How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

Mission Possible: How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

Thoughts on Trump, Christie, & Thompson

First, the remote possibility of Donald Trump becoming president is making me very anxious. While it appears that the bookies are only giving him a 20 percent chance of winning, those odds are still far too high to abate the "fears I'm feelin' today" (to quote from Barry McGuire's iconic 70s song "Eve of Destruction").

I am fearful because I know from history that when people feel abandoned and anxious, on occasion, they have turned to fierce authoritarian figures in spite of acknowledging their many faults. While many of Trump's supporters recognize that he is intemperate, profane, bigoted, narcissistic and narrow-minded – they feel in their gut that America is under siege and we need a strongman to protect us from those who want to hurt us.

In the first presidential debate, Hillary went after Trump for not releasing his tax returns. She presented a series of potential reasons he was reluctant to release. She concluded that "maybe he doesn't want the American people, all of your watching tonight, to know he's paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only year that anybody's ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and the showed that he didn't pay any federal income tax." Trumps retorted as "That makes me smart."

If every rich person acted like the Donald, and took advantage of every loophole in the tax code, employed bankruptcy repeatedly as a business tactic and used his charitable foundation as a tax dodge by engaging in "self-dealing," more and more of the burden for funding the government would fall on those with little ability to shoulder it.

Trump was correct when he indicated that America's infrastructure is falling apart. If every rich person were to game the system in the manner he does there would be no funds available for our government to function – no funds for the military; for veterans, for roads and bridges; for social, human and health care services.

Warren Buffett has pointed out that he pays federal taxes on only 19% of his income because the bulk of it comes from unearned income on dividends and capital gains. While his employees at Berkshire Hathaway pay around 33% federal taxes on their income. "How is this fair?" Buffet asked, "Regarding how little he pays in taxes compared to his employees. "How can this be right?" He added" "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

Trump is able to get away with paying zero federal taxes because of loses from his business failures, and a loophole in the tax code, that allows, rich real estate developers to use an unlimited amount of the depreciation from their building to offset their income.

The state of New Jersey politics is also throwing me for a loop. Listening to David Wildstein testimony at the Bridgegate makes me sick. The notion of punishing the citizens of town because their mayor will not endorse your boss is anathema to me. Whether or not the Governor authorized the action, he created the culture and recruited the culprits, and should be held culpable.

We have big problems in NJ. We need desperately need a Governor with the courage to speak truth on the state's pension crisis and our educational disparity. The truncated, money-driven, behind closed-doors process that appears to have selected Phil Murphy as our next Governor is very troubling.

I'm blown away by a third issue. Why would anyone in our state, given our financial problems, propose giving Olympians a break on their taxes for winning a medal? First of all, who knew they got money for winning ($25,000 for gold $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze)?

Apparently Sen. Samuel Thompson will introduce a bill to allow NJ residents who wins an Olympic medal to avoid paying state income taxes on their winning. Why? Because according to Sen. Thompson "These athletes have spent immense amounts of time and money to train with hopes of representing our country at an Olympic level. Let's make sure their Olympic dreams aren't turned into a monetary nightmare." Further he wants to make it retroactive for those who won medals in 2013 Summer Olympics and 2014 Winter Olympics. Why not forever?

Where are Sen. Thompson's priorities? Unless we do something our about pension crisis, tens of thousands of New Jersey residents will not be receiving the pension they were promised and if our Governor has his way hundreds of thousands of children in our cities will face draconian education cuts.

Fourth, the more I learn about the sordid dirty politics of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey through the Bridgegate trial, the more upset I get. The Daily Beast reported that Port Authority "has a reputation as a patronage clubhouse and an ATM for unaccountable spending." Jim Epstein wrote that it is a "patronage mill forced to absorb dozens of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's cronies - "they came in like cockroaches,'' quipped one Port Authority staffer." The Port Authority is a political cesspool that needs to be broken-up.