Printed letters, October 10, 2012

In a recent article concerning the race for District 55, Rep. Ray Scott missed the point concerning public education, charter schools and teacher unions.

The main difference between charter or private schools and public education is the population they serve. Parents who have the time to volunteer and resources to transport their children to the school of their choice also have time to spend with their kids engaged in enriching activities.

As more of these children leave public education, they also take the high-performing end of the bell curve with them. That leaves the rest of the bell curve in public education. And, no matter how great a teacher you are, sometimes it is difficult to get through the layers of contextual issues and family problems that characterize public education.

Private and charter schools and their teachers aren’t any better than public schools or teachers. Their main difference is the population they serve.

Vouchers would only compound the problem. And, no matter how hard they try, politicians will never flatten the bell curve. Support all our teachers and the politicians that support them.

GARY CONKLIN

Grand Junction

Waiving fuel standard 
would hurt rural areas

Among the topics not addressed at the first presidential debate was the need to defend America’s Renewable Fuel Standard and the economic, clean energy and national security benefits it provides. It’s time for our elected leaders to recognize the central role that renewable fuels play in increasing America’s energy independence.

Colorado is on the cutting edge of the renewable fuel economy. We are creating jobs on farms, in research centers and production facilities. We are reducing dependence on foreign oil and moving toward the most advanced transportation fuel technologies in America.

That’s why Rocky Mountain Farmers Union has joined a large coalition of renewable-fuel stakeholders throughout the nation who are working to protect the nation’s renewable fuel standard, known as the RFS. The coalition’s launch comes as the Environmental Protection Agency considers a request to waive the RFS, a move that would have serious negative consequences for Colorado’s rural communities and clean-tech innovators and for our energy independence.

We are strongly behind maintaining the RFS because of the benefits it has brought to Colorado and the promise it holds for our future. Visit http://www.FuelsAmerica.org for more information and help us send a clear message to Congress. Keep the progress going. Keep the RFS in place.

KENT PEPPLER, President

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union

Platteville

Rich pay their fair share 
of income tax revenues

The Daily Sentinel’s editorial on Mitt Romney’s comment about 47 percent of Americans paying no federal income tax betrays either the editor’s ignorance of the U.S. tax code or a bias toward Obama.

First, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has shown that low- to middle-income Americans pay unusually low taxes. It also showed that the United States has the most progressive tax system in the world. Besides, what’s so great about a progressive tax?  Karl Marx was one of the first to push such a stupid idea.

Also, the 47 percent aside, those in the top 1 percent pay nearly 40 percent of the federal income tax revenues collected by the federal treasury. When all their taxes are added together, they pay between 40 and 60 percent of their income to government, depending on where they live, tax deductions, etc.

Then there’s Obama’s lie about millionaires and billionaires paying a lower percentage in federal income tax (effective rate) than the middle class pays. In reality, according to the IRS, they pay more than twice what the middle class pays: 24.4 percent versus 8.9 percent. There are exceptions, but not many.

Finally, liberals are fond of claiming that low- to middle-income earners pay the payroll tax. Well, so do the rich.

The fact is the rich pay more than their fair share. But that’s not good enough for Obama and his merry band of liberals. It’ll never be enough.

Taxes don’t need to go up, government spending needs to come down.

It’s fun to watch liberals. As Ronald Reagan once said, “It’s not that liberals are ignorant, it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” They could also learn from Maggie Thatcher, who said, “The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.”

RUSSELL KEITH

Grand Junction

 

How to keep good jobs 
in Grand Valley community

If you follow the money, it is not a fact that government originates job creation, as asserted by Jim Spehar in his recent column.

The funds that create jobs originate with the millions of transactions done in our valley through the entrepreneurial risk-taking of hundreds of businesses, large and small. It is the taxes these businesses and their employees pay that underwrite nonprofits and fund government staffing.

