Letters to the Editor

Out of balance

May 27, 2011


To the editor:

The laws of nature teach us that there is a delicate balance that must be obeyed in order that all species can prosper and survive. The parasite and the host have a symbiotic relationship whereby they each depend on one another for survival. Once the population of parasites exceeds what the population of hosts can supply, both will die.

The growth and decline of a city are governed by the same laws of nature. Government and taxpayers must remain in proper balance in order that they both survive. An imbalance occurs when governments take more than the taxpayers can provide. Proper balance must be restored or the governments will destroy the taxpayers and neither will survive.

City Hall has breached their fiduciary duties far too long by grading their own tests using fuzzy math to justify favoring city employees and developer elites at the expense of the taxpayer. There is no greater philanthropist than a feel-good politician spending other people’s money for all the wrong reasons.

Current statistics suggest that our city is in a downward spiral due to our high cost of living compared to per capital incomes that are well below the state average. Our city’s taxpayers are on life support, and we have a City Hall whose answer to everything is higher taxes. Wrong answer. Correct answer is to cut spending and taxes.

This old hippie is ready to march on the establishment and force change by launching “Operation Pull Your Heads Out.” Are there any other old hippies ready to march and relive the ’60s?


Bob Harvey 3 years, 8 months ago

I am the complete opposite of an old hippie, but it may be time to take to the barricades. Even what is left of my brain matter knows this cannot go on without crippling our city, county, state and country.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

While it's certainly a reasonable expectation that government be "right-sized," and that it use its tax resources efficiently and effectively, the "parasite" metaphor is not an apt one, in the least.

First, "government" is not some alien other. It's us, doing what we collectively set it to do, and the employees of government are our friends, family and neighbors. And the tax moneys it receives doesn't just disappear into thin air. We get much needed services for those tax moneys, and nearly all of it, especially on the local level, is spent on salaries-- salaries that are spent locally, supporting local businesses and the people who own them, and those government employees are also taxpayers.

As I said, it's proper that citizens should have high (or at least reasonable) expectations of government, and we owe our own due diligence in making sure those expectations are met. But hysterical, ideologically slanted metaphors such as "parasitic" are counterproductive, at best.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

I wonder how many of those that work for the city and county governments live in Lawrence.

If a large number don't, then they probably spend the majority of their salaries elsewhere.

George Lippencott 3 years, 8 months ago

Do we pay them enough to live in this expensive city??

Our employees are there to do what we ask them to do. balkancing the budget on theri backs is wrong.

We should decide wht it is the city/county does we do not really want (the majority of us) and end it. Thats may downsize the number of employees but ir does not bleed them all to death.

Bozo is one of those that never met a function that government should not perform regardless of costs. Is whole concept is to be more efficient rather than less intrusive. Efficiency is good but it can become a cover for being hurtful.

cato_the_elder 3 years, 8 months ago

"Once the population of parasites exceeds what the population of hosts can supply, both will die."

How true. The letter writer has succinctly, although perhaps inadvertently, described what is going on with taxation at all levels, and particularly at the federal level, in this country as we speak.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Since government is strictly a "parasite," I hope you will be sure not to avail yourselves of any of the services it provides, and in any of your dealings with government employees, make sure that you don't take payment for any goods or services you provide.

In this way, you can make sure the "parasite" metaphor is an apt one.

And by all means, never vote.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

You misread the letter. The writer said it was a delicate balance. You interpret that as "government being strictly a parasite". The writer used the word "balance four times (including it's variant imbalance) and the word "strictly" zero times. His letter was a nuanced approach while you attribute an extremist slant to it. And hysterical, ideological slanted rants that the writer should use zero services because he believes in a balanced approach is counterproductive, at best.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

The letter writer clearly doesn't know what a parasite is.

Parasites do not live in a symbiotic relationship with the host. By definition, an organism that lives in a symbiotic relationship with its host is not a parasite.

The host organism to a parasite gains no benefit from it.

Therefore, the term "host" is not an apt one.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

"Therefore, the term "host" is not an apt one."

That should have read,

"Therefore, the term "parasite" is not an apt one."

