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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Heartless stand

March 15, 2014

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To the editor:

Not long ago I chanced to have a conversation with a senior citizen opposed to that “horrible socialistic” program called the Affordable Care Act.  When asked how someone without health insurance could afford to get necessary medical care, she replied, “Oh, I don’t know. Let them have a bake sale.” It appears our Kansas legislators agree with her. None of them want to appear heartless by telling sick folk to “drop dead,” but that is exactly what they mean. The woman I talked with didn’t care. After all, she was covered by that “horrible socialistic” program called Medicare. Strange as it may seem, she didn’t volunteer to give it up.

Our U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins isn’t willing to give up her taxpayer-financed health care either. While working overtime to deny uninsured Kansans that same blanket of security, she continues to tell constituents that she has their interests at heart. What interests are those, Rep. Jenkins? You’re against a living wage for workers, against health insurance for the uninsured, against an expansion of Medicaid, against farmers and their interests, against pretty much anything that would help Kansans survive.

Why do we keep electing such irresponsible people to represent us? It’s one of the dark mysteries that continues to haunt us.

Comments

Richard Heckler 9 months, 1 week ago

Very well put.

This describes Lynn Jenkins perfectly.

ALEC Right Wing Party is posing as the republican party which is fraudulent representation of the GOP in Kansas and the beltway.

Rather than serve the public interest, ALEC champions the agenda of corporations which are willing to pay for access to legislators and the opportunity to write their very own legislation.

It helps surrogates and lobbyists for corporations to draft and promote state bills which:

• gut environmental laws

• create a regressive tax system

• eliminate workers’ rights = lower wages

• undermine universal and affordable health care

• privatize public education

• chip away at voting rights.

http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/alec-the-voice-of-corporate-special-interests-state-legislatures#Voter

United States of ALEC - Bill Moyers http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/27/the_united_states_of_alec_bill

Ron Holzwarth 9 months, 1 week ago

The writer of this letter to the editor posed this question:
"Why do we keep electing such irresponsible people to represent us?"

My answer is, I think the reason is that the system we use for elections does not allow the voters to carefully select their votes, all of which they will be placing at once. It's not that they're stupid, instead it's because they don't have the time to research the viewpoints of each of the various candidates that are running for office. That information is not always easy to find or evaluate for accuracy within the media barrage which we are constantly subjected to.

There are so many votes to be made all at once, and remembering all of the political viewpoints of each of the candidates is not possible for most people. So instead of voting based upon a candidate's platform, intentions, or political track record, the votes are very often made on the basis of a media operation.

It seems to me that slick media operations are running the government by getting favored candidates elected. It is impossible to be elected to office without a media campaign, and that's very expensive. The only way to finance it is with the backing of donors that just about always have vested interests that are not at all aligned with the voter's intentions.

So, many of the votes are placed based upon just a tidbit of information that's remembered from someone's expensive advertisement. In my opinion, that's not very different than a vote that was purchased for a sum of money.

Changing this system will be very difficult, and can be done only if the citizens demonstrate an insistence that it be done by electing candidates that will bring it about by making it law. It would require a very massive effort.

Since we now live in the computer and internet age, it is possible to develop an internet based voting system, with which each voter could carefully and deliberately choose every vote.

Each candidate would need to write a page that expresses their general political viewpoints, which issues they support, which they oppose, and what they intend to use as a basis for their votes in passing the policies and laws that we will then have to live with. The voters would need to take this very seriously, and this could be done by allowing only a few votes per day, allowing enough time for every voter to carefully consider what each candidate intends to do, if elected.

Also, an objective page would need to be written by other persons that would honestly expose that candidate's political track record so far.

And then, every voter could read all that and then carefully select the candidate that would support interests that were closely aligned with their own.

I think that until such a system is in place, the whoever is purchasing the media is going to be running our government.

Summation: My simplified answer to the original question is:
Because we do not vote wisely.

