Thomas wrong on debt strategy
Cal Thomas devoted his Sept. 9 column (“Running up dangerous debt“) to the evil of letting the national debt grow to the point it is reaching this year and to what we should do about it. He pointed out the daunting fact that for the first time since right after World War II the debt is as big as the GNP.
But then he ruled out increasing taxes, suggesting that increasing taxes will only decrease government income. His evidence? John Kennedy lowered taxes in the early 1960s, and the result was an economic stimulus that increased federal income.
He neglected to mention that the top rate for married couples filing jointly before the Kennedy cuts was 91%, and Kennedy presided over a cut to 77%. A half-century later, the top rate is only 39.6%
Faced with the expenses attending the calamity of the coronavirus pandemic, Thomas says we should lower the national debt not by taxing the wealthy but by cutting expenditures.
But why would one expect that changes in the top marginal rate will have the same effect now as when the rate was 91%? Also, why assume as he seems to that all cuts are good for the nation? That is ludicrous!
In a perverse and terribly wrong claim about what expenses we can avoid, Thomas picks out fighting climate change, or as he says, “so-called climate change.” He obviously knows nothing about physics and climate science! Maybe he should visit California this week. Or maybe he could step out of character long enough to listen to a scientist with actual expertise in climate science!
We may need both higher taxes and some budget trimming. What we don’t need is doctrinaire stupidity!
Daniel Howell, Lincoln
Praise to board for cutting taxes
The Lincoln Independent Business Association wants to congratulate the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District Board of Directors for lowering taxes due to valuation increases.
The LPSNRD Board of Directors voted to finalize their budget, which lowers their property tax rate to account for a 3% increase in property valuations across a six-county area.
In coordination with our members and elected officials, over the past three months, LIBA has undertaken an in-depth study into the budgets of local governmental agencies and found while valuations continue to rise, levy rates are staying constant, raising the amount taxpayers are paying to the local entities.
LIBA celebrates government transparency, especially at the local and state level. Local governing institutions and their budgets should be 100% transparent to the people they tax. We have testified before the Lincoln City Council and the Lancaster County commissioners about rising concerns of public safety and budget transparency.
Countless times, local governing bodies have promised their constituents that they will lower taxes, address infrastructure issues or that they are not raising property taxes, when property valuations are definitely increasing every year and tax bills increase even though the levy does not increase.
The LPSNRD Board of Directors’ decision to lower property taxes across six counties is a shining example of what LIBA advocates for every day. They have demonstrated a level of transparency, leading by example, lowering the property tax rate in their budget to accommodate the rising property valuations.
Times are very difficult for constituents all over Lancaster County and businesses and families need a break. It is refreshing that a governing body is finally acknowledging this issue. The Lincoln Independent Business Association applauds the LPSNRD decision for the constituents they represent.
Bud Synhorst, Lincoln
President and CEO. LIBA
GOP showing its desperation
Harping on one’s opponents for not sufficiently condemning the sexual exploitation of children when one’s own party supported an accused predator of young girls for the Senate and has meekly acquiesced to its president’s offer of well wishes to another might be the most breathlessly cynical political move of 2020, but with about six weeks to go and GOP desperation and stupidity growing, we’d best keep nominations open.
Dan Moser, Lincoln
Sasse idea takes power from people
Sen. Ben Sasse has called for repeal of the 17th Amendment. This is the amendment to the United States Constitution that allows us to vote for our U.S. senators directly instead of them being appointed by state legislatures.
Imagine what this means. Only political cronies well known by the members of the state legislature would ever be appointed. This would be a return to the backroom deals, political wrangling and corruption that the 17th Amendment did away with when it came to selecting our senators, the most powerful elected officials each state sends to Washington.
The U.S. Senate would no longer be directly answerable to the people of the states they are supposed to represent. Instead, they would be answerable to the powerful lobbies that have access to those backroom deal makers. That is not you or me.
I have to wonder if Senator Sasse has proposed this terribly regressive idea right now because he feels he has no possibility of being defeated in his re-election bid and therefore will not suffer any consequences.
Such a repellent candidate for U.S. Senate has won the Democratic primary that the state party has disavowed him and is supporting Preston Love as a write-in. I now feel that Senator Sasse is every bit as repellent as the person who won the Democratic primary.
Since Ben Sasse wants to take away your right to vote for him, give him what he wants and refuse to vote for him on Nov. 3.
Alan Meyer, Cedar Bluffs
It’s time to make sacrifices
I recently read in the Journal Star (“64-year-old sues governor, Lincoln and Omaha mayors and schools over coronavirus ‘nonsense‘”, Aug. 21) that a fellow citizen asked a judge for an emergency injunction to stop “all nonsense being perpetrated by … governments and organizations in the state of Nebraska,” related to the pandemic.
Richard M. Hill believes wearing a mask prevents him from his pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.
He is pretty upset about having to wear a mask.
Because of the coronavirus, Americans have been asked to wash our hands and maintain a distance of six feet from others. During World War II, Americans were asked to make do with less of everything from gasoline to sugar to toothpaste. It was a very tough time where everyone sacrificed, and complainers were thought little of.
Most of us have stories about how our families made sacrifices to survive the Great Depression, World War II and other tragedies. All generations face their challenge where they have to rise to the inconvenient struggle and work together for the good of all.
Well, this pandemic is our challenge. It requires a little bit of looking out for the other guy. It’s small gesture of care for others to simply wear a mask. It’s such a little thing to do. It shows respect for the health of others, especially front-line workers. A simple act of kindness that surely pales in comparison to the sacrifices of say the Dust Bowl era.
I say to Citizen Hill and his ilk, put on your mask and shut up about your non-existent rights.
Jim Elsener, Lincoln
Like NU football, Ricketts lost way
Nebraskans are uniquely proud of their agricultural prowess, their “‘Skers,” and, yes, their Nebraska Legislature, making us the nation’s only state with a non-partisan unicameral body.
But, not unlike the downward spiral of our beloved “‘Skers,” steeped in selfishness and egoism by athletic directors who sought to remake the football program under their own ideals, our unicameral, nonpartisan legislature is, too, now under assault by Gov. Pete Ricketts’ selfishness and egoism influenced abuse of power.
To paraphrase Sen. Steve Lathrop, he had previously served with people who respected the institution of the unicameral Legislature.
Lathrop continued: “But that’s not what we’re doing anymore. Nobody’s exercising judgement in this place anymore. We don’t care. We’re waiting for someone to give an order, for God’s sake, and they’re partisan” (“Kearney man forms Nonpartisan Nebraska group,” Sept. 17).
Ricketts’ selfishness and egotism is displayed by the legislative races he has attempted to buy, making legislative appointees of his own ilk, directing Republicans to vote, refusal to apply for SNAP benefits and the delay in implementing Nebraska’s Medicaid expansion.
Governor Pete Ricketts, for your information, Sen. George W. Norris envisioned a working and efficient nonpartisan unicameral that served all Nebraskans equally, not just one’s self!
Alvin Guenther, Dunbar
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!