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Letters to the Editor

Cut the fat

August 18, 2010

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To the editor:

I just don’t believe our local leaders are up to date in today’s world.

Every day we are bombarded with facts showing product sales, sales tax revenues, consumer spending and consumer confidence are all down. Businesses are laying off because of slow sales, bankruptcies are up, foreclosures are up — on and on. Do you suppose this is because the consumer has little or no extra money to spend? This is trickle-down at its worst: no spending, no merchandise being sold, workers laid off, now no income, no money to spend. Now there are predictions of a possible double-dip recession. So why tax more money out of consumers’ budgets and see it trickle down farther?

We read about heritage development projects, open space preservation projects ($350,000) additional economic development (another $350,000), football stadiums and now tennis courts (??million). The list is endless. Historically only a small percentage of the community will vote, so having these items on a ballot probably will not give a true indication of how the community feels. Why not create a fundraiser similar to a political rally and see how many people really want these projects enough to donate?

The only way the economy is going to turn around is to increase consumer spending. Increasing taxes is not the answer. I challenge the political leaders in Douglas County to re-evaluate the budgets and this time cut the fat.

E.J. Shockley,

Lawrence

Comments

kansasmutt 4 years, 1 month ago

E J Good idea, but they really dont care about us. They have shown that by jumping in with a proposed 16.9% starting point and only cutting it to 9.9% rate increase. A group of leaders who cares would have kept it even or dropped it to let the people catch a breath to survive this downturn. You hit the nail on the head with your facts. Spending by the people will end this depression, not tax rate hikes and wasteful spending by our county. I offered them up a plan to cut $750.000.00 to $1.5 million right off the top of the spending , but it was not even an option to them. This latest dip that has just started is going to devistate our area with job losses and negative growth unlike anything we have seen thusfar in our lifetimes. It is going to hit those who are wealthy VERY hard and those who are in the $75,000.00 a year bracket , like a baseball bat. I have talked with business owners all around the area and they say the fall is about to hit like a ton of bricks. Car dealers are going to fail ( very soon ) 3 very large empoyers ( largest in the area ) are looking at laying off 20 to 40% of the workforce this next few months. Mom and pop shops and big box stores ( in DG county ) have seen spending dropping 50 to 60% in the last 2 months straight. Counties such as WY and LV have seen spending rise with plans to cut taxes and help businesses with breaks. E J, we are headed for a bad bad time , and this leadership leadeing us is taking us down hard with the plan in place. They dont know what is happening, nor do they care about anything other than making a name for themselves, good or bad, and this budget is for the bad.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

In fairness, some other things happened since the sales tax increase that might better account for the reduced sales. But I agree that higher taxes is not the way to fix the problem.

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Shane Garrett 4 years, 1 month ago

Autie: you sound like the grasshopper among the ants.

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jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

If only a small percentage of the community votes, then they are choosing to not be a part of any decisions made at the ballot box.

The solution would be for voter turnout to significantly improve, so that votes more accurately reflect the community as a whole.

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scott3460 4 years, 1 month ago

Did cutting the taxes of the very wealthy increase consumer spending?

Government spending of tax receipts churns money through the local economy. Allowing it to accumulate in the Wall Street (and global) bank accounts of the very rich only ensures that it will not benefit local citizens.

A better approach would seem to be to cut the taxes of the dwindling middle class in order to give them more money with which to engage in consumer spending - thus lifting the tide. As for the rich? They've reaped great benefit from the societal resources we've made available to them. Let them pay more for the use they've made.

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Jimo 4 years, 1 month ago

You confuse "wealth" with "money" (or "capital" with "capitalist").

Innovation cares not one whit whether it has one wealthy investor or one hundred million non-wealthy investors. In short, excessive concentration of money in the hands of the few is not correlated with economic enterprise (indeed, economists would claim a reverse correlation).

You also laughably have things backwards.

Entrepreneurial firms are not "owned by wealthy people" but rather such firms when wildly successful may generate sufficient money to make their owners wealthy. You also confuse investors with innovators.

It's fairly sick to view the wealthy as god-like Olympians who deign to sprinkle their pennies on the "employees" you so obviously despise. It's some modern day aristocracy wrapped in the mantel of meritocracy. Capitalism may love capital but it doesn't require love of the capitalist themself.

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salad 4 years, 1 month ago

As usual, one insane, black is white, white is black argument from Liberty.....

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Jimo 4 years, 1 month ago

"Government spending of tax receipts churns money through the local economy."

