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Misrepresentation

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This morning, a letter to the editor suggested that there might be other options to improving the downtown library such as creating satellite facilities. Some people thought that might just be a good idea. Someone identified such a solution as a potential for the “haves” to further exploit the “have nots”. The definition seems to be geographic – west of the campus is the domain of the “haves” with the rest of the city inhabited by “have nots”.

I started to think about that and wondered if it is just that simple. I concluded it is not. We all, at least most of us, know that there is a significant amount of income transfers in our taxes at all levels. Rent subsidy, child care, child support, medical care, ownership incentives, job training and so on are there to help the “have nots”. Is it enough? I honestly do not know but I do know we are trying.

So could there be another issue in Lawrence that drives this debate? Could part of our business community be using this issue to further their own interests? Certainly, they will not come out and say they want more for themselves. However, if you wrap their interests in the “have-have not” issue does that not benefit them? Just exactly who benefits from our tax money to “downtown” – the “have nots”? Maybe the obvious is correct, certain business interests do.

I just might point out that those very interests have actually contributed to the “have not” problem. Lawrence is below the Kansas average in pay to employees (and Kansas is no shining star). So we exploit the students (and everyone else) by paying them low wages and conceal our ploy by constantly raising the “have- have not” issue as a distraction.

If I am right, and I just may be, how could we all fall for this? Must we constantly use tax money to subsidize business interests in the name of the “have nots”? Why have we allowed this artificial east-west issue to be used to divide us?

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