Although where there is a parasite, there must be a host.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 8 months ago

You clearly don't understand the concept of balance.

cato_the_elder 3 years, 8 months ago

Bozo, are you a host or a parasite? In other words, are you a net tax taker or a net tax payer? Just curious.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

No, you're not "just curious." You have no intelligent argument to offer in response, so you're making a thinly veiled ad hominem, straw-man attack, based on nothing more than assumptions.

devobrun 3 years, 8 months ago

No bozo, the government provides for the parasites. The parasites elect officials and then use them to provide. These parasite are not just welfare moms. They include developers, lawyers, and business people who benefit from government regulations and largesse.
Government can literally draw a gun on you, legally. Government can physically force you to give up money to provide for useless drug addicts and slick business men.

Government is the vector by which the parasites suck from the people. The larger the government, the more parasitic the people become....because they can. Until the reservoir drains faster than it can be filled. Such is the case today. More going out than coming in. So we create money, we create reality. Who is going to pay for all that debt? Nobody.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

I won't deny that government is used by parasites to do their bidding, but that doesn't mean that government is, by nature or in fact, parasitic.

devobrun 3 years, 8 months ago

A hundred years ago, the federal state, and local governments of the U.S. provided a framework for people and their organizations to operate within. Today the size and scope of governments has become the driver of human activities. This is a very significant change in the relationship between the people and their government. Government passed laws regarding civil rights that have today become laws that force retribution. Big difference between passing laws against discrimination and laws that draw money away from some folks and give to other folks because of behavior from 50, 100, 200 years previous. I'm pretty sure that you and I are, each in our own way, violating multiple laws right now. There are too many laws. Government is too big. The only limit to laws is to pass other laws that rescind prior laws and the process has left us with a country of competing law makers. One can't do business, develop an idea, engage in any behavior....without joining a special interest group that will fight for your rights in a government way. Want to start a business? Get a lawyer, then a politician, then form a society that advocates for your idea. It is all government. It is all "special interest". The most difficult thing to do in today's America is to be free from government. There is nothing one can do, no place to go, no thought one can have, that is free from government. Some people like that. Some find the situation oppressive.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Government isn't perfect, but government, as I said above, is also not some "alien other."

And while your ideology says we can't live with it, reality says we can't live without it.

Unfocused ranting and raving and inapt metaphors won't fix whatever we collectively see wrong with it.

devobrun 3 years, 8 months ago

To you, government is not an "alien other". To me, it is.
I understand and appreciate the ideology that government is progress. I know that you acknowledge government as imperfect, but better than individuality.

I don't. I love being free from other people's decisions. I enjoy doing for myself, even when I fail. I define myself by who I am and what I do. I do not gain any comfort, identity, or strength from being attached to others through government. I have no religion. I have no governmental ideology. I am alien to modern social constructs. I have no use for cell phones, twitter, facebook, or social security. I have connections to people, even when they are virtual...such as this discussion with you, bozo. But my aim is to point up to people that they lose something when they join the borg. You are less of a person by acquiescing to the collective.
You apparently like the borg. For me, this isn't just gedanken. It is a life. Complete with emotions of high and low. Succeed and fail. With a family and close social encounters.....all without the oppression of guilt from the collective. Thus, I am alien to the modern notion that we grow as people when we grow as a group. Laws against lying don't make fewer liars. It causes liars to be more creative in their lying. Not lying comes from individual integrity, not government imposition. Individual integrity, not government, make for better lives. I choose to feel emotion based on myself and how I behave, not who is elected to some government office..

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

It's not an either/or situation. Humans are social animals that also happen to function as individuals.

If we are to survive as a species, we'll always need to learn to play well with others, which includes governmental and other types of organization.

Sure, there are people who like to celebrate their antisocial tendencies, and some of these folks can be very creative in their little world.

But by and large, the human race survives in spite of these people, not because of them.

devobrun 3 years, 8 months ago

You missed the point entirely, bozo. Avoidance of government is not anti-social. Avoidance of outside proscriptions of behavior is not anti-social. You are so tuned into government control, social control and outside manipulation of your thoughts and deeds that you have no concept of being a whole and well-adjusted individual. I have friends, family, work relationships. But I don't draw my identity from any of them.

