Letters to the Editor


All letters were written by Rick Elia of New Castle, PA


Unless otherwise noted they appeared in the New Castle News


Some facts congressman doesn’t want you to know


July 29, 2020


     When Donald Trump was running for president, he said he could save Medicare billions of dollars by getting it to negotiate prices with major pharmaceutical companies.


     That’s a bald-faced lie. Trump has done nothing to establish negotiations with the drug companies, and our Congressman Mike Kelly has played right along with the sham by voting against that happening.


     Last year, Kelly voted against a bill that called for the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on many commonly used drugs, including insulin. Kelly called it a “price-fixing scheme” that would lead to fewer new drugs being developed.


     Some facts Kelly doesn’t want you to know:


     *In 2018, after the GOP’s big corporate tax cut, the 12 largest American pharmaceutical companies spent more money buying back their stock than on research and development.


     *Despite the tax windfall, prices went up on 4,311 prescription drugs in 2019, and 2,519 in 2020.


     *The bill allocates more than $10 billion for biomedical research, with the goal of advancing breakthrough cures.


     *The negotiated price can’t be more than 1.2 times the average in six other developed countries, so drug companies can still charge Medicare at least their average price, but they won’t be able to gouge American consumers.


     Kelly cried socialism. What does he call government assurance that drug companies won’t be subject to negotiations common in the free market?


     Maybe he calls it a good deal for his donors.


     He has received $249,000 in campaign contributions from drug companies during his political career.


Eliminating ACA means good business for Kelly


June 3, 2020


     Many Americans have benefited from protections for those with pre-existing conditions provided by the Affordable Care Act. Congressman Mike Kelly has voted at least eight times to endanger or eliminate these protections.


     The latest was May 4, 2017, when he backed the American Health Care Act, which would have allowed states to seek federal waivers to permit insurance companies to charge people more because of pre-existing conditions if they don’t maintain continuous health coverage.


     That bill also would have caused 23 million more people to be without insurance, cut Medicaid spending by about $700 billion, and provide $800 billion in tax cuts, the majority of which would benefit the wealthy.


     Seven other times Kelly voted for proposed legislation that would have eliminated the pre-existing conditions protections by repealing and/or defunding the ACA. These occurred on the following dates:


     *Jan, 19, 2011.


     *April 15, 2011.


     *March 29, 2012.


     *July 11, 2012.


     *March 21, 2013.


     *May 16, 2013.


     *Feb 3, 2015.


     Kelly and the Republicans might still get their death wish for some Americans. A pending lawsuit, backed by the Trump administration, calls for declaring the ACA unconstitutional.


     In his career Kelly has received about $1.4 million in donations from the insurance industry ($650,000), health professionals ($390,000) and the pharmaceutical/health products industry ($350,000), according to the Center for Responsive Politics.


     Maybe that’s why Kelly defended higher premiums for pre-existing conditions during a 2017 CNN interview, saying, “It’s a business proposition.”


     Looks like business has been good for Kelly.

Kelly offers no explanation, defense


December 19, 2019


     Congressman Mike Kelly posted a statement about the impeachment inquiry recently, saying in part, it “isn’t about protecting the Constitution or upholding their (Democrats) oath of office. This is about political vengeance and damaging the president ahead of the 2020 election.”


     Not surprisingly, he offered not a shred of evidence or a whit of explanation to support his baseless attack and said he’ll vote against impeachment. Also not surprisingly, he’s lying to us and assuming we’re too stupid to see that he’s either incapable or unwilling to offer honest reasoned analysis based on the facts as opposed to partisan hyperbole, clichés and talking points.


     Kelly offers no defense against the virtually unrefuted testimony showing the president committed an impeachable abuse of power and then blatantly tried to thwart Congress’ constitutionally based oversight over the executive branch. That’s because there is none.


     Kelly wraps himself in the Constitution when he talks about the Second Amendment, but that document becomes an inconvenience when it comes to the separation of powers that enables Congress to check a corrupt president. He’s mastered the Republicans’ go-to move of playing the victim card. It must clear his conscience when he willingly ignores the threat to our national security and rule of law.


     If Kelly needs a role model for how a congressman should act, he has one in Democrat Adam Schiff. In the glaring spotlight of history, Schiff has shown us how to be a man of character and integrity, while Kelly has embarrassed us again.


Tax cuts are working well – for the rich


May 6, 2019


     The rich get richer.


     “Corporate Tax Avoidance Remains Rampant Under New Tax Law.” That’s a headline of a report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy on the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s effect on how much big companies pay in taxes.


     It said:


     *60 profitable Fortune 500 companies avoided all federal income taxes in 2018.


     *That’s zero taxes on a total of $79 billion in pre-tax income, not the $16.4 billion the current tax rate would have them pay.


