These are the most-read letters from last week.
In Illinois, the problem is with taxes, not tariffs
Blaming tariffs for rising consumer costs pales in comparison to rising taxes. Illinois’ income tax has risen 65%, property taxes are the second-highest in the nation, auto registration fees have risen $50, and the state’s gas tax is up by 19 cents per gallon.
The tariffs will eventually be reduced or eliminated, but the taxes will only increase.
Jim Beatty • O’Fallon, Ill.
Mother’s anguished response to son’s death heartbreaking
Regarding “Taken too soon” (Aug. 18): Dawn Usanga’s statement, “In a way I’m kind of happy he died at 7. These streets didn’t have a chance to ruin him,” is the saddest and most profound statement possible in response to this epidemic of tragedies. That the death of a child could bring solace that a future could be even worse leaves me speechless.
My heart goes out to the families, friends and communities of those devastated by these tragedies, and perhaps cries even more for those who remain untouched.
Loren Ludmerer • St Louis
Even non-slave owning descendants benefit from system
Regarding “The legacy of slavery and reparations is complicated” (Sept. 1): Letter writer Ed Etzkorn says that we should not “blame today’s problems on people who died long ago” and instead focus on current policies. What he misses is that even those of us who have no slave owners in our history have benefited from the results of that era. Without “blaming,” we need to understand and own our past and take responsibility to enact policies that right the wrongs that continue to plague a society built from that heritage.
Mary Clemons • Kirkwood
Letter is wrong: South was built on cotton and slaves
Regarding “U.S. would have prospered even without slaves” (Sept. 1): In this age of misinformation, it was particularly disturbing to read Geoff Lambert’s letter asserting, “Agriculture in the South was barely sustainable with slaves and contributed nothing to the advance of the U.S.” This is patently false.
The historical facts regarding the importance of cotton, almost all of which was the product of slave labor, to the U.S. economy through the first half of the 19th century has long been documented. But one rather recent source says it all. Sven Beckert writes in his book, “Empire of Cotton,” that by 1820, “cotton constituted 32 percent of all U.S. exports. … More than half of all American exports between 1815 and 1860 consisted of cotton. … It was on the back of cotton, and thus on the back of black slaves, that the U.S. economy ascended in the world.”
Rick Kordenbrock • Ladue
Influx of money in Missouri elections should be a concern
Regarding “Special election for West County seat in Missouri House drawing money and attention” (Aug. 12): This article on state House District 99 drew my attention. Because the Republican candidate has raised such a small amount of money on her own, she must depend on outsiders to fund her local campaign. Casey Wheat, director of the Missouri House Republican Campaign Committee, said, “We intend to spend whatever it takes to keep it red.” Apparently, who gets to represent residents is determined by money, and lots of it. How depressing.
The article continues: “The Missouri Republican Campaign Committee, and potentially other groups, are expected to make up the difference, and then some.”
What other groups? Will those groups disclose where the money is coming from?
We must all be smart voters. Our representatives should represent our priorities. Whom we send to do that job should not be bought by unknown groups. “Spending whatever it takes” is cynical commentary on voter intelligence. It’s time to prove we’re smarter than that.
Wendy Geckeler • Chesterfield
No thank you to Trump for his voting advice for Jews
President Donald Trump is dictating to American Jews whom to vote for. He said if Jews vote for Democrats, they're being disloyal. I'm laughing my butt off.
Mr. Disloyal to the United States but loyal to North Korea and Russia: Are you talking to your Jewish adviser, Stephen Miller, who wants to deport anyone who is not white?
As far as Trump's comment about being disloyal to Israel goes, I am not a Sabra (look it up if you don't know what it means). I am an American and owe nothing to Israel. Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both built walls and are anti-Muslim.
I am proud to be an American Jew who stands with the squad of congresswomen who are more loyal to this country than you are. Remember, they got elected by their constituents without help from a foreign dictator. Trump needs to be committed to a mental institution.
Helen Casteel • St. Louis County
Allow guns, but limit the types and ammunition capacity
A big question recently is what exactly is an assault weapon. I think a good rationale to use for adequate gun control is to only allow weapons that have a one-bullet capacity. You would have to reload after each firing. This would still be good for hunting and target practice. It would also remain in line with the Second Amendment.
Jerre Baynes • Wildwood
Trump is destined for the trash heap of ideologues
This for history buffs and eternal optimists: Extreme nationalism and bigotry went into hibernation after the repudiation of disgraced Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini more than 70 years ago. Let’s hope, for the sake of basic ethics, moral decency and the endurance of our democracy, that our better angels will write the same history after the next 70 years as a result of President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Boris Johnson being cast into the trash heap of failed ideologues.
Russ Vanderbeek • Ballwin
Many Americans are not qualified to own a gun
We have wrapped ourselves around the flag and the Second Amendment. It is sacrosanct in America. In fact, it’s not just about owning a .38, rifle or shotgun. The owning of a gun has now morphed into I, as an American, have the right to own any type of gun, automatic or assault weapon of my choice. It is my constitutional right as an American according to the NRA.
The U.S. is the most violent country in the world. We kill our fellow Americans at a rate that ISIS could only dream about. Here in St. Louis, we specialize in random shootings that have left over a dozen children dead.
You have a gun, I have a gun, everybody has a gun. How’s that working for America? How is that making us a strong, vibrant country? The dirty little secret is that many of our fellow Americans are too stupid, mentally disturbed or short tempered to own weapons. The solution? There is none. The Second Amendment is intact and will never be amended. We will continue to mourn deaths, decry violence, then get up and go to work the next day. To quote Walt Kelly’s Pogo comic strip,“We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Greg Gibson • Breckenridge Hills
Ferris wheel turns Union Station into cheap carnival
Very bright, flashing, candy-colored lights have now been installed on the Ferris wheel next to Union Station, bestowing the dignity of a traveling carnival on one of the city’s grandest examples of historic architecture. It is a poke in the eye to nearby residents, a daily reminder of shortsighted development schemes to turn downtown into a literal amusement park.
Don Rogerson • St. Louis