The Daily Sentinel’s front-page listing of local employers on Sept. 22 is revealing in other ways:

After the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare, the Sentinel’s editorial page on July 1 contained columns on the decision’s effect on two firms that were on Sunday’s list and mentioned in Spehar’s column: The Daily Sentinel itself and Rocky Mountain Health Plans. Since I delivered the paper as a youth, I hope The Daily Sentinel survives, certainly a challenge with competition from the Internet and other free media. Sentinel Publisher Jay Seaton indicates using the Obamacare health exchanges could be a cost-saving measure for his firm and to remain competitive.

On the other hand, Obamacare puts RMHP’s survival as a going concern and large local employer at risk. Financial journals predict Obamacare will make health insurers “utilities” due to its control of administration costs and ever-changing free benefits. Like utilities in other categories, larger insurers will likely swallow up RMHP.

We might be lucky if a call center remains. (It should be noted here that innovative health-oriented insurance programs, such as those used at Whole Food Markets that emphasize good health behaviors would also go by the wayside with one-size-fits-all Obamacare.)

Clearly, the origin of nonprofit/government funding is traced back to the private sector. It does not create jobs without these funds. In fact, most charities are founded through the wealth gained through private business success. The effectiveness of nonprofits shouldn’t be measured by job creation. The most effective charity, the Salvation Army, has the least-paid staff but is known for saving lives through its charity and rehab programs.

Instead of creating confusion on this issue, Spehar should explain to Sentinel readers what it is going to take to keep good high-paying (private) jobs here.

ROLAND REYNOLDS

Grand Junction

 

Spend extra city money 
on vital local services

I am concerned when a request for our city money and the need by deadline date comes up quickly in the city council. That appears so with the college request for $7 million of our (it is our money) along with $3 million from the county to build more infrastructure for the college that allegedly over a long period of time will come back to the city treasury by more sales tax (2.75 percent) and income spending from students.

Colorado Mesa University’s people are experts at getting and mooching free money. I can’t fault them for trying, but at this time in our economy, if the city (our money) can support gifting CMU $7 million, how do we justify not paying down our various city debts or just hanging on a while in the event of an economic emergency in these times in our area?

If the money is burning a hole in the council’s pocket, why not use it   for a much lower-price regional fire and emergency responder training center and so much more to maintain our needed city survival infrastructure?

JIM SHULTS

Grand Junction



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Contrary to Russel Keith’s letter – “Rich pay their fair share of income tax revenues” (October 10, 2012) – the “rich” do not pay an adequate share of U.S. tax revenues.

First, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development based its analysis of comparative tax structures on the nominal tax rates published by each country’s taxing authority, not on the effective rates actually paid.  As evidenced by Mitt Romney’s 2011 federal income tax return, there can be a far cry between the nominal rate (about 25%) and the actual rate (about 14%), and the latter is also subject to elaborate manipulation (Romney could have paid only about 9%) using tax shelters, self-loans, etc.

Second, even if it is true that the “U.S. has the most progressive tax system in the world”, there is nothing “stupid” about the “idea” – which was championed by Republican icon (and closet “Marxist”) Teddy Roosevelt beginning in 1910.

Rather, the progressive income tax is eminently practical, because “that’s where the money is”.  Moreover, if it were really true that the rich “pay between 40 and 60 percent of their income to government”, our budgetary/debt problems would be insignificant.  In fact, the top marginal tax rates – both actual and effective – are at their lowest since 1930.

Thus, as a matter of “fairness”, because the wealthy benefit disproportionately from the “ordered society” (“rule of law”, etc.) paid for with tax dollars, so too should they pay disproportionately more for that privilege.  How much more is a matter of politics.

Keith also forgets that the U.S. expends more on national defense than the rest of the world combined.  As evidenced by Mitt Romney’s plan to increase defense spending by another $2 trillion over the next ten years, both the already wealthy—and would-be-wealthy defense contractors—will benefit disproportionately from such profligacy. 

                Bill Hugenberg

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