Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Reduce my taxes, cut your...
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Reduce my taxes, cut your benefits

Stephen Tuttle - February 22nd, 2010
Reduce my taxes, cut your benefits
The so-called Tea Party tax protestors are suddenly all the rage. They had
a little rally in Washington, D.C. back on September 12. Police estimated
the crowd at about 70,000 while rally organizers said more than a million
showed up.
Well, good for them. In fact, I say lets not just lower taxes, let’s do
away with them altogether. No federal or state income taxes, no sales
taxes, no property taxes. As renowned tax hater Grover Norquist once said,
let’s shrink government to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.
There should be a small catch accompanying this policy shift. If you pay
no taxes you don’t get to avail yourself of any services or regulations
that result from the taxes the rest of us do pay.
We’ll start at home. You’ll have to figure out some way to get clean
drinking water and a way to dispose of your personal waste without
availing yourself of any services using tax dollars. You’ll probably have
to relocate, anyway – zoning is a government function paid for by taxes.
You won’t be able to live in any areas that are government zoned.
Then there’s that pesky car. You won’t be able to gas up at a typical
filling station because the gasoline your vehicle burns is regulated by
the government. Not that it particularly matters since you won’t be able
to register your vehicle, obtain a driver’s
license, or drive on any federal, state, county or city roads because they
are all paid for by taxes.
Food might be an issue, too. Despite the occasional highly publicized food
recall, billions of food items are safely consumed every day. Food safety
is a government function and there are those darned taxes, again. In
fact, plenty of food production is either regulated or subsidized by the
government and the accompanying taxes. So you can hunt and forage for your
sustenance. Just don’t do it on state or federal land. No doubt you can
find some nice tree bark and worms on your own property if you can figure
out how to own land without a deed. That’s a government function paid for
by taxes.
Employment might be troublesome. Nearly all businesses must meet some
kind of regulation so you’ll need to find a way around that. Maybe you
can work from your wilderness home. Just don’t use a telephone or
computer and no television for you rugged individualists; communications
are either regulated or licensed by the government and the taxes that
support it.
You’ll need some good luck, too. If your house catches fire or someone
tries to break in or if you or a family member has a health emergency or
accident, don’t call 9-1-1. Police and fire services are government
operations and we taxpayers would like to keep them for ourselves.
Doctors and hospitals are also licensed by the government and your taxes.
Just rub some dirt on that broken limb. You’ll be fine.
Trillions of tax dollars are collected and spent every year by various
levels of government. With that much money and that many programs there
is surely fraud, waste and duplication. It should all be rooted out and
eliminated. One can also argue there is too much government, too many
programs and too many regulations. There does seem to be some level of
government involved in virtually every aspect of our lives. Eliminating
the waste and excess could give us some welcome tax relief.
So, what should we cut? Which programs should be eliminated? Which
regulations are intrusive and unnecessary?
At the federal level the bulk of spending is for Medicare, Social Security
and national defense. At the state level it is public education, public
safety and either health care or transportation. We’ve already seen most
state and local governments hack away at their budgets as revenues crashed
during the current recession. Does that seem to be working out? Are we
better off with fewer teachers and more students in classrooms? Do we
need fewer police officers and fire fighters and ever increasing response
times for emergencies? How about less maintenance on our roads and less
plowing in the winter? Do we want fewer programs for both our children
and our parents?
That’s really the problem, isn’t it? It’s easy to yammer on about too
many taxes and too much regulation, unless the resulting cuts have a
direct impact on us. And there’s a good bet those taxes provide jobs or
lifelines for someone right down the street.
Every one of us benefits directly from the taxes we all pay and none of us
seems yet ready to forego the programs we need or want. We just want to
cut what benefits somebody else.

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