Bart Johnson 9 months, 1 week ago

The wealth redistribution programs mentioned in the LTE are horribly cruel. The government will run out of money eventually (this is a mathematical certainty as the US has over $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities) and then what will happen to those people dependent on these giveaways? The government will be bankrupt and these people will be turned out into the streets.

I cannot believe that anyone would support socialist programs when the evidence is so overwhelming that socialism fails. All the mass starvations that have happened over the last 100 years have been thanks to socialism/fascism and the government control and redistribution of private property.

Socialism = death, starvation, evil.

Richard Heckler 9 months, 1 week ago

Without socialism capitalism would be a complete failure. Socialism is putting our tax dollars back into the economy which in essence either creates jobs or saves jobs. These keep food on peoples tables and helps pay the rent.

Jobs Jobs Jobs Jobs Jobs is the answer to more and more jobs.

Republican Paul Ryan wants to kill Medicare insurance and Social Security Insurance and turn them over to the very industries that is ripping Americans off as we speak. Those would be Wall Street and the medical insurance industry two ofd the largest thieves in the business.

BTW Paul Ryan trained under Sam Brownback.

Bart Johnson 9 months, 1 week ago

"Socialism is putting our tax dollars back into the economy"

After taking those dollars OUT of the economy. That's a zero sum at best, but it is actually a net loss because those dollars would have been invested or at least spent in ways that people prefer. The government wastes those dollars, thus harming the economy.

"which in essence either creates jobs or saves jobs"

But the act of taking that money out of the economy in the first place destroys jobs. If the government takes my money and buys a tank, that means I can't use that money to buy a new shirt. Again, at best it's a zero sum, but in reality it's a net loss because the government does not use the money to invest in factories and capital assets but simply spends it, thus wasting it.

"Republican Paul Ryan wants to kill Medicare insurance and Social Security Insurance"

Doesn't matter what he wants, the government is bankrupt. The Fed keeps buying up debt to keep the money flowing, but that won't work forever. The US has $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities. It cannot pay those bills and it will eventually go the way of Detroit.

Kevin Elliott 9 months, 1 week ago

Its funny when people regurgitate what they told to think without thinking.

I may be a simple Kansas farm boy, but my grandfather taught me that repeating a lie over and over does not make it true, it just makes them repeat liars.

I realize it is pointless to argue the point with you because you your belief system is based on politics, not facts. I am just commenting to let you know i consider that sort of belief system that seems most pervasive in extreme right wing politics a huge failure to our countries future.

Ron Holzwarth 9 months, 1 week ago

"A lie told often enough becomes the truth."
- Vladimir Lenin
Or possibly Joseph Goebbels, Hitlers propaganda minister. There is some debate about the origins of that quote.

In either case, that method of establishing "truth" is commonly used in our world today. And why is that? Because it works.

Richard Heckler 9 months, 1 week ago

There is plenty of time to review candidates and their positions. Absolutely.

Voters are convinced all are the same and they consistently send the same people back to office. This sends the wrong message. It tells politicians you like their reckless and corrupt votes in Washington D.C. These incumbents haven driven up the cost of campaigning to the point it's difficult for new faces to raise equal number of special interest $$$$$$$.

Every beltway Kansas republican needs replacing BUTTTTTT be careful. ALEC is running the GOP therefore all republicans would be the wrong vote.

Ron Holzwarth 9 months, 1 week ago

"There is plenty of time to review candidates and their positions. Absolutely."

Well then, fine. The very best candidates have been selected, so the citizens should be totally satisfied.

"Voters are convinced all are the same and they consistently send the same people back to office."

Then that's obviously what the citizens want, and there should be no complaints.

What were we discussing?

Richard Heckler 9 months, 1 week ago

Social Security Insurance - Separating Fact from Fiction

The opponents of Social Security will stop at nothing in their long crusade to destroy the most efficient retirement system in the world. Opponents have taken two tracks to attack Social Security.

The first is to claim the system as it is will fail, and the second is to claim that privatization is a better way to provide for retirement security. The first claim was the favorite from 1935 to about 2001.Then the privatization claim became the vogue. Now the first is back on the table.