     *They actually got a net corporate tax rebate of $4.3 billion.


     Some examples:


     *Amazon --$11 billion in U.S. income; federal income tax rebate of $129 million.


     *Netflix -- $856 million in income; no federal tax paid.


     *Molson Coors -- $1.3 billion in income; federal income tax rebate of $22.9 million.


     This stems from a variety of legal tax breaks available to businesses. The GOP cut the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent but didn’t address the loopholes that allowed some companies to pay less than the designated rate.


     From ProPublica: The top 0.5 percent in personal income account for 20 percent of all underreported income (based on a 2010 study). Adjusted for inflation, that’s more than $50 billion each year in unpaid taxes.


     When Congressman Mike Kelly, Senator Pat Toomey and the GOP say the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is great they’re right – as long as you’re rich.


     It sure looks like a con job for the rest of us.

Our congressman is part of the problem


Our congressman is part of the problem

October 25 2018


     Election to public office, and its inherent opportunity to become part of something bigger than oneself and serve the greater good, is a gift few people receive and even fewer measure up to.


     Our congressman, Mike Kelly, has squandered this gift, if for no other reason than his failure to fulfill his constitutionally mandated checks-and-balances role as a member of one of our three branches of government.


     We gave him the rare privilege to stand on the shoulders of giants, represent us and our values, lead with political and moral courage, and speak truth to power. Instead he abdicated this responsibility, becoming a babbling cliché-and-talking-points-spewing yes man for a corrupt, racist, misogynist president and Republican Party.


     Then there’re his potentially life altering/destroying votes to strip food stamps from more than 3 million low-income Americans; cause 23 million people to be without insurance; cut $700 billion from Medicaid; and add $1.5 trillion to our deficit to fund tax cuts that mostly benefit the rich and corporations.


     And he’s backed the GOP’s treasonous effort to undermine the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, thus protecting Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin and leaving us more vulnerable to future attacks.


     This isn’t just about Kelly. It’s about us, our standards and our responsibility to hold our elected officials accountable for not meeting them.


     Absolutely nothing changes in Washington until we demand better. That starts with not re-electing Mike Kelly.


     Kelly is part of the problem. He’ll never be part of the solution.


Kelly misdirects attention to Pelosi instead of his record


Aug. 14, 2018


     We knew it was coming.


     Our U.S. Congressman Mike Kelly, seeking re-election against Democrat Ron DiNicola, has pulled out the P word. That’s P as in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.


     In an article on the Politics PA Web site, a Kelly spokesman said DiNicola “will vote to make Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House.”


     This despite the fact DiNicola’s campaign has stated otherwise. Never let the facts get in the way of a good attack line.


     This isn’t an original strategy on the part of Kelly. Rolling Stone reported that Pelosi has been the target in more than 16,000 attack ads airing through May.


     Last I heard Pelosi lived in California, not our 16th District. So what’s with Kelly’s infatuation with her?


     It’s a shell game. Kelly wants you look at Pelosi, not his own record.


     Can you blame him? Unlike Kelly and the GOP, a majority of Americans want health care available to everyone, strong entitlement and social safety net programs, and common sense gun laws.


     They don’t want tax plans rigged to favor rich men like Kelly, traumatizing immigrant children by taking them from their parents, a ballooning national debt, the destruction of our planet, and a president and Republican Party who are treasonous puppets of Vladimir Putin.


     Does Kelly think the voters of the 16th District are too dumb to see through his smoke screen?


     My advice to Kelly is simple: Come out from hiding behind Nancy Pelosi’s skirt, and bring your record with you.


Kelly’s Trump support disqualifies him to represent us


July 23, 2018


     We’ve got a big question to answer at the polls in November:


     Do we accept hate as a defining characteristic of our country?


     And our U.S. Congressman Mike Kelly is part of the equation.

     President Donald Trump ran a campaign of racism, hatred, fear and division and has brought those traits to the White House. Nothing has exemplified that more than his policy that led to more than 2,000 immigrant children – some of them just babies and toddlers – being separated from their parents at our southern border.


     This action is reprehensible. The images of crying toddlers and children kept in cages and audio recordings of children crying for their parents are heart-wrenching.


     Kelly’s response on his Web site is a worthless mealy-mouthed compilation of political clichés. Kelly is one of Trump’s biggest cheerleaders. The president’s racism, hatred, cruelty, vulgarity, dishonesty and immorality apparently all sit well with him.


     Kelly must think it’s OK with his constituents, too, since he’s in Washington to represent us.


     Hey 16th District, is that who we are?


     Complicit fawning legislators like Kelly have helped Trump take our country down a road to a dark place.  Our votes will tell ourselves and the world if we want to go along on that ride.


     The Constitution calls for Congress to serve as a check to protect us from a president’s worst impulses. We won’t get that from a Trump puppet/enabler like Kelly.


