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 · The tax hike that...
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The tax hike that isn‘t

Stephen Tuttle - September 20th, 2010
The tax hike that isn’t
It seems we’re going to be whacked with a staggering $3.8 trillion tax
hike. At least that’s what the leaders of the Republican party keep
telling us. And what possible reason could they have for wanting to
deceive us less than seven weeks before the national mid-term
While the accusation makes for excellent headlines and campaign
fodder, it is provably untrue.
This all started back during the Bush Administration when a series of
income tax cuts were passed into law. They were not permanent cuts,
just temporary attempts at some stimulus for a moribund economy. They
expire in December.
The idea was the extra money in the pockets of Americans would
increase spending and investing, giving the economy a nice kick in the
pants. The very rich were expected to buy big-ticket items like new
homes, cars and, one supposes, yachts and planes. That’s why rich
folks received the biggest tax breaks. The consumer economy would
start humming right along and all would be right with the world.
At least this is the way “supply side” economics is supposed to work –
rich folks spend and the benefits of that spending trickle down on us
little people. The same impact is supposed to result from tax cuts
and tax breaks for large corporations; they will use the new money to
invest in new enterprises, expand their current operations, purchase
new equipment and hire new employees or, at the very least, re-hire
those who have been laid off.
Unfortunately, there’s never been anything that proved supply side
economics to be much more than the cocktail napkin fantasy of creator
Arthur Laffer and his acolytes in the Reagan and Bush administrations.
What actually happened after the Bush tax cuts was almost nothing; an
orgy of non-spending by everyone, including wealthy individuals and
big corporations. People of all income levels pulled spending back by
necessity and choice.
It’s regrettable the very wealthy did not go on spending sprees
because they were certainly capable of doing so. The top 1% – the
financial elite – saw their incomes increase a whopping 150% during
this recession and they now control a staggering 23% of the country’s
wealth. They got richer but did not spend a lot more.
(It’s no different at the corporate level where corporate income tax
cuts produced none of the anticipated benefits. Most companies have
not expanded or made new capital investments or hired much of anyone.
In fact, America’s biggest corporations are now awash in cash, as much
as $2 trillion in cash reserves according to some experts. They are
awaiting the right moment to invest, expand and hire. At least that’s
what we’re told.)
Which brings us to the Obama non-tax-hike. Having already reduced
federal income taxes for most of us, Obama wants to maintain the Bush
tax cuts for everyone but those near or at the top of the economic
food chain. So, if your income is less than $200,000 a year ($250,000
per household), your taxes will stay the same. For those top income
earners, the Bush tax cut will be allowed to expire, as it was
intended to do in the first place.
Our friends in the GOP have decided to tell us the tax cuts for all
income levels will be allowed to expire. That’s where they come up
with the $3.8 trillion. The problem is no one – not President Obama,
not the Democrat leadership, not anyone in the Obama Administration,
no one – has ever suggested eliminating the tax breaks for middle and
low income earners.
Taxing the super-rich, most of whom will find a way around the
increases, is a favorite campaign strategy of Democrats because it
doesn’t impact the overwhelming majority of us. Making the claim
we’re all going to be taxed is a favorite campaign strategy of the
Republicans because it makes voters angry. The hyperbolic nonsense on
both sides has added nothing but confusion to the debate.
You can argue, as many are, that allowing any of these tax cuts for
any level of income to expire is a mistake that will further slow
economic recovery. Others claim the increase in tax revenues would
help reduce the ridiculous annual deficits and that would help the
economy. Both arguments come with the requisite number of competing
experts. So far, there is little evidence the tax cuts did much to
stimulate the economy and ample evidence they added to the deficits.
If a different approach would have worked better is a legitimate and
important debate.
What cannot legitimately be debated is that Obama or the Democrats
have suggested the Bush tax cuts should be allowed to expire on any
household making less than $250,000 a year. It simply isn’t true.
For about 95% of us there will be no change at all under the Obama
proposal. (If you’re a small business owner, additional tax breaks
are headed your way under another Obama proposal he “borrowed” from
the Republicans.)
We all expect exaggeration and some foolishness during the election
season. Who among us doesn’t enjoy those delightful campaign
commercials? However, the accusation that President Obama wants to
raise everybody’s taxes is a canard that fouls the legitimate debate
on taxes and confirms the cynicism too many voters already have about
politics and politicians.

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