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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Jim O'Donnell
People of the 27th District, your representative just voted to cut Medicare for seniors, food assistance for children and low wage workers, and grants for your children's schools. Chris Collins also recommended that we cut Social Security and voted to keep Obamacare in place, but just take away the parts that actually helped millions of people. He made all these cuts while keeping, and in some cases expanding, tax cuts for him and his friends.

As I've gone around the district I've learned that Congressmen, such as Collins, have done an excellent job of keeping the truth from the people. One of these truths they have hid from the people through piles and piles of tax code is the truth about their salary and how much they pay in taxes. Collins makes a good living as a Congressman, $174,000 a year. Of that $174,000 only 65 percent of it is taxed for Medicare and Social Security. He is also allowed to make an unlimited amount of money from all the businesses he owns. The extra money that he makes, on top of the $174,000 from Congress, is completely exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes and is taxed at a rate of between 15-20 percent.

If you are like the majority of working Americans that have 100 percent of your income taxed for Social Security and Medicare and pay a normal tax rate of at least 25 percent you are probably wondering why is our representative's extra income exempt from Social Security taxes and the normal income tax? The answer is because of votes like the one he made last Thursday. There is nothing wrong with being a millionaire, but less than 1 percent of our country can call themselves one. Despite our country having so few millionaires, more than half of our Congress is made up of millionaires. This becomes extremely problematic when they begin to vote for laws that favor the 1 percent they belong to at the expense of the other 99 percent of Americans.

We need to be focusing on forming policy and tax law that grows our middle class and offers opportunity for the poor to make their way up to the middle class. Instead of taking away programs that help with the ridiculously high rates of tuition in our country we need to find ways to make them more affordable so we have an educated workforce that isn't stuck in the stranglehold of massive student debt. Instead of cutting food assistance to low wage workers we need to force companies to pay those workers a decent wage so they don't need food assistance at all. And instead of even thinking about cutting Medicare and Social Security, the only real programs we have for helping seniors keep the life they worked for, we need to make sure the one percent that runs our country is paying at least the same rate as the the rest of us. What we need to do is start electing representatives that represent the people, not just themselves.

Jim O'Donnell is an Orchard Park Resident and Buffalo police officer. He is running for the 27th Congressional District on the Democratic Party line. 

East Niagara Post will publish letters to the editor on topics of concern to our readers. If you have an opinion on a matter, email it to Please include your full name, town of residence and a phone number for confirmation. 


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