     For that alone he’s forfeited his chance to be our congressman.



Ousting of Kelly may be a matter of life and death


June 22, 2018


     Question: What do you call someone who acts like he doesn’t care if you live or die?


     Answer: U.S. Congressman Mike Kelly.




     Kelly voted for the failed American Health Care Act, which would have caused 23 million more people to be without insurance by 2026, cut Medicaid spending by about $800 billion during that period, and provided tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefited the highest-income Americans.


     Kelly voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that’s heavily skewed to favor corporations and the rich, will add an estimated $1.5 trillion to our deficit, and eliminates the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which the Congressional Budget Office projects will lead to 13 million more uninsured people and will increase premiums by 10 percent in most years over the next decade.


     Kelly offers no pushback to President Donald Trump’s campaign to destroy the ACA, most recently when the Justice Department asked the court to eliminate its protections for people with preexisting conditions.


     When people lose health care they suffer and some die. It’s doubtful a rich man like Kelly, his friends and family, and his party’s key donors will ever have to worry about not having insurance. He obviously isn’t worried about any of us not having it.


     In the richest nation in the world, no one should suffer, die or go bankrupt because they can’t afford health care.


     If you believe that, then you can’t vote for Kelly in November.


     For some, it’s going to be a matter of life and death.


Kelly tax cut doesn’t benefit the average voter


May 24, 2018


     Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said this about the GOP tax bill so enthusiastically supported by our U.S. Congressman Mike Kelly:


     “There is still a lot of thinking on the right that if big corporations are happy, they’re going to take the money they’re saving and reinvest it in American workers. In fact they bought back shares, a few gave out bonuses; there’s no evidence whatsoever that the money’s been massively poured back into the American worker.”


     From other news sources:


     *CNBC reported money from the corporate tax cuts have gone to executives and investors over workers by a nearly 3-to-1 margin. Companies dedicated $305 billion to share buybacks and cash takeovers compared with $131 billion in wage growth in the first quarter.


     *Newsweek reported that an analysis of all Fortune 500 companies found only 4.3 percent of their workers will receive a one-time bonus or wage increase tied to the business tax cuts, while businesses received nine times more in cuts than what they passed on to their workers.


     *The Washington Post reported that independent analysts say the tax bill hasn’t yet had a measurable effect on the average American.


     Give Rubio credit, he’s telling the truth.


     Kelly’s a wealthy man. He, his friends and his party’s rich donors are all taken care of under this plan. Is there any reason to think he cares about the rest of us?


     Please vote accordingly in November.


Kelly’s concern for the poor just a ruse


April 25, 2018


     This is what hypocrisy looks like.


     Last month, U.S. Congressman Mike Kelly visited New Castle, where he donned an apron and appeared in a front-page photo in The News helping to serve lunch at the City Rescue Mission.


     Kelly was no doubt looking for a photo-op to show his concern for the poor and disadvantaged. Well, a photo may be worth 1,000 words, but it doesn’t take that many to tell the truth.


     Kelly is a fraud.


     Our congressman certainly didn’t show much concern for the poor with his vote for the American Health Care Act, which if it had passed the Senate would have caused 23 million more people to be without insurance by 2026, cut Medicaid spending by about $800 billion during that period, and provided tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefited the highest-income Americans.


     Nor did he look like a friend of the poor and middle class when he gleefully voted for The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that’s heavily skewed to favor corporations and the rich, will add an estimated

$1.5 trillion to our deficit, and eliminates the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which the Congressional Budget Office projects will lead to 13 million more uninsured people in a decade.


     Expect Kelly to be popping up all over the district in the coming months as he seeks reelection. Also expect him to continue his concern-for-the-common-man act while he pushes the GOP’s pro-rich, anti-poor-and-middle class agenda.


     A picture doesn’t lie? This time it did.


     Please vote accordingly.


GOP’s Tax bill is not in our best interests


Meadville Tribune, April 7, 2018


     Congressman Mike Kelly has sung the praises of the GOP’s tax bill. Let’s look at it.


     From The New York Times:


      “Workers (in the Dayton, Ohio, area) described their increase as enough for a week’s worth of gas or a couple of gallons of milk, with an additional $40 in a paycheck every two weeks on the high side to $2 a week on the low. Few are complaining, but the working class here is not feeling flush with newfound wealth.”


     The Hill reported that a survey of working adults showed 52 percent haven’t seen a change in their take-home pay and 32 percent reported an increase.


     Of those reporting an increase 38 percent said it helps them “a great deal” or a “fair amount,” 40 percent say it helps “some” or “just a little,” and 22 percent say it “does not help much at all.”


     Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote that “most of the tax cut actually consisted of huge tax breaks for corporations, which is in effect a big tax cut for stockholders. … So on the face of it, the wealthy are giving themselves a big gift, and sending the bill to the middle class.”