No bozo, you are backwards. People are individuals who function in social groups. People spend more time alone than engaged in social contact.
The less a person can function as an individual, the more they must rely on the borg. Social interaction should be a choice, bozo. Being yourself is not a choice. You must be a complete individual, capable of feelings, emotions, thoughts, and deeds before you give in to the identity of others.

This Weltanschauung is quite beyond your thougfht and feeling process isn't it, bozo? You have never really tried to be a strong individual have you? You have no clue about the strength within or the concept of courage, honor or self, do you? You have no idea what I am talking about. I feel sorry for you.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

And I feel sorry for you, given that all of your self-determination seems to have resulted in a bitter, angry, and somewhat nihilistic world view.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

"Old Hippies make me sick."

The causes of your problems clearly go well beyond old hippies.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

I think your bitterness is summed up by "I didn't even get in on the free love".

Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

letter is on the money!!!!! Yes local taxpayers are over extended. Expanding the city expands our tax bills.

SAY NO to the NEW $100 million dollar sewage treatment plant. Lawrence Kansas needs a different industry NOT more bedrooms taxpayers cannot afford.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

Just because speculators purchase property does not guarantee that construction will be allowed for it is NOT the duty of the taxpayer or local government to maximize profits for speculators. Speculating=gambling. Land speculators know these things.

New retail should create NEW ADDITIONAL revenue and NEW ADDITIONAL employment for a community. NOT merely spread current retail dollars to the point where nothing NEW or ADDITIONAL is realized.

Certainly it is not to replace existing retail for nothing is gained. Otherwise taxpayers realize TAX INCREASES to cover the cost of additional demand on community services.

Projects should be accompanied with independent Retail Impact Studies,Economic Impact studies,Traffic Impact Studies etc etc.

Taxpayers get stuck with paying for maintenance of all new infrastructure which is why new housing does not cover the cost of community services that they demand from municipalities.

Each new home adds to the cost of community services = more taxes for existing homeowners. Over built residential drives down the value of homes which is happening as we speak which increases property taxes.

Over built retail does not generate revenue enough to cover the cost of community services nor does it generate the level of sales tax projected/necessary. The only industry that makes money is the real estate industry.

Over built retail means spaces sit empty not generating revenue or jobs and comes back on the taxpayer. Every community needs each retail space to generate maximum revenue. This is NOT happening.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

The First Management 9th and New Hampshire Project could be good for downtown Lawrence as hotel/motel suites.

  1. Taxpayers DO NOT want to finance the parking for this project.

  2. Make the project into a hotel for the Jayhawk sports fans,other visiting sports fans and anyone else who visits. Keep visitors in downtown Lawrence!

  3. Each hotel tenant pays $15 per night parking pass to the city which is still way below market value of $25 and up. User pays is sensible economic policy.

  4. Hotel generates sales taxes and hotel taxes for the city cookie jars which is a necessary revenue.

  5. New downtown hotel/motel space is good for tourism and the Sunflower Games

  6. Keep shoppers and tourists in downtown Lawrence.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

Bozo is right - parasites don't live in symbiotic relationship with their hosts.

Symbiotic refers to organisms living together in mutually beneficial ways.

So, if government has a symbiotic relationship with the people, then it is a mutually beneficial relationship.

One can either believe that government is parasitic, living off of the people without providing enough/anything in return, or one can believe the relationship is symbiotic, ie. mutually beneficial.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

From the dictionary:

A parasite is something that lives "in dependence on something else for existence or support without making a useful or adequate return".

Also, a parasite "obtains benefits from a host which it usually injures".

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Parasitic relationships are sometimes considered a form of symbiosis, but it's a relationship that offers no benefits to the "symbiotic" host.

So, in general usage, "symbiotic" relationships refer to relationships that are mutually beneficial for both organisms involved, while "parasitic" relationships refer to those that offer no benefits to the host.

So for use as a metaphor in describing local governments, "parasite" is not accurate.

George Lippencott 3 years, 8 months ago

Or both. It is not an either/or. Things that governments provide that most of us use are just fine. Things that governments do that enrich special interests whether they are developers or moochers are targets.

