Travis Akin and his pro-big business front group are at it again. Last week, he tried to somehow argue that a lawsuit involving a soda pop tax is the same as serious cases involving deaths and paralysis -- they are not.
Akin's recent letter to the editor uses the new soda pop tax as a springboard to claim that all lawsuits filed in the county are frivolous, and he makes the false claim that Cook County courts are somehow out of balance and always favor plaintiffs.
Akin's claims just aren't true. The number of civil suits filed in Illinois courts has fallen 43 percent from 2010 to 2015 and in Cook County, civil lawsuit filings have dropped over 50 percent in the same time frame. According to the Jury Verdict Reporter, more than half of those who file civil lawsuits in Cook County lose the "lawsuit lottery."
There is no correlation between our courts and the economy. Just look to a recent survey done by the National Federation of Independent Business which ranked lawsuits 68th on a list of 75 concerns for small businesses. Not only that, Illinois is also pro-business -- the U.S. Department of Commerce ranks Illinois fifth out of the 50 states in Gross Domestic Product.
Illinois' civil justice system works. Our courts provide a level playing field for individuals to force wrongdoers to make amends -- even the wealthiest companies like Walgreen's and McDonald's.
Access to civil lawsuits is a critical tool for consumers to identify and remedy potentially widespread abuses by large corporations. It allows everyday citizens to hold these companies accountable while deterring future misconduct.
John P. Scanlon, President
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Time for truth on tax reform debate
In the old days when a majority of Americans were farmers, ranchers and small business owners, it wasn't necessary to explain that high tax rates on businesses would kill jobs and the economy. The vast majority of Americans understood that. Unfortunately today, too many Americans simply don't understand the basics anymore and Democrats have fostered hate against the very business people that are the engine of our economy that creates our jobs and funds our economy.
Thanks to the highest corporate taxes in the developed world, millions of U.S. jobs have been shipped out of America to countries with lower corporate tax rates which has killed the very U.S. manufacturing jobs that created the most prosperous middle class in the world and stalled the pay increases of most Americans.
In addition, because America is the only nation that double taxes the foreign profits of U.S. companies, close to $3 trillion that could be used to rebuild American factories and jobs sits overseas at this critical time. It is infuriating to hear Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer tell the American people that reducing the corporate tax rate benefits the wealthy. The truth is that the average American is really paying for our insane corporate tax rate, not corporations.
The Republican tax reform package will create jobs, grow the economy and increase wages. That is the truth.
Setting the record straight on collusion
Let's see if there was collusion during the 2016 election. First, the Democratic National Committee colluded with the Hillary Clinton campaign to undercut Bernie Sanders. This led a DNC staff worker to hack the DNC computers and send material to WikiLeaks.
Next, CNN asked the DNC for questions to trip up the Republican primary nominee during a televised debate. During the general election CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, The New York Times and The Washington Post all colluded to try to elect Hillary Clinton.
Did Russia interfere with the election? They have been interfering since Lenin. Do the names Alger Hiss and Henry Drextel White ring a bell? The Soviet Russians created the phony peace movement, and tried to hijack the Civil Rights and environmental movements. The Russians try to spread distrust and division among our people.
After the 2016 election, the media groups that colluded to elect Clinton are colluding to overturn the election. First, they have fabricated a narrative of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. It hasn't worked, so now they are stirring up racial divisions. I call this collusion Press-gate.
The 2016 election hinged on two events. First, candidate Donald Trump announced an excellent list of possible nominees to the Supreme Court. This assured millions like myself that Trump wasn't a RINO. The second event was when candidate Clinton calls the Trump supporters "deplorables." This reaffirmed to millions like myself that Clinton is a snob and a bigot. Hillary Clinton defeated herself. She is a Democrat's version of Thomas E. Dewey.
John J. Shelton
Thank you for your thought-provoking piece on the archaic electoral college and the response it is generating. The fact that in this age of instant communication, we still have in place a system that requires us to vote for electors we've never met and don't know to travel to Washington to hopefully cast a ballot for a candidate we support is so ludicrous it boggles the mind
We can't vote for president, but we can vote for librarian
The readers who have suggested we need to continue this outdated method of electing the most important leader in the world because it gives voters throughout the nation a voice don't realize a candidate needs to win only 11 states to reach the 270 total required by the college. So 39 states could have no voice at all.
Books on this subject are available at local libraries. Hopefully enough citizens will read them and get involved in dumping this antiquated nightmare.
Another 'odyssey' worth the read
The Sept. 22 PBS Newshour's Bookshelf segment, "Great books to fall for now that summer's over," featured Jeffrey Brown and his guest authors Pamela Paul and Louise Penny, who shared fall book recommendations. As a former English teacher, I watch these Bookshelf segments with considerable interest
Penny's "I read everything" comment, her fascination with odysseys, and her recommendation of Daniel Mendelsohn's book, "An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic," really caught my attention--leading me to think that she and others might also view local author Frank Splitt's book in a similar fashion.
The book, "An Odyssey of Reform Initiatives, 1986-2015: From Engineering, K-12, and Higher Education to the Environment, National Information Infrastructure, and Collegiate Athletics," is certainly not destined to be a best seller since it is not for sale. Rather than being sold, it has been gifted to and has been accepted by 45 U.S. colleges and universities for their library collections. A copy of the book and CD can also be found at the Mount Prospect Public Library.
It is my view that Splitt's book is another odyssey worth the read as it provides deep insights into the issues surrounding each of the topics listed in the book's title. Researchers and citizens concerned about the future of education, the environment, the beginning of the internet, and the impact of sports in America can find information on the book as well as a means of downloading its contents, at http://www.futurevectors.com