Shooter’s letters to Belleville, Ill., newspaper focused on taxes – STLtoday.com


James Hodgkinson, the Belleville-area man accused of opening fire on congressmen Wednesday at a baseball practice in Virginia, was a prolific letter-writer to his hometown newspaper, The Belleville News-Democrat.

As in some of his recent social media posts, Hodgkinson’s letters berate Republicans while asking for a fairer tax code. At one point, he writes: “I have never said ‘life sucks,’ only the policies of the Republicans.”

The Belleville paper published at least eight letters over a nine-month period in 2012. Here are summaries and excerpts from those letters, according to the newspaper.

On Jan. 24, 2012, he wrote: “I believe to stimulate the economy, it is time to legalize or at least decriminalize marijuana use.” He said he hopes the Obama administration can raise the income tax rate for the rich to 70 percent or more. “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,” Hodgkinson wrote.

On April 18, 2012, he said the country needs to change the federal tax code. “We need more brackets to reach all classes of people.” He said, “If we had anything close to the way our great leaders of the past set up the tax code, we could eliminate 90 percent of the country’s problems, pay down the debt and get the country back in the black in no time … My motto is: ‘Tax em like 1938.’” He ended is letter with this: “God bless the 99 percent.”

On May 4, 2012, “I don’t envy the rich; I despise the way they have bought our politicians and twisted our laws to their benefit.”

On May 25, 2012, he said, “It is a shame that Democrats won’t attack the Republicans over the minuscule and lopsided tax system with only six brackets, ranging from 10 percent to 35 percent. It looks like the super rich have bought their vote as well.” He concluded his letter this way: “These guys are cheating everyone in this country while telling us all the time that they are broke when it is the super rich with all the money.”

On July 8, 2012, he wrote in part: “I can’t believe how many people are upset with our president. You’d think that the world was full of rich millionaires. Why else would these people talk badly about a guy who has their best interest at heart?”

On July 29, 2012, he said “The Rachel Maddow Show” was his favorite show and cited a report that “17 very rich men are supplying the Republican Party with more than 60 percent of their campaign contributions.” “These men are trying to buy our country,” he wrote. “You know they expect something for all this money. That something is that Mitt Romney and a Republican Congress won’t raise their taxes. We all know that the rich don’t pay enough taxes.”

On Aug. 17, 2012, he defended his support for President Obama. He said 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.”

On Aug. 28, 2012, he said he wants everyone to know that income inequality was a factor in the causes of the Great Depression “as well as the greed of Secretary of Treasury Andrew Mellon under the Republican Presidents Harding, Coolidge and Hoover.”

On Sept. 12, 2012, Hodgkinson mentioned a book by Robert B. Reich, “Aftershock,” that explains how the lowering of taxes on the richest American was a major cause of the Great Depression.


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