With corporations routinely defaulting on their pension promises, more and more workers must rely on their individual wealth to make up the difference. The stock market collapse at the turn of the millennium wiped out much of the financial wealth of middle class Americans, and the collapse of the housing bubble has wiped out much of their remaining wealth.

Making any cuts to Social Security now, either by raising the retirement age or cutting benefits, would have a huge impact on their remaining retirement income and are not necessary to “save the system.”

More info not rhetoric: http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

Ron Holzwarth 9 months, 1 week ago

The above comment was clipped from 'Dollars and Sense: Real World Economics' :
http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

The article it was clipped from was:
Social Security Q&A, Separating Fact from Fiction
By Doug Orr

But, it has been clipped and pasted many times, here's an example of one where I even recognized the name of the poster:
http://www.usmessageboard.com/clean-debate-zone/276691-americans-shocked-to-learn-there-is-no-social-security-crisis.html

Oh, here's another clip of the very same article, and apparently the very same poster:
http://www.dcjunkies.com/showthread.php?39043-Social-Security-IS-NOT-going-broke!-Wall-Street-wants-YOUR-trillions-of-tax-dollars!

I didn't keep on looking at all the other places where the exact same article was clipped and pasted, and I tend to think that they were never credited. Some commenters on this forum, such as myself, make it very clear when they clip someone else's work by sourcing and thereby crediting it, and obviously at least one does not.

There is a name for clipping someone else's work and presenting it as your own:
Plagiarism: Noun, definition from Merriam-Webster:
To use the words or ideas of another person as if they were your own words or ideas.

"Old habits die hard."
- Old English Proverb, origin obscure

Richard Heckler 9 months, 1 week ago

What's missing from this national deficit debate? Removing the billions in CORPORATE ENTITLEMENTS and giving this money back to the taxpayer. Incumbents love corporate entitlements.

Smart economics says remove the large tax dollar subsidies to very wealthy USA corporations across the board aka corporate welfare!

DEMAND of the city, state and federal government to cut corporate welfare and invest OUR tax dollars on IMPROVED Medicare Single Payer Insurance for ALL. Why?

  1. many of us would be saving thousands of dollars annually

  2. big business and small business could operate for less

  3. all governments and school districts could cut operating expenses substantially

  4. employed blue and white collar workers would be healthier thus more productive

  5. all humans would have necessary healthcare 24/7

  6. in general OUR cost of living would decrease across the board

  7. New industry,small business and jobs would germinate and grow.

Thus our tax dollars would be invested in our local communities providing a jump start to economic growth that has been squandered as one result of corp welfare.

Ron Holzwarth 9 months, 1 week ago

The above comment was clipped and pasted as a comment on at least 10 other places, mostly on LJWorld.com, Wellcommons.com, larryville.com, cjonline.com, tonganoxiemarketplace.com, admin.kusports.com, but it was posted twice out of town on www.dcjunkies.com and on http://archive.is/2DlN2

I have not located the original source, but I doubt it was original material. I think it is interesting that the punctuation error after #7 was apparently never corrected.

Richard Heckler 9 months, 1 week ago

Corporate Welfare Grows to $154 Billion even in Midst of Major Government Cuts

WASHINGTON — Lobbying for special tax treatment produced a spectacular return for Whirlpool Corp., courtesy of Congress and those who pay the bills, the American taxpayers. By investing just $1.8 million over two years in payments for Washington lobbyists, Whirlpool secured the renewal of lucrative energy tax credits for making high-efficiency appliances that it estimates will be worth a combined $120 million for 2012 and 2013. Such breaks have helped the company keep its total tax expenses below zero in recent years.

The return on that lobbying investment: about 6,700 percent.

These are the sort of returns that have attracted growing swarms of corporate tax lobbyists to the Capitol over the last decade — the sorts of payoffs typically reserved for gamblers and gold miners. Even as Congress says it is digging for every penny of savings, lobbyists are anything but sequestered; they are ratcheting up their efforts to protect and even increase their clients’ tax breaks.

