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Last week we received an envelope from the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service.

Expecting that something from the IRS was important, we opened it to find a letter with The White House heading signed by President Donald J. Trump informing us that we were receiving a payment as part of the CARES Act for the economic effects of COVID-19. Much of the letter boasts of Trump's role in protecting the country and looking out for the public's health and the economy.

As I read to the bottom of the letter, I realized that this was a campaign letter to boost Trump's image. It didn't match the reports in the news of his behaviors during the pandemic.

The envelope indicated that the mailing was for "Official Business" with a "Penalty for Private Use of $300." If 140 million Americans have already received funds and assuming that letters were grouped to recipient families at 2.5 persons per envelope, then I calculate that Trump's Penalty for Private Use is almost $17 billion.

Since Trump has fired most Inspectors General, will Congress demand that he pay for his abuse of the mailing or even tell him to stop? Trump has no shame.

Jim Webster, Signal Mountain

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If college athletes paid, are they pros?

The NCAA is considering allowing student athletes to accept payments from third-party entities for endorsements, personal appearances, etc. They say it is unfair for them not to profit from their hard work. The argument is universities and the media are making millions off showcasing them, so why shouldn't they cash in.

But these athletes are already being paid through college scholarships offering tuition, room and board, professional training, etc. Plus, free media publicity for their achievements. For four- and five-year college careers, this could mean a million dollars, depending on the university.

If the athlete is allowed to be paid by these companies, advertisers and media, what they receive for free should be nixed. No one getting a million dollars a year to be a Nike spokesperson should be getting a full scholarship to any university. This would come at the expense of students denied educational scholarships because of the lack of university funds.

And many of these student athletes cashing in on this money will go on to professional careers where they will be paid exorbitantly. If the NCAA allows this, there will no longer be a difference between a professional athlete and a student athlete.

David Hope, Hixson

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Capitalism more damaging to USA

Let's be clear: Socialism is not demonic and capitalism is not godly. Both are economic systems. All industrialized nations have some elements in their economies. Examples: Israel and Russia; one democratic and one dictatorial. A recent letter writer was right: Capitalism has caused a great deal more human suffering than socialism in the United States.

Talk about "look at history." Read "The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire" and "The Scofield Mind Disaster." Read Upton Sinclair's book, "The Jungle." It exposes working conditions in the meat industry. Other readings: "Making Steel and Killing Men," by William Hard; "The Hoe Man in the Making," by Edwin Markham, which pictures child exploitation in Southern cotton mills.

This literature reveals unfettered American capitalism. American socialism is not "taking from hard working people." Quite the opposite. Social Security is socialistic as is Medicare. Our EPB is socialistic because it's owned by Chattanooga. The local water company was for years owned by Germany. That's capitalism.

Mayor Jon Kinsey wanted Chattanooga to own its water, but this great idea was defeated as socialism. Republicans need to be educated. Socialism is simply the government controlling services, like the public schools.

Wilbourne C. Markham Sr., Signal Mountain

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