The gunman accused of opening fire upon Republican congressmen and their aides left behind a combination manifesto and epitaph — in the form of letters he’d written to the editor of his local Illinois newspaper.
James Hodgkinson died as the result of injuries sustained when his gunfire was returned at a Wednesday morning practice for an upcoming Capitol Hill baseball game, but his thoughts still shout loud and clear in his musings.
The letters were published in 2012 in his hometown paper, the Belleville News-Democrat, and concentrate mainly on income inequality and what’s wrong with our tax system.
He also took his complaints to the street.
Letters to the editor from Belleville congressional shooter https://t.co/lMGvNxgCDa
— Linda K. Morse (@Kate1347) June 14, 2017
The letters began on January 24 with a call to legalize — or at least decriminalize — the possession of marijuana and to bring back the draconian upper-level income tax rates of days gone by.
“Also to fund the government deficit I hope the Obama administration raises the income tax rate for the rich to 70 percent or more,” he wrote. “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.”
Three months later he wrote that America needed the opposite of the simplified tax code Republicans and conservatives have called for, for decades. Instead, he wanted to complicate it further.
“We need more brackets to reach all classes of people,” he wrote on April 18. “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.”
Hodgkinson was a Sen. Bernie Sanders supporter and his writing bear witness to that. Yet, what he and the Vermont Independent both ignore is that the top one percent of America’s earners already account for nearly 50 percent of federal tax revenue.
Two weeks later he reiterated his desire for increasing the number of tax brackets, and then on May 25 he went way over the deep end on this theme and called for 55 individual tax brackets.
— News-Democrat (@bellevillenewsd) June 14, 2017
Hodgkinson championed then-President Obama as being “for U.S. workers” in his following letter, then MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” which he described as one of his “favorite TV shows” in the one after that. He never let go of his continuing theme, however — tax the rich.
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.
As Hodgkinson saw the American labor force reject the liberal policies espoused by Obama and Maddow to stand with President Trump, one can only imagine that something within him went terribly out-of-whack.
“In rebuttal: I have never said ‘life sucks,’ only the policies of the Republicans,” was the way he closed his next-to-the-last letter.
Apparently Republicans sucked for him too — enough to declare open season on them Wednesday.
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