The Senate approved tax benefits for Whirlpool and a host of other corporations early on New Year’s Day, a couple of hours after the ball dropped over Times Square and champagne corks began popping. A smorgasbord of 43 business and energy tax breaks, collectively worth $67 billion this year, was packed into the emergency tax legislation that avoided the so-called “fiscal cliff.’’

http://reclaimdemocracy.org/corporate-welfare-tax-breaks-subsidies/

Ron Holzwarth 9 months, 1 week ago

Credited! Sort of. You could have made it more clear that you clipped and pasted that entire comment.

Sam Crow 9 months, 1 week ago

Do you mean someone actually reads his cut and paste nonsense?

Fred Mertz 9 months, 1 week ago

Anne, Richard and others like them believe it is the role of government to redistribute wealth. Take from someone who has more and give to someone who has less.

I do not. While I believe we should be charitable I do not believe it is the role nor in our best interest for the government to force charity on its citizens.

Taxes should be collected and used only for the public good which means anyone should have the opportunity to benefit from that public good. For example, a library, roads, etc,

It is not for the public good when the government forces you to pay a tax which it then gives to another individual or corporation. Yes, corporate subsidies are wrong too.

Richard wants jobs. Great, let people take advantage of the public education available and prepare to earn a job. Using tax dollars to create jobs is just a false facade that is not sustainable.

I want people to have access to health care, but I do not support taxing some people to pay for it. At least with Medicare and social security, which do need reform, people do contribute.

James Howlette 9 months, 1 week ago

The government always redistributes wealth. You just disagree on the methods and who the beneficiaries should be. Property rights are also means of wealth redistribution.

Fred Mertz 9 months, 1 week ago

How is property rights a means of wealth redistribution? Not seeing it.

James Howlette 9 months, 1 week ago

The government "redistributed" the very land we occupy from the original owners, for one thing. The government also routinely changes the rights one has to a given resource to advantage those who have more money and influence. It doesn't have to be direct corporate welfare.

Fred Mertz 9 months, 1 week ago

James you're wrong The government taking of property is the exact opposite of property rights. Property rights protect property ownership.

James Howlette 9 months, 1 week ago

Except that they don't protect everyone's rights. Just the rights of the dominant culture. That's my point. Now that you've obtained that property, you want it protected, even though it was ultimately illegitimately obtained. The government also reverses rules (The "Mickey Mouse Protection Act" and other copyright "reforms" that threw public domain items back under copyright protection even though they'd been widely used in other projects, for instance) that create winners and losers - the winners mainly being those with the money. The enforcement of laws is unevenly distributed - you're more likely to get arrested and a harsher sentence for the same crime if you're poor or black than you are if you're rich or white. You're less likely to get police aid to protect what little property you have if you're poor than if you're rich. It's redistribution. Just not generally labeled as such, since the money flows from the poor to the rich instead of the other direction.

James Howlette 9 months, 1 week ago

Let's also not forget that the government's definition of "property" at one point included people.

Fred Mertz 9 months, 1 week ago

Instead of demonizing people who want to decide how to spend the money they earn, whether it be on themselves, their families or given to charity, we should start addressing the issue of irresponsible people who bring children onto the world when they do not have the means to support them and do not spend time parenting them so they can get ahead in the world.

I have compassion for the parent who through unforeseen events finds themselves in need of assistance. I have only contempt for the mother or father who despite relying on government assistance for the first child continues to have more children.

I have contempt for the mother or father who despite having the potential to earn minimum wage brings children into the world. This is child abuse and should not be tolerated.

A mother or father who brings a child into this world without the means to provide for them should be jailed just like any other child abuser. The child should be put into foster care. Instead of sending billions of US dollars to countries like China, Afghanistan, Germany, and providing corporate welfare, we should use those dollars to improve foster care,or develop boarding schools for abused children. Yes, it will cost us money, but it will work to break the cycle of poverty and in the end we will have people who can provide for themselves and not rely on the government taking from me to give to them.

