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Newsday letters to the editor for Friday, Dec. 8, 2017

Newsday readers respond to topics covered.

AP biology textbooks in a classroom.

AP biology textbooks in a classroom. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

Alternate ways to spend defense funds

Rep. Thomas Suozzi spoke at a conference of aerospace and defense industry suppliers [“Boosting aerospace profile,” Business, Dec. 6].

Since World War II, U.S. spending on the defense industry has increased steadily to an obscene $600 billion annually, which is more than a third of all such spending worldwide! We are squandering money we do not have, a move that will inevitably cause huge problems.

Worse, our undeclared wars since WWII, including wars of regime change, have killed millions of people, including innocent civilians. And we sell some of our weapons to countries notorious for human rights abuses, such as Saudi Arabia.

I suggest to Suozzi that there are better ways to do right by his constituents than supporting merchants of war. Here are a few industries generating truly good jobs: offshore wind, solar power, geothermal heating, electric-vehicle charging, high-speed rail, bridge and other infrastructure repair.

These industries would be wiser investments, morally and financially. It’s time to think outside the defense industry box.

Gail Payne, Centerport

Federal taxes up? Levy a new state tax

New York State must take action to return to its residents the added money that the tax legislation that President Donald Trump is pursuing would take from them [“Tax deduction idea gains traction,” News, Dec. 6].

This would be easy to do. State and city personal income taxes must be reduced by one-third to compensate for the loss of deductibility on federal tax returns. This lost revenue could be made up by a new tax on the portion of the total net income of corporations attributable to business done in New York, however defined, at whatever percentage rate is needed to produce the necessary revenue.

Under U.S. Supreme Court precedent, such a tax would be lawful. I’m thinking of cases that let a state take jurisdiction over and regulate out-of-state people and entities that do business in the state.

William E. Nelson, Woodmere

Editor’s note: The writer is a professor of law at New York University.

The potentially severe damage that the Senate’s recently approved tax bill would do to New York residents, including myself, has been well documented in Newsday and other publications.

President Donald Trump is a lifelong New York resident who, on paper, is just as vulnerable as any other New Yorker.

It’s more than shocking that Trump has chosen to turn his back on his fellow New Yorkers. His own fortune is based in part on New York City real estate, bankrolled by commercial and residential tenants who will suffer. His secret income tax returns might reveal the real reasons for Trump’s hostility to his native state.

It’s unprecedented that a sitting president would deliberately harm his roots. This president defies logical behavior.

Andrew J. Sparberg, Oceanside

Use the UN to defuse U.S.-N. Korea tensions

The intensifying North Korean conflict, punctuated by Kim Jong Un’s unbridled bravado, and coupled with President Donald Trump’s war obsession, has created a media frenzy producing fear [“A way out of North Korea dilemma?,” Opinion, Dec. 5].

In my opinion, America must consider an alternate mindset. Until all the world’s countries destroy all of their nuclear weapons and accept full inspection, we should accept the reality that North Korea, as does any other country, has the right to test and develop as many weapons as it likes.

Despite the media’s fascination regarding nuclear missiles reaching America, an alternate action would be to say nothing and encourage the United Nations, including North Korea, to participate in nonhysterical diplomacy. This process should include castigation of Trump’s destructive rhetoric like “little rocket man.”

John Segovia, Sayville

Ease the workloads of our young students

I applaud the school principal who wrote “Teen students push themselves too hard” [Just Sayin’, Dec. 2]. It was courageous of her to offer an opinion that is likely not popular in the academic community and with many parents.

As a psychotherapist and former director of outpatient programs for a large children’s psychiatric center, I’ve witnessed the effects of the increased stress on students. Parents often wonder why their children are so anxious and ill-equipped to cope. The quest for early completion of college courses and earlier graduation is at odds with the most recent research on brain development, that is, that full development is not reached until the mid-20s.

The much-needed paradigm shift suggested by the writer should include fundamental change much earlier. I worked with a child psychiatrist, and we frequently discussed her concern over the increased academic pressure versus social and recreational time, starting in kindergarten.

This gets worse in elementary years, with the marked decrease in lunch and recess time. I often work with children who are deficient in their ability to socialize and form friendships, which is related, at least in part, to these decreased opportunities.

John Callahan, Smithtown