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Will we learn, or be conned on tax reform?

From the Newman-Redford classic "The Sting," we learned that the best con was the one where the mark didn't even realize he had been conned.

We've spent a year watching Congress try to con the middle class into accepting a tax-cut-for-the-rich disguised as "health care reform" and then another tax-cut-for-the-rich disguised as "tax reform ["Winners and losers under the Senate tax overhaul proposal" - Nov 18].

Paul Newman's Henry Gondorff would have been proud to see the scam embedded in this tax bill that has been sold as a "middle class tax cut."

The middle class gets some tax credits the first year that give the “feeling” of a tax cut, even while valuable deductions have been eliminated like the ones for state and local taxes and education loans.

But the law then proceeds to phase out the middle class credits over the next decade while permanent cuts for the top 1 percent are phased in. And we're talking about big cuts that look custom-designed to benefit Trump and family: elimination of the inheritance tax and alternative minimum tax, business rate cut from 35 percent to 20 percent, pass-through income taxed at the new lower business rate, and so on.

The strategy for putting this plutocrat’s dream bill over on us is the same as before: Congressional leaders rush the bill through without debate, lying about what's in it, while the Trump Twitter machine keeps the media distracted with culture war issues.

Will we fall for this and wake up 10 years from now realizing we have been conned? Or did we learn something from the repeal-and-replace debacle?

Michael Segor

San Luis Obispo

People with low self-esteem should shun social media

It is very common to use social media for communicating with others and to find information about anything people need to know. For people whose self-esteem is low, social media can become harmful and damage their social life; therefore, people are recommended to change their social media habits.

First, for individuals with low self-esteem, social media use can lead to depression. For example, when a person posts about a party they had on Facebook, individuals with low self-esteem read the post and can get depressed because they were not invited to the party.

Second, social media effects people’s social life, especially if they have low self-esteem. When people feel that they are not accepted, they try to find friends on social media to feel accepted. However, a person with low self-esteem can easily become a victim while accepting new people in their social media life.

According to Peggy J. Parks, a scientist and author of Current Issues: Online Social Networking, social media is dangerous.

“Cybercriminals often assume false identities to lure unsuspecting victims into 'friending' them -- and unfortunately, many users, especially teenagers, do so without hesitation...” Sadly, many people have been victim of untrue profiles," she writes.

Even though social media is a useful resource to find information and keep closer with family and friends, for low self-esteem individuals, it can be dangerous because they are not prepared for certain information that social media offers. They can get depressed for not being close to people, not being accepted, and not finding loyal friends. Instead of spending a lot of time on social media people with low self-esteem are recommended to do more outdoor activities and interact with others or other activities that fill their time. By being more active and using social media less, people with low self-esteem will have more fulfilling lives.

Monica Torres

Santa Maria