Grégoire Guillaume 9 months, 1 week ago

The facts are what they are. If we look at where we are as a country since the "Regan revolution" we see that we have morphed into a fascist state. Corporations now own the government and the regulatory instruments that are suppose to protect citizens. We talk about how the government is broke, I wonder why? One only needs to look the defense industry and the defense contractors that are sucking the dollars from the treasury and getting so very fat off the taxpayers. Look at the commodities markets which are now controlled by financial institutions and manipulated to make money for Wall Street while every one else takes it on the chin. The examples are every where but we are distracted by false narratives that we're going broke and need to take a few dollars from starving children, pathetic!

Fred Mertz 9 months, 1 week ago

We are going broke, but as I said in my post the solution isn't taking it from children. As I said, take it from foreign countries, corporations and hold parent accountable while investing in children.

Scott Burkhart 9 months, 1 week ago

Thank you, Anna, for your left wing diatribe. I recently asked a college senior if they could explain to me the difference between Obamacare and the ACA and they said that Obamacare was not going to work but the ACA has a chance. Then I asked them if they voted in the last presidential election and they said, "Yes, of course." So I guess we can both find ignorance if we look for it, right? The problem was not health insurance for everyone it was healthcare. The problem was this President and his ilk, decided to wreck the entire health insurance industry to, now, make it a bigger mess than it is. I suspect you haven't talked to Lynn Jenkins or you would know that she has had to sign up on the same exchange that everyone else.

@Richard Heckler - Socialism has never worked for any society in the history of history. You can only take away from the earners and give to the takers for so long until you run out of earners. You're just like every other over educated, pontificating zealot. You seem to think that whatever is taught in a classroom works in the real world. Sorry, but that's not how life is.

James Howlette 9 months, 1 week ago

Someone should really call Sweden and inform them that socialism isn't working for them.

Fred Mertz 9 months, 1 week ago

Someone should really call James and inform him Sweden isn't a socialist country.

Today, Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy form of government and a highly developed economy. Sweden has the world's eighth-highest per capita income. In 2013, it ranked second in the world on the Democracy Index,[11] seventh (tied with Ireland) on the 2013 United Nations' Human Development Index (third on the inequality-adjusted HDI),[12] second on the 2013 OECD Better Life Index[13] and fourth on the 2013 Legatum Prosperity Index.[14]

Sam Crow 9 months, 1 week ago

He should also learn that 20 years ago Sweden faced an economic crises that it responded to by massive tax reform reducing taxes. Most of that reduction went to the wealthy. It worked and it now has a vibrant economy. It also utilizes its natural resources for export and embraces its large corporations.

James Howlette 9 months, 1 week ago

"Swedes support the second-highest tax burden in the world - after Denmark's - with an average of 48.2 per cent of GDP going to taxes. Yet Sweden, along with equally high-taxing Denmark and Norway, tops almost every international barometer of successful societies." - 2008, the Guardian.

Beator 9 months, 1 week ago

....and they are mostly Swedes.... and Democrats want to ban Muslims.....

Ethnicity[edit] The majority of the population are Swedes. The Sweden Finns are the largest ethnic minority comprising approximately 50,000 along the Swedish-Finnish border, and 450,000 first and second generation immigrated ethnic Finns, mainly living in the Mälaren Valley region. In addition, Sweden's indigenous population groups includes the Sami people, historically a nomadic raindeer herding group that has been native to Fenno-Scandinavia for at least 5000 years.[8] Today, the Sami language holds the status of official minority language in four municipalities in the Norrbotten county.

http://www.islamophobia-watch.com/islamophobia-watch/2012/8/26/ban-islam-deport-muslims-says-sweden-democrat.html

James Howlette 9 months, 1 week ago

Ooh, socialism makes people islamaphobic? Who knew? No wonder nobody in this country suffers from that problem.