The writer suggested a balance. Makes sense to me.

Why did Bozo take this to extremes? Maybe he is a moocher?

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

That's your opinion.

I agree that one could feel that a certain amount/kind of government is symbiotic, and others become parasitic. But, It seems to me that not only is that a judgment call and quite subjective, but that most people have a general feeling that government is one or the other on a more basic level. And, that perspective colors their view of various government activities.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm not sure that I would only call things that most of us use beneficial.

For example, I consider public education beneficial, even if most people are sending their kids to private schools or home-schooling them.

Or fire/police/emergency protection, even if most of us don't use them.

They are things that we all can use if we want/need them, and thus are beneficial in my view.

George Lippencott 3 years, 8 months ago

Of course. However, paying companies through our tax system to produce ethanol may just not be beneficial. There are many examples.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago


My point is that we don't all agree on what's beneficial, which is part of the problem.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

Also, bozo didn't take anything to an extreme, in my opinion. He simply (and correctly) pointed out that you can't call government a "parasite" and then talk about a symbiotic relationship with it.

George Lippencott 3 years, 8 months ago

And that is your opinion.

I take Bozo in the whole and find that he used his argumend to suggest that government is never a parasite. IMHO it can be and is aT TIMES.

Somebody else is arguing about parasites and symbiotic relationships.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

Check his 8:10 post where he says exactly what I said he does.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

From the letter:

"The parasite and the host have a symbiotic relationship whereby they depend on each other for survival".

This is clearly and simply incorrect - hosts do not depend on parasites for their survival.

George Lippencott 3 years, 8 months ago


Reread what I wrote - I ducked the parasite thing and deferred it to somebody else’s argument - do not consider it important.

In fact, I reject the original analogy. I do not consider our moochers symbiotic. They might be considered parasites. In any case, the taxpayers do not need them to survive and probably would do better without them.

That is what I mean "on the whole". The point of the article is valid in my opinion even if the analogy is flawed. Bozo IMHO attacks the analogy (correctly) in order to discredit the author's point (incorrectly). Old debating trick.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

I think you're missing the point of the letter.

The "parasite" referred to is government, the host taxpayers.

In the first part, the author says what I quoted above, and then goes on next to say "governments and taxpayers,..."

Clearly trying to make the analogy that government is to taxpayers as a parasite is to it's host.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

If the analogy (or metaphor) is flawed, then it becomes difficult to evaluate the validity of the point the writer is attempting to make.

So what is the writer's point? Is it that local government is a parasite, and therefore provides no benefits of any kind for the public it nominally serves? Or is it that government can be perverted and corrupted so that it becomes inefficient and ineffective in meeting the needs of the majority of the people?

Clearly, we all benefit to some extent from the city government we have here in Lawrence. Is it on some levels perverted and corrupted by special interests? Clearly so. But to use the term "parasitic" is unnecessarily hyperbolic.

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

I think his point would be that up to a certain point the relationship is symbiotic, but past that point it becomes parasitic and threatens the survival of both entities.

In his world, once government takes too much (money, I guess) from taxpayers, it crosses that line.

But it's a weirdly constructed and expressed view, for sure, and it doesn't help that the basic premise is just wrong.

If government is essentially parasitic, then it is not a symbiotic relationship to start with (which some people do believe).

If it's not, then evaluating the mutual beneficiality of it would necessarily involve more than how much it takes in taxes (from my perspective).

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

That's beautiful - using Bob Dylan to support your anti-60's perspective.

And, I'll bet you don't even see the irony in it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

So the "sixties" can be boiled down to a poorly organized rock festival on a NY farm?

james bush 3 years, 8 months ago

Well done/said, Herynk and Devobrun. Thanks for the clarity about the government we seem to be experiencing, especially at the federal level in my opinion.

olddesk 3 years, 8 months ago

I agree, it's time the politicians learn who they really work for and how fast they can be removed from office. We the people need to start standing up and taking back our country. I'll stand with you.

llama726 3 years, 8 months ago

... no one sees a problem in calling your fellow countrymen parasites, i guess.

llama726 3 years, 8 months ago

Interesting. I guess my civics classes were off when they mentioned citizenship requirements for each specific political office. Or is it that you just don't think anyone in government is a citizen? Maybe not even a human being?

llama726 3 years, 8 months ago

The government is made up of what? (People, genius). Beyond my grasp, coming from the guy who can barely muster a complete sentence? Golden.

