Tax on stock market trades fairer than VAT, other levies

We hear a lot about the government having to raise taxes to pay for all the massive spending in Washington. They sneak in new taxes and tax hikes. We hear about the “soda tax,” the “value-added tax” and many others.

If we must raise taxes, here’s one worth considering: How about a one-cent-per-share “stock market transaction tax”? It makes a lot more sense than a VAT! I’ve heard that with billions of shares traded every day, we could wipe out our national debt in a few years! I trade stocks and can attest to the fact that a stock market tax would cost me very little and would not deter me from trading.

I know this concept is not very popular with Wall Street or corporate America, but we need to demand that our lawmakers consider this before taxing the middle class any more. It seems that corporations are the main beneficiary of government spending but think that the tax burden should be paid mostly by average citizens.

We need to hold Congress accountable to not raise taxes on the middle and lower classes. A stock market tax would only help the economy and mostly be paid by hedge funds and investment groups that speculate to make free money.

A stock market tax is a viable alternative to a value-added tax.

From Jim Corrigan, Santa Cruz, Calif.

AARP is educating seniors on health law

Your story, “AARP, Dems lobby older voters on healthcare law before midterms” (April 8) is a misleading characterization of AARP’s effort to educate Americans about the new healthcare law. While healthcare reform may be about politics for some, our education campaign is all about helping our members and all older Americans understand how these changes will affect them.

For more than 50 years, we have been a nonpartisan organization with a mission to give our members straightforward information. That’s especially important in today’s hyper-partisan environment where the sound bites grab more headlines than the facts.

Just as it was after a Republican-controlled Congress passed the historic Medicare prescription drug benefit (which AARP supported), our focus is on educating our members and all older Americans about what the new law will mean for them. The new law contains many important changes that will be rolling out over a number of years, and our education efforts can’t and won’t stop because of an election.

Older Americans have questions, and we’re ready to answer them with objective information. We welcome any elected officials — no matter their party — who want to join in that effort.

From Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president, Washington

Fraud-riddled system now more expensive

The reconciled healthcare bill passed by Congress only cut away some of the irrelevant special-interest pork that was in the first healthcare bill proposed by our president. It did not reform the delivery of healthcare to us.

The major flaw in the government’s attempt to improve healthcare for all of us is that it adds, at cost to the taxpayers, millions more people to an expensive, fraud-riddled private healthcare system that is manipulated by for-profit hospitals and health insurance companies.

As a first-world industrial country, America has the unique distinction of using the private sector to broker our nation’s healthcare. Due to this phenomenon, healthcare costs have risen higher than general inflation. This directly increases the cost of Medicaid.

This year alone, 500,000 baby boomers now are eligible for unreformed Medicaid, and every succeeding year Medicaid must enroll more baby boomers. Due to this fact, government healthcare spending will consume 20 percent of our GDP in 2017 25 percent in 2025.

President Barack Obama has appointed Alice Rivlin, former head of Congressional Budget Office and former deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, to head a fiscal reform plan to rein in the $12.8 trillion debt. Rivlin says her highest priority is to reduce healthcare spending and adds the idea that raising taxes is necessary to support Obama’s healthcare reform bill.

If healthcare had truly been reformed by being made more affordable to all of us, then why do we have to pay more in taxes to subsidize it?

From Helen Tackett, Fullerton, Calif.