James Howlette 9 months, 1 week ago

Exactly! Sweden isn't a socialist country if you define socialism as being pretty much communism. They do, however, have socialized medicine and far more radical poverty reduction measures than we do including higher taxes on the wealthy. The ACA, meanwhile, is far to the right of the Swedish socialized medicine system, so all this blah blah blah socialism failure is, in fact, a bunch of ignorant hyperbole.

Beator 9 months, 1 week ago

I'm not Swede, so their system will never work for people like me.

James Howlette 9 months, 1 week ago

Um, ok. That's completely irrelevant, but whatever, dude.

Sam Crow 9 months, 1 week ago

Socialism is a centrally planned economy where the government controls the means of production. Sweden is neither. They dont consider themselves socialists; why should you.

James Howlette 9 months, 1 week ago

It's very convenient how you adopt this more traditional and rather narrow definition of socialism when it doesn't involve Obama doing something.

Sam Crow 9 months, 1 week ago

That is what socialism is no matter who is president.

James Howlette 9 months, 1 week ago

Better go tell that to many of the conservative posters on this forum. I know I've gotten pretty tired of telling them. Time to hear it from one of their own.

Fred Mertz 9 months, 1 week ago

James, you're just deflecting from the point that you incorrectly labeled Sweden as a socialist country.

James Howlette 9 months, 1 week ago

Nope. I named a country with socialized medicine and many publicly owned goods and services. Heck, until recently the state even owned their own vodka company. A country that often springs to mind when people talk about "European style socialism." The truth is that they, like pretty much every country including ours, China, Cuba, Greece, and Canada, are a mixed economy.

If we're now agreeing that they're "not socialists," we can then stop labeling every single thing Obama suggests - particularly health cost controls centered around market competition an enlarged insurance pools - as "socialism." It isn't. We aren't, and we're not all suddenly communists the second we raise the minimum wage.

Steve King 9 months, 1 week ago

Uh, $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities? How about a source. And leave out SS. It would be self sufficient if our politicians hadn't borrowed from it, lumped it into the general fund rather than invest it. If we hadn't spent Trillions in the middle east, what could have been. If we hadn't had the Great Recession, what could have been.

"...the government to force charity on it's citizens..." What on earth does this mean? Nobody forces charity on anybody. What a lame comment. And callous. This must be from the school that advocates cutting social services to force them lazy good for nothings to get a job. Brilliant thought. The issue is there is only one job for every three people looking. So shove out more job seekers. Maybe they should have created the jobs first?

"...over educated..." What does this mean? Somebody can be too smart? We're only allowed to be medium smart? Lame. "...not how it works in the real world..." Uh, yeah actually it follows very, very closely. Perception is reality. Perhaps these comments come from being "under educated" and not very "worldly" which provides them a such shallow vision of reality.

Forced charity...makes your skin crawl people view it that way.

Bart Johnson 9 months, 1 week ago

"Uh, $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities? How about a source."

Tons of sources you can find if you just look. Just google "Laurence Kotlikoff" and "Fiscal Gap."

"And leave out SS. It would be self sufficient if our politicians hadn't borrowed from it,"

That was the point of SS. It was an extra way to tax the people. They never thought that people would be living so long when they first enacted it.

Rick Johnson 9 months ago

The key word here is "Work" so that you can have insurance!~

It is funny how our Parents and Grandparents survived all these years!

Health insurance is not the Governments/tax payers responsibility!!

This is not what the people intended our government to be in the first place!!

Wake up people, our Government is broke!!

James Howlette 9 months ago

Our parents and grandparents had lower health costs than we do today, and "the people" originally thought our government included slave trade and didn't include women's suffrage, so forgive me if I don't buy the notion that deviating from the Founding Fathers' vision is always a bad thing. The government isn't "broke." Unless you mean "broken." I'll agree with you there. What's breaking the government is a declining middle class, not the ACA, which actually saves both the government and the people money in the long run.

Did you know under the pre-ACA system we actually spent more taxpayer money on health care than countries that have fully socialized medical care? And we have worse health outcomes? It's true.

Wake up people, indeed.

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