George Lippencott 3 years, 8 months ago

So we have the best government we can buy?? Blame the people doing the buying and not those being bought??

Broaden your concept.

devobrun 3 years, 8 months ago

As W. Kelly said through Pogo: "We have met the enemy and he is us". Entrusting ourselves to government is like entrusting ourselves to computers. The Farmer's Almanac once said: "To err is human, but to really foul things up takes a computer". In today's world we have government employees with computers. And you, George, owe $45,000 dollars to the Chinese. And so do I. And so does bozo and every man woman and child in this country.

Because of bureacrats with computers. The best defense against malfeasence is allowing things to fail. Programs exist within the government that have been going on for decades and nobody even knows they exist. They should be allowed to fail and dropped. They are not. My son just walked in and I told him that he owes $45,000. He said: That's a lot.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

So you don't like government. Do you dislike gravity, too?

Here's a newsflash for you, Devo. Nature really couldn't care less whether we survive or not. One of the reasons we're still here is because we have the ability to focus our collective abilities and our labor, and as our populations have increased, government is one of the tools that has allowed us to do so.

Is it perfect? No-- humans aren't perfect, and government (along with all other forms of organization) is something we've been making up as we've gone along. And finding a balance between being social beings and individuals doesn't have a one-size-fits-all solution.

But only one thing is certain. 7 billion of us can't survive without government. And making government work better will require the due diligence of all of us. Pretending that we can live without it won't cut it.

George Lippencott 3 years, 8 months ago

I do not think we are proposing we live without it. I think we are proposing two things

First, we need to collectively decide on what government does and not leave that to the politicians Second, we need to fund what we agree upon and require everyone to contribute to that cost. Exempting half the population from paying for government is a recipe for disaster.

We cannot go on borrowing from the Chinese.

devobrun 3 years, 8 months ago

Well George, bozo is known for extrapolation, hyperbole. Government exists to the degree that individuals are unable, or unwilling to take care of themselves. People aren't perfect, so there is government.
There is also the March of Dimes and a lot of other organizations, too. They become bad when they promote the loss of individual excellence. They are grotesque when people choose to be less than they can be, the government will save me.

But people wish to be taken care of, George. Enough of those and the government cannot sustain itself. This is the root of the LTE's point. When the enemy is us, we must change ourselves. But when the perception of government is that a collective is the savior of us all, we deny the necessity of individual growth.

We replace the struggle for betterment with slow demise. And $14 trillion bucks.

We agree on nothing. We are slave to advertising. We no longer have opinions, George. We parrot advertising.

George Lippencott 3 years, 8 months ago

Think I caught that one. But I maintain there are functions for our government as outlined in our various constitutions.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Tools can be misused/abused. That doesn't mean that tools should be abandoned or forbidden.

Government is a tool. But abolishing/abandoning government is the only solution you appear able to propose.

George Lippencott 3 years, 8 months ago

Not me bozo - never have and never will. Absolutes are just not in my nature? I think you have me confused with LO

devobrun 3 years, 8 months ago

I don't wish to forbid nor abandon government either. I say that government exists to the extent that individuals are unwilling or unable to take care of themselves.

As a wise person once said.....Devo, everything is a hammer. And so when government is used as a hammer, it oppresses and it dominates.

Our government has gone way too far. People rely on it far too much. It grows and grows and hammers at us. There is no mechanism to reduce it. The democrats love its size and wish it to get bigger. The republicans have learned that they too can benefit from its largesse. It just keeps getting bigger.

I think that's bad. The LTE thinks so, too.

mr_right_wing 3 years, 8 months ago

Your first paragraph had me growning; here we go, we're parasites on the earth, killing it with 'global climate change' blah..blah....blah........blah................blah (infinity sign)

Good thing I kept reading....I couldn't agree more with your letter!

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