James Hodgkinson, the Belleville man accused of shooting at congressmen and aides during practice for a congressional baseball game Wednesday, has written a number of letters to the editor of the Belleville News-Democrat.
In them, he often railed against Republican and tax policies, and at least once advocated for legalizing marijuana.
Following are the letters:
SEPT. 12, 2012
The path out of our deficit
The best book I've read in a while is "Aftershock" by Robert B. Reich. He explains that the lowering of taxes on the richest Americans was a major cause of the Great Depression. He also states that it is a major cause of the Great Recession, which started in 2007.
He states that the year before the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Recession were both peaks of the incomes of the top 1 percent at more than 23 percent of the total income of the country. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his Federal Reserve chairman, Marriner Eccles, brought us out of the Great Depression by raising taxes on the rich.
During the 1920s three Republican presidents lowered tax rates leading up to the Great Depression. In 1931 we had 23 tax brackets from 1.5 percent for incomes up to $59,000 adjusted for inflation (which covered more than half of total population) to 25 percent for income over $1,476,000.
In 1932 we had 55 tax brackets from 4 percent for incomes up to $65,500 up to the 42nd tax bracket of 50 percent, which was equal to the top income of the previous year. Then the added tax brackets kicked in. Fifty-one percent to 56 percent were brackets increasing by approximately 1 percent for every $40,000. Brackets 57 percent to 60 percent were for income increases of approximately $1 million. Brackets 61 percent to 63 percent were for income increases of approximately $4 million, topping out at 63 percent for income over $16,378,000. Now that is what we need today.
AUG. 28, 2012
An idea worth repeating
Letter writer Roddy Riggs reminds me of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly, but I'm sure he doesn't bring in the millions of dollars those two do. They speak their lies and hatred and misdirection to anyone who will listen.
If I seem to be a broken record, it is because of the simple facts that need to be understood by everyone of voting age. I just want to let everyone know that income inequality was a factor in the causes of the Great Depression as well as the greed of Secretary of Treasury Andrew Mellon under the Republican Presidents Harding, Coolidge and Hoover.
Mellon was the third richest man in the country. This millionaire persuaded the presidents and Congress to lower the top marginal tax rates, from 73 percent to 58 percent, to 50 percent, to 46 percent, to 25 percent and finally 24 percent in 1929, the year of the stock market crash and the start of the Great Depression.
This is what the Republican Party wants to do today.
We need to bring our country out of today's recession by raising the number of tax brackets from six to 20 or more and the top marginal rate of 35 percent on $380,000 to 60 percent on $20 million or more. In 1938 we had 33 brackets from 4 percent for most of the country to 79 percent for income over $79 million.
I believe anything near these rates would be fair and balanced. In rebuttal: I have never said "life sucks," only the policies of the Republicans.
AUG. 17, 2012
Income inequality is risky
The right-wing writer Dennis Rodenhofer has twice enough hate to go around since he is beside himself to cut down my sources of the causes of the Great Depression.
I named the economists of the Austrian School Economics, and they are Waddill Catchings and William Trufant Foster. He can't believe anything on Wikipedia, so I followed up with Waddill Catchings' biography on tradingstocks.net to get that site's opinion. They are identical.
The income inequality was a major cause of the Great Depression, in that the production of the country was full blast but the common worker couldn't afford to buy the same goods that they were producing.
If Rodenhofer doesn't see this as a major reason for the causes of the Great Depression, he has his head in the sand.
I don't believe all of the messages on Fox News but I still think they get some of it right. Change channels to MSNBC and get a better, balanced opinion.
As for my loving President Obama, I say when people look at the other side, the choice is obvious. I don't want a president who won't even keep his money in American banks. I don't want a president who will lower taxes on the rich and raise them on the other 99 percent.
I don't want a president who wants to lower the number of tax brackets when everyone with a brain knows we need more tax brackets in order to reach all classes of income.
JULY 29, 2012
Trying to buy tax breaks
One of my favorite TV shows is "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC.
On a recent show she stated that 17 very rich men are supplying the Republican Party with more than 60 percent of their campaign contributions.
These men are trying to buy our country. You know they expect something for all this money. That something is that Mitt Romney and a Republican Congress won't raise their taxes. We all know that the rich don't pay enough taxes.
In response to letter writer Roddy D. Riggs calling me ignorant and making up facts, I say: Look up "Causes of the Great Depression," on Wikipedia. Income inequality is on the list. This theory was held by economists Waddill Catchings, William Trufant, Rexford Tugwell, Adolph Berle and John Kenneth Galbraith and influenced Franklin D. Roosevelt.
It held that the economy produced more goods than consumers could purchase because the consumers didn't have enough income. In the productive 1920s, the mechanization of industry caused layoffs and unemployment started a steady rise but the rich got richer.
If the rich paid their fair share of taxes today, we wouldn't be in this predicament. We need to vote all Republicans out of Congress. We need to demand Congress add 10 or more brackets to the existing tax code. We need 20 brackets to $20 million, and a 60 percent top marginal rate.