     Washington Post columnist Paul Waldman said that while the Republicans talked of a “trickle-down” effect where companies would use the money to create new jobs and raise wages, the Democrats correctly predicted workers would see only a fraction of the benefits as most of the money would go to stock buyouts that benefit the wealthy people who own the vast majority of stocks.


     “(Democrats) applied logic, looked at data and understood history. Republicans, on the other hand, were spinning out a ludicrous fantasy with no basis whatsoever,” Waldman wrote.


     The Times reported that American companies have announced more than $178 billion in planned stock buybacks — the largest amount unveiled in a single quarter, according to Birinyi Associates, a market research firm.


     Kelly needs to go after this scam on the poor and middle class.


     It’s time we started voting in our best interests and not that of the wealthiest Americans.


We don’t need Mike Kelly as our congressman


March 28, 2018


     Congressman Mike Kelly played his greatest hits at this year’s Lincoln Day Breakfast in New Castle.


     Kelly blamed the legal case involving the state’s congressional map on the actions of former President Barack Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder.


     “They didn’t leave Washington because they had more to do.” Kelly contended. “Eight years wasn’t enough of bringing the country to its knees.”


     At a Lincoln Day event last year, Kelly accused Obama of staying in Washington to run a “shadow government” to undermine the GOP agenda.


     Kelly must see scary men around every corner. In the midst of his hysteria he apparently doesn’t see the White House dumpster fire and the president’s disgraceful inaction to Russian meddling in our election.


     When you’re part of a dysfunctional federal government and complaining about a man who hasn’t been president for over a year and a former attorney general who last served almost three years ago perhaps you’re part of the problem and not part of the solution.


     The only one on his knees appears to be Kelly as he shamelessly worships President Trump while abdicating his constitutionally delegated role as a check and balance to the president.


     If Trump says “jump,” Kelly asks “how high?”


     With the diminishing of our political norms and standing in the world and Trump’s corrupt and incompetent administration and awful policies we don’t need a yes man in Congress. We need political courage, vision and leadership.


     In other words, we don’t need Mike Kelly.


Kelly, GOP make false claim of fiscal responsibility


February 28, 2018


     Congressman Mike Kelly has a deficit clock on his web page purporting to show our nation’s growing debt.


     Why does he bother?


     Kelly and many of his GOP brethren are fake fiscal conservatives. In fact, they’ve given up any pretense of caring about budget deficits with their latest tax and budget bills.


     Back in June, before both pieces of legislation, the Congressional Budget Office projected the deficit would total $689 billion next year. Now it’s up to $1.15 trillion.


     It gets worse. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget projects the annual deficit will be $2.1 trillion by 2017, assuming extension of the approved tax cuts and spending increases. This will increase the nation’s total debt from its current $20 trillion to as much as $35 trillion.


     Of course, Republicans hope to use the growing deficit as cover to cut social safety net programs for the poor, which is a cornerstone of their pro-rich, anti-poor-and-middle-class agenda.


     As he seeks reelection in November, Kelly will probably claim to be a fiscal conservative watching out for the taxpayers’ money. The facts show this isn’t true and that he’s fine with burdening future generations with crippling debt.


     Kelly and the GOP are on the wrong side of multiple issues. Their false claim of fiscal responsibility is a smokescreen to distract from that fact. They’re hoping we fall for the con job.


     Then again, maybe he just wants to see if that deficit clock really works.


Kelly’s shutdown comments are misleading


February 1, 2018


     Let’s look at some items from the prepared statement of U.S. Congressman Mike Kelly concerning the recent government shutdown.


     Kelly: They (Democrats) are literally putting the interest of non-citizens before the needs of American children and troops.”


     Actually, Republicans blocked a Democratic motion to provide salaries and death benefits for the military during the shutdown and had refused to approve long-term funding for the CHIP program since last year.


     Kelly: “By recklessly insisting that a short-term funding bill include a separate measure to give legal status to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, Senate Democrats are showing their true colors as a party on the fringe.”


     In 2016, the Democratic presidential candidate amassed about 3 million more votes than the current president. Does that sound like a party on the fringe?


     More disturbing is Kelly’s calling the Dreamers “illegal immigrants.”


     Their crime? Whenever their parents said to them “Let’s go, we’re moving,” they went along. That’s all they did. A lot of them have become or are on their way to becoming productive citizens. They aren’t criminals.


     Kelly and the GOP need you to see them as a wave of illegal non-white faces ready to come crashing down on us, not a reflection of our heritage as a nation built on the backs of immigrants. Throwing them out would be against everything this country stands for.


     Kelly is entitled to his opinion and vote, but not to mislead his constituents on the facts.


     We deserve better.