Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on taxes, Southwest, Keystone, Obamacare, Gitmo, wasted water

Taxation always used as weapon

A sense of unfairness over the Internal Revenue Service selectively enforcing tax laws against political conservatives is something most Americans can still understand. But very few Americans object to the use of taxation as a weapon to target actions or groups they consider undesirable.

The poor want to tax the rich. The rich want to tax the poor. The elderly want to tax the young. And everyone wants to tax the unborn (by kicking the deficit can down the road). The Federal Reserve taxes the purchasing power of savers. Powerful special interests tax the public by externalizing the private operating costs needed to preserve a clean and sustainable environment.

In arguing the case of McCulloch v. Maryland before the U.S. Supreme Court, Daniel Webster said: “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy.” In his decision, Chief Justice John Marshall agreed that “the power to tax involves the power to destroy.”

The American people, their government and their always prescient IRS have only begun to experiment with taxation as a political cure-all, when in fact it has always been and will always be nothing less than a socioeconomic weapon of mass destruction.

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Southwest hype

I do not share the exuberance of many about the arrival of Southwest Airlines into the Wichita market.

I was able to find fares to Southern California and Phoenix for about $200 last year, and now the fares are near $400, “matching” the Southwest price. I don’t blame the legacy carriers. If you can charge more and the industry leader is setting the higher rate, why not match it? I am one who remains highly skeptical that Southwest will bring long-touted low fares to Wichita, and whether it will even stay in the local market.

When flying Southwest, be careful how you spend your money. If you choose the options for EarlyBird Check-In or Business Select, just remember that many Southwest flights are hop flights. That means even though you have paid to board early, people “passing through” actually get their choice of seats first, so you may still pay for a business-class ticket and be sitting in the back of the plane. And, even better, when Southwest has flight issues and puts you on a different flight, rarely do your purchased boarding privileges follow you. This warning comes from personal experience on many trips using Southwest.

I do hope that competition somehow will help fares someday. But I’m one who will need to see proof of that before I buy into the hype.



Pipeline truth

The statements offered by TransCanada’s communications specialist regarding questions of Keystone pipeline safety may serve corporate interests, but they are a disservice to truth and the larger public interest (“Pipeline safe,” May 28 Letters to the Editor).

For instance, saying pipelines are the safest mode of transportation for petroleum products may be true as far as it goes, but there is no foundation for asserting that pipelines are without hazard. That numerous leaks already have occurred is even acknowledged, although their significance is minimized. Such statements are especially disingenuous regarding tar sands, which are far different from more fluid crude oil. When leaks do happen, they are far from harmless. Look no further than the recent tar sand spills in Arkansas.

Nor is it reassuring that the pipeline “is buried deeper in the ground.” This is no guarantee of protection for Kansas’ groundwater, the lifeline for our people, our municipalities and our agricultural interests.

And the often-heard figure that 9,000 jobs will be created with the pipeline is seriously contradicted by information from the U.S. State Department: 3,500 temporary jobs and 35 permanent jobs. On balance, we must conclude that the pipeline does not serve the interests of Kansas, now or ever.



Fight Obamacare

The writer of “Support Obamacare” (May 15 Letters to the Editor) has confused facts on that bad legislation. Remember – the goal is to provide insurance and not medical care. People need to stand with U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, in his fight with Obamacare.

Look at the history. Obamacare was rammed through by the Democrats without proper analysis to the extent that then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said they had to pass it to find out what was in it. No wonder the people fired Democrats in the next election.

Look at the purpose. From day one it was insurance and control, not medical care. The U.S. Supreme Court said it was a tax bill. The organization enforcing it is the Internal Revenue Service. Its main effort is not to produce better medical facilities, increase the number of doctors or increase medical research. There are more things I could list to show a lack of medical care.

Look at the results. Medical costs have increased because of it. People are being forced to support procedures that are morally objectionable. Doctors are leaving the profession because of it. Just ask doctors what they think. Businesses are having to limit their growth and adjust their business practices.

You have to believe the dream of Obamacare and ignore the realities to support it.



Gitmo injustice

More than a decade ago, the first of more than 800 detainees ranging in age from boys of 12 to 80-year-olds arrived at the U.S. military facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be interrogated and detained. It was known at the time that many were totally innocent – victims swept up in the chaos and violence of their war-torn country, Afghanistan.

Detained without benefit of charges, trial and any means of defending themselves against their imprisonment, 103 of the 166 remaining in indefinite detention have found a way of being heard and seen: hunger striking. The public now is a bit more aware of the injustice and the inhumane treatment, including force-feeding by inserting a tube into the nose. And the administration is fearful of the embarrassment of death by starvation.

President Obama recently fed us once again with strong words that we need to shut down Gitmo. Will he use his legal authority to release prisoners immediately, or will he finesse things by asking Congress for yet more reviews?

For the benefit of being known as tough on terrorism and pre-emptively concerned about the next election, there is bipartisan agreement for the status quo. But the only people it benefits are those recruiting for retaliatory terrorism.



Wasted water

Regarding “Conserve water supply” (May 26 Eagle Editorial): It takes 20 gallons of water to wash dishes by hand? That isn’t the way we did it during the drought of the 1930s. That sounds like people are rinsing dishes under a stream of running water.

For me, hand-washing dishes involves a dishpan with a gallon or two of hot, soapy water, with a dishcloth or brush and either a drain board or another dishpan to hold the washed dishes. Then you rinse them with scalding water from a teakettle.

When I was young, the house our family rented had a well in the horse pasture. We carried water about the length of a city block. Dad would carry two buckets at a time on wash day. I didn’t like carrying water because the bail of the bucket always hurt my hand. When you do that, you don’t waste your efforts thoughtlessly.

In the 1950s, many parents said, “I don’t want my kinds to go through what I went through.” Thus, they didn’t teach their children the art of carefully shepherding resources in short supply.



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