs is a sexy new name for its rail service. May I suggest “Träyn”?

Hugh Iglarsh, Skokie

Gun lobby

Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut (home to Newtown) is entirely justified when he refers to the NRA as a “gun lobby,” because that is exactly what it is. It is not a citizen’s organization, but a lobbyist for an industry whose only motive is profit. Polls show time and again that the NRA’s positions do not coincide with its citizen members, only its customers, the gun industry.

And the current political deflection that this is a mental health issue is disingenuous, a deflection, and a distraction. It is equivalent to taking an urgent memo and stuffing it in a drawer, promptly and permanently forgotten. It’s an impractical approach that would never happen. A 24-7 surveillance society is not what we want and, with 300 million guns floating around, there would still be people who were “a good guy with a gun” yesterday who are bad guys today.

Michael Hart, West Ridge

Enough is enough

It was felt in some quarters that the recent killing of the teacher on the North Side of Chicago would be the catalyst to generate a serious crackdown on the gangs making up to now, the South and West sides of Chicago a killing field. With the violence spreading to the expressways and now the North Side, nothing has changed, the carnage continues.

Various strategies deployed to prevent the daily shootings and killings on the West and South sides of Chicago have not worked. Gang members committing the crimes are only dealt with when they are caught in the act of shooting and that rarely happens.

The result is that most murders go unsolved, meaning that hundreds of murderers are walking our streets. These young thugs have no regard for human life and will undoubtedly take additional lives.

When are the citizens of Chicago going to say, “Enough is enough?” The gangs as entities have been treated with kid gloves and given a pass. It is a rare instance when the gangs themselves are mentioned in conversations about how to deal with gang violence. The emphasis is usually on curtailing the flow of guns.

We have been told that we can’t arrest our way out of this situation. I say let’s give it a shot. All other strategies have failed. Law abiding citizens in the affected areas will applaud this strategy. And while we are at it, random roadblocks in certain areas might curtail some of the drive-by shootings. This ongoing carnage calls for drastic measures.

Ned L. McCray, Tinley Park

Tax giveaway

The GOP doesn’t need no stinkin’ tax cut bill to keep the sweep of middle-class wealth moving inexorably upward to the greedy rich. Since 2010, they have cut the IRS’ budget by 18 percent and reduced enforcement staff by a quarter. The mega-rich with their mega-mouthpieces have taken notice, fearing less and less the formerly long reach of the tax police.

Not satisfied with simply gaming the system through enforcement cutbacks, Republicans endlessly repeat the Big Lie that U.S. businesses are the most taxed in the industrialized world. But the official 35 percent business tax rate they cite to justify this latest legislative giveaway averages just 21 percent with many profitable companies paying zilch. And that decimated IRS enforcement staff? The One Percenter in Chief is proposing to another round of waterboarding in the bathtub of Republican greed.

Walt Zlotow, Glen Ellyn

Deferred Income Tax

The Deferred Income Tax is the correct terminology for the “Death Tax” – a Republican talking point as long as I can remember (“Death tax would wreak havoc on a business my dad built up over years,” Nov. 3). The increase in value of Karen Madonia’s father’s company has not been taxed prior to her father’s death. The increase in the company’s value each year is, in fact, nothing more or less than the “wages” of his investment. Like the workers he employs, that increase is the return on his work and effort. Unlike those worker’s wages, he has not had to pay any tax on it year to year. If the tax code were to be changed to eliminate an estate rax (now you only pay on estates more than $5.4 MILLION) that “wage” that her father earned would never be taxed at all! It really should be called the Trump tax relief act of 2017 since it particularly advantages people like Donald Trump. If he bought a building in the year 2000 for $100 million – he gets to take a write off against his income every year “depreciation expense.” If he dies after writing off the full cost of his purchase and the property increased in value over that 30-year period to have a value of approximately $300 million, that increase in value AND the depreciation he took against his income EVERY YEAR would never be taxed.

Keep the estate tax in place. It is not a “Death Tax.” it is a Deferred Income Tax.

Stephen Epstein, Lincolnwood

No conscience

The No. 1 nation in gunmen on rampages that kill innocent people, the No. 1 weapons dealer in the world that exports death globally for massive profits. So much to be proud of, especially with a president who just emanates love and understanding for all people. He is not the least bit insane for not believing in global warming. The emperor has no clothes and sadly, no brain or conscience.

Edward David Juillard, Morgan Park