The September 6 issue of Northern Express contained an article by
Congressman Bart Stupak called Social Security: dont mess with
I dont know Bart Stupak personally. He may be a wonderful fellow. But
as I read his article I became more and more appalled at his ignorance
in regard to the Social Security system, which so many people in
Michigan rely upon for financial assistance.
In his article, Bart Stupak stated that Social Security has been
providing (people)... a guaranteed source of income, and that it was
life-long wage insurance, and that contributions (to it) come
back. He also said that Social Security is a uniquely American
However, the perception that there is a Social Security fund is, for
purposes, a myth. The federal court in
Helvering v. Davis made it very clear that The proceeds from (Social
Security taxes) are ... paid into the treasury like other internal
revenue generally, and are not earmarked in any way.
The court has pointed out that payroll deductions are NOT payments on
premiums for insurance of any kind, but are simply additional income
taxes. In Flemming v.
Davis, the federal court said that eligibility for benefits ...
(does) not in any true sense depend on contribution through payment of
And in Flemming v. Nestor, the court said that Congress ...has
...retained a claim expressly reserving to it the right to alter,
amend, or repeal any provision of the (Social Security) act.
Accordingly, there is nothing that is guaranteed or life-long about
Social Security payments.
The Internal Revenue Code (Chapter 21, Section 3101) makes it clear
that payroll deductions for so-called Social Security are simply
additional income taxes. The taxes collected are more than spent each
year. In a very technical sense, one might say that there is a trust
fund, but that is only an illusion created by deceptive accounting.
The trust fund holds only paper IOUs (bonds). And those IOUs are no
more than a claim against every U.S. citizen for taxes not yet
collected. The IOUs are nothing more than the U.S. government owing
the money to itself!
In closing, if anyone believes that the Social Security system is, as
Bart Stupak stated, uniquely American, please log onto the Crowns
website in England and look up statutory Instrument No. 1778, The
Social Security (United States of America) Order 1997. Go to
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si199717.htm and look for order 1778 to see
who has the power to approve and amend our social security system.
Do your own research. See for yourself. You, too, Bart.
Joseph Allan via email
Vote on TCL&P
In both our public and private lives we have to trust others. When
that trust is betrayed, our only choice is to make different decisions
to meet our goals. Most of us trusted Traverse City Light and Power
(TCL&P) to include us in honest and responsible discussions of
power-generation issues, and decisions on future power generation
We all know this didnt happen (in the recent controversy over TCL&P‘s
biomass proposal); at best we were ignored, at worstwe were
manipulated and lied to.
The trust was broken and the only choice left was to change the rules
that allowed the TCL&P Board to do whatever they wanted, accountable
to nobody. Since they werent elected, there was no way to throw the
bums out, but two changes to the City Charter will force them to act
openly in our best interests.
To rewrite the rules we had to collect enough signatures to put two
proposals on Novembers ballot. The first would make sure that the
director and the board would carry out public business under public
scrutiny and follow the same rules that govern other public bodies.
The second would allow voters to make decisions on new power plants.
While the petition drive was amazingly successful, the job is only
half done until the vote is passed. We cant rest on our laurels, lose
momentum, and lose the single best chance we may ever have of making
TCL&P answerable to the public that owns it.
The people won on the facts; our greatest challenge now is to fight
complacency. That means everybody must vote on November 2!
Remember how helpless we felt when TCL&P refused to listen to our
concerns? A YES vote on both proposals will restore our rights, and
while it might take a while before we trust again, well be able to
Margaret Dodd TC
On September 14, the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce Board of
Directors approved the Chambers opposition to Traverse City Proposal
1 that will appear on the November 2 general election ballot in the
City of Traverse City.
Proposal 1 calls for an amendment to the Charter of the City of
Traverse City to give the city commission exclusive power and duty to
operate Traverse City Light & Power while limiting the TCL&P Board to
an advisory capacity to the city commission.
The Chambers opposition to Proposal 1 is due to the following reasons...
1. The residents and businesses in Traverse City benefit from low
rates and reliable service provided by TCL&P. This contributes to
Traverse Citys financial stability by ensuring the lowest possible
rates and (the highest) quality service.
2. Proposal 1 would cause uncertainty in customers rates, fees,
services and taxes. This hinders the ability of small businesses in
Traverse City to plan for growth and hiring of more employees because
the long-term energy decisions would be limited to the staggered
two-year election cycle of the city commissioners.
3. Future business growth and job creation in Traverse City depend on
consistent energy costs. The economic and regulatory climate in
Michigan is already a double barrier for employers considering
Traverse City. Uncertainty in power costs would be another stop sign
to these prospective employers.
4. Proposal 1 would cause reduced efficiency and longer decision time.
Currently, the TCL&P Board, which is appointed by the city commission,
has the ability and specialized knowledge to make decisions on
projects and opportunities. Increases in time will cause increases in
costs, which will be passed on to the customer.
5. Proposal 1 would politicize energy planning, placing unnecessary
government control over a proven, responsible process. The city
commission already appoints the TCL&P Board. Proposal 1 would create
an unneeded double layer of oversight.
Doug Luciani, President & CEO
TC Area Chamber of Commerce
Just a note to correct an error in Robert Downes‘ excellent article
about the American perception of Muslims. He sites Chaldeans as being
among Muslims he has known and liked. The Chaldeans are in fact devout
Bob Underhill via email
(Whoops! Thanks for the correction Bob. -- R.D.)