There is no practical way to concentrate money and its economic effects within the confines of a city (even a large one). Heck, even an entire state would have some difficulty making this work (although a large one might have some luck).

"A better approach would seem to be to cut the taxes of the dwindling middle class"

An even better approach is to pursue tax and regulatory policies that avoid the perpetual concentration of money in the hands of the few. The last decade or so has seen a significant departure from historical divisions of income in the U.S. despite a significant increase in the total. The middle class isn't so much dwindling as it is failing to make progress while the nation overall grows wealthier. In short, the game is rigged against them. No surprise that there's so much anger in this country. What is surprising is that this anger is being channeled to reinforcing the rigged system.

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jafs 4 years, 1 month ago

Yes, I've wondered about that channeling of anger at the wrong targets.

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Jimo 4 years, 1 month ago

A summer of family reunions and community bbq's have allowed me to sample some of the thinking behind the TPs. It's important to remember than many of these people are just average Joe's busy with soccer schedules, work around the house, and the personal drama that fills anyone's life, and that they don't have time to educate themselves in detail about tax policy, don't necessarily have any degree in anything on point, or spend too much time filling up on Fox propaganda.

Still, that you can have a group of people formed around a discrete topic like taxation and spending, and yet be virtually clueless about the facts of taxation and spending, or for whom the totality of their understanding doesn't exceed trite truisms such as "government can't do anything right' or 'tax cuts are the answer,' is astonishing.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Waaaaaah, it's the rich people's fault, waaaaaaah!

Hey, scottie, here's a coupla' questions for ya':

1) Did middle class taxes go up or down when the "very wealthy" got their tax relief?

2) Did overall tax revenues increase or decrease after everyone got those tax breaks (oops, gave away the answer to the first question)?

"As for the rich? They've reaped great benefit from the societal resources we've made available to them. Let them pay more for the use they've made. "

Yeah, 'cause it's the very wealthy that use all those resources like food stamps, TANF, Medicaid, public schools, etc.

Class jealousy is such an ugly thing, scottie.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Oh, goody, another whiny, entitled, class-jealous Lawrencian checks in. How are ya' tonight, eddie boy? Care to take a whack at answering the questions your buddy couldn't answer? Or, as usual, did you just swing by to say - absolutely nothing?

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salad 4 years, 1 month ago

Scott3460 is echoing the comments of Warren Buffet, which is how I lean too. 1. Eliminate the cap on FICA. 2. Apply FICA to people who make their income from bonuses and stock options instead of wages (the super rich). 3. Do NOT re-new the Bush tax cuts for the rich. 4. Make college tuition tax-deductible. 5. Enforce existing laws on paying wages under the table (illegal workers, etc...).

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notajayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Great plan! Oh, except for a coupla' things:

If the cap was done away with on FICA, then we'd have to pay those people back. It creates a liability, not a revenue stream.

College tuition already is tax deductible. Of course, you have to actually pay taxes to get the deuction.

If you're going to eliminate the tax cuts for the "rich", how about eliminating all the cuts? I seriously doubt this applies to you, but is it okay if we get rid of the additional child tax credit, for instance?

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salad 4 years, 1 month ago

If the cap on FICA was removed, then anyone making more than the amount where the cap stops wouldn't get a 50% tax deduction for the rest of their income for the year. There is no "pay them back". That makes no sense. It would properly fund Medicare, Medicaide, and SS. In fact, if the FICA deduction were increased a small amount and the cap removed, we could properly inplement a single payer healthcare system, which would get the ENORMOUS financial drag off the backs of business of having to pay for workers healthcare. Why can't GM & Ford compete? Cause Toyota doesn't have to pay for it's employees healthcare, Japan does. Makes me wonder why are conservatives so anti-business.....

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notajayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

"There is no "pay them back". That makes no sense."

See if you can follow along: See, salad, the amount you get back from Social Security depends on how much you've paid in.

Lordie but sometimes it seems like Romper Room around here.

"In fact, if the FICA deduction were increased a small amount and the cap removed, we could properly inplement a single payer healthcare system, which would get the enormous financial drag off the backs of business of having to pay for workers healthcare."

A "small amount", salad? How much is a couple of trillion dollars per year divided into the taxes of a hundred-and-fifty million (or so) wage earners?

"Why can't GM & Ford compete?"

Ford, apparently, can. GM, apparently, doesn't because they don't have to. You're seriously going to whine about the Japanese government paying for Japanese autoworkers' healthcare after the Messiah used how much of our tax money to buy GM?