We can get our country back if we all vote the right way.
JULY 8, 2012
Obama's for U.S. workers
I can't believe how many people are upset with our president. You'd think that the world was full of rich millionaires. Why else would these people talk badly about a guy who has their best interest at heart?
I read the other day about a man blaming President Barack Obama for food stamp recipients going up from 26 million to 46 million. Anyone with a knowledge of the facts would know that this is because of former President George W. Bush, and his ruining our economy. He got us into two wars that we couldn't afford and gave all his rich friends tax breaks.
If people would check the causes of the Great Depression, they would find that income inequality was one of the major causes. Because of this fact, President Franklin Roosevelt and Congress raised taxes back up to what they were before the Republican Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge and tax cuts of 1921, 1924 and 1926, leading to the Great Depression.
If we don't want another Great Depression, we should re-elect the man who is working for the working man. President Ronald Reagan's "trickle down" policy did not work, and never will.
A strong middle class is what a country needs to prosper. The only thing that has trickled down in the last 30 years came from Mitt Romney's dog.
Let's vote all Republicans out of Congress, and get this country back on track. We need 10 more tax brackets for income over $1 million, $2 million, $3 million, $4 million and $10 million.
MAY 25, 2012
Use 55 tax brackets, not six
IT IS A shame that Democrats won't attack the Republicans over the minuscule and lopsided tax system with only six brackets, ranging from 10 percent to 35 percent. It looks like the super rich have bought their vote as well. This recession was started years ago when congressmen found out they could make money by accepting money from the super rich in the form of donations, by simply changing the tax laws and putting more of the burden on the working man.
You see, we have always had a progressive tax system. In fact, in 1932 we had 55 brackets ranging from 4 percent to 63 percent. Everyone paid 4 percent for the first $4,000 income, which would amount to more than $50,000 today. The top marginal tax bracket was 63 percent for all income of more than $1 million, which would amount to more than $12 million today. Now I think everyone would like to see the rich and the super rich taxed at a higher rate.
The argument today is taking away the Bush tax cuts or not, which would add only 4 percent to the top marginal rate. The argument should be to rewrite the tax laws as they were in 1932. We need 55 brackets ranging from 4 percent to 63 percent. Anyone can look up the history of federal income tax rates on the Internet. Check it out.
These guys are cheating everyone in this country while telling us all the time that they are broke when it is the super rich with all the money.
MAY 4, 2012
More brackets needed
Letter writer Roddy D. Riggs missed my point completely. Although he did whine about not taxing the rich any higher or they might leave the country, my answer to him is that they have already outsourced many jobs and keep their money in offshore accounts. What difference could this really make?
Whenever we were at war in the past, our government had enough sense to raise taxes across the board to pay for the war. The main difference was that there were a lot more tax brackets to raise. For most of those years there was more than 23 tax brackets.
We have always had a progressive tax system, but now it tops out at $357,000 and only six brackets. It should extend with at least 12 brackets to $12 million.
I don't envy the rich; I despise the way they have bought our politicians and twisted our laws to their benefit. In the past, government taxed according to ability to pay. While most of the country works hard to earn $100 to $400 a day, many people make $100,00 to millions a day. By changing the income tax brackets to 12 brackets and to $12 million, we will be less dependent on China, help offset the bonus policies of many corporations, create more jobs, lower the crime rate, help the economy, and get back some of the American pride. I recommend 12 brackets to $12 million.
APRIL 18, 2012
Maybe next tax day
I'm still convinced that the major change that we all need to push for is a change in the federal tax code. We need more brackets to reach all classes of people.
We need a much higher bracket that actually reaches into the rich and super-rich incomes. I wish everyone would check out taxfoundation.org, so they could see for themselves and not just believe me as to how the leaders of the past reached all classes of income. They would like you to think that there is a lower class, middle class, and upper class. This is just not so.
In 1938 we had 33 tax brackets to reach all classes of income. These brackets ranged from 4 percent for income up to $64,000 (adjusted for inflation), all the way up to 79 percent for income over $79 million.
If we had anything close to the way our great leaders of the past set up the tax code, we could eliminate 90 percent of the country's problems, pay down the debt and get the country back in the black in no time.
The income inequality of the 1920s was a major contributor of the Great Depression, and if we don't raise the tax brackets to reach the rich we will never get out of this Great Recession.
I would wish all people under an annual income of $1 million to get behind the 99 percent, and back the push for tax reform. My motto is: "Tax em like 1938."
God bless the 99 percent.
JAN. 24, 2012
I believe to stimulate the economy, it is time to legalize or at least decriminalize marijuana use.
Also to fund the government deficit I hope the Obama administration raises the income tax rate for the rich to 70 percent or more. If a person has an annual income of more than $10 million, he should be proud to be an American and proud to live in a country that would allow this kind of income, and proud to pay his fair share of taxes.