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IndusRiver 4 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, 'cause it's the very wealthy that use all those resources like food stamps, TANF, Medicaid, public schools, etc.

The record shows that nobody owes greedy corporate welfare thugs anything. It's getting down to where there just isn't anybody left whose economy can be plundered.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

What planet is the sky on your planet, river?

What record are you talking about? The record that shows that the very wealthy pay the share of 33 (or more, probably, now) freeloaders in income taxes, a share that's increasing, not decreasing? The record that shows that a single corporation (Exxon/Mobil) paid as much in taxes as the entire bottom 50% of individual income tax filers? Those records?

Here, let me correct your last sentence for you: 'It's getting down to where there just isn't anybody ELSE left whose economy can be plundered, and I might have to start paying a little myself.' There, fixed.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Regardless of whether or not that's true, Exxon/Mobil still pays as much as the bottom half of tax filers pay in income taxes, eddie. Not that you care, as you're always in favor of more taxes - that is, more taxes on somebody else.

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Jimo 4 years, 1 month ago

"heritage development projects, open space preservation projects ($350,000) additional economic development (another $350,000), football stadiums and now tennis courts (??million)"

Reasonable people may disagree whether these projects are appropriate for government but I would have thought that everyone would agree that these projects are inappropriate for times as difficult as now.

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geekyhost 4 years, 1 month ago

So the people who build tennis courts and football stadiums don't actually spend money in the local economy?

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Jimo 4 years, 1 month ago

Might. Might spend it in KC, or Topeka, or on Ebay! There's no way to know in advance.

What we do know with certainty is that those who pay the tax, and therefore don't have the money, will not be spending the money in the local economy or anywhere else, yes?

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IndusRiver 4 years, 1 month ago

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100818/bs_nm/us_mazda_recall

Yet more corporate crap that we live with. Eggs, too, being re-called. Nope, just not safe to get up in the morning, get a little breakfast, and drive to work.

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IndusRiver 4 years, 1 month ago

Don't know how they managed to put Bernie Madoff in jail, but not the rest of them.

Tom Delay - all charges dropped. Wittig and Lake - let's just go ahead and face it - two more pillaging scumbags who will walk scot free.

And I'm supposed to pay more? Nah, don't think so.

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IndusRiver 4 years, 1 month ago

But that one Alaska rip-off artist, Ted Stevens, got slammed into the side of a mountain.

Rids the world of evil God's way, I guess.

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IndusRiver 4 years, 1 month ago

The solution would be for voter turnout to significantly improve, so that votes more accurately reflect the community as a whole.

Nah, neither voting or working is working.

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notajayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

1) What good does increasing people's income do if you take more in taxes? It's not the gross that matters, eddie, it's what's left over to spend.

2) But hey, you're right, let's pay everyone a 'living wage'. How about $20/hour for bagging groceries, eddie, that okay? Of course, that $20/hour isn't going to go very far when a loaf of bread starts costing $15 to cover those salaries, but what the heck.

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independant1 4 years, 1 month ago

Total Tax Wedge - Single worker - by country - as percent of income

1 Belgium: 55.6%

2 Hungary: 52.6%

3 Germany: 50.7%

4 Sweden: 48.6%

5 France: 48.3%

6 Italy: 46.2%

7 Finland: 45.9%

8 Austria: 44.7%

9 Denmark: 44.2%

10 Turkey: 43.2%

11 Czech Republic: 43%

12 Poland: 42.9%

13 Netherlands: 42.3%

14 Slovakia: 42%

15 Spain: 37.9%

16 Norway: 37%

17 Greece: 36%

18 Luxembourg: 33.9%

19 Portugal: 32.5%

20 Canada: 30.2%

21 United States: 30%

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independant1 4 years, 1 month ago

In USA top 50% tax units pay >96% of fed income tax (1999-2007)

Corp income tax? Corps are really pass through tax collectors. Corp fed income tax rate is 35% of profit.

Small business owners pay themselves wages rather than let that money fall into 35% tax rate.

After paying $5.8 billion in taxes in 2005, Wal-Mart earned $11.7 billion—a nice chunk of change. But those earnings were on revenues of $312 billion, a mere 3.4 percent net profit margin.

Exxon Mobil earned $36 billion in 2005 after paying $23.3 billion in taxes on revenues of $371 billion. Looking at that result you realize that in America today, a ‘windfall’ profit is one that amounts to less than 10 percent of revenues.

realclearmarkets

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