Congress, stop playing the high-drama game of crisis management of the budget. Over and over you play the charade of waiting until the very last minute to pass a budget, which is loaded with earmark pork.
Then you claim no responsibility for voting for the earmarks.
You say you were forced to vote for a bad budget because you were out of time and facing a budget crisis.
Give us a break.
The top 10 percent of taxpayers pay about 70 percent of all income taxes (up from about 66 percent before the George W. Bush tax cuts), according to the Congressional Budget Office. Also according to the CBO, 70 percent of taxpayers absorb more in taxes than they pay.
How can anyone reasonably say that taxing those who are already pulling the wagon even more is the proper way of getting the budget in line? Or the fair way?
The most sensible way to reduce the deficit is to reduce spending on entitlements, which is by far the biggest part of the budget. Too many people have their hands out for someone else’s money, and unless things change we will become a welfare state.
I would rather stay a superpower state and avoid what happened to England, which is a classic example of a superpower turned welfare state.
Say no to violence
Recently, many in the media have talked about the need for gun control. I’ll not enter my opinion here because there is a larger issue to address.
I believe that larger issue in Sandy Hook and other similar recent tragedies is the gratuitous violence we see on TV, movies and video games, to say nothing about websites. We have become numb to that violence. Yes, I’ll even use the “C” word — censorship.
We have lost the ability to say “no” to some things, and consequently unimaginable things now become possible.
Cigarette tax necessary
Both sides of the aisle claim to be pro-children and pro-education.
These phrases are meaningless unless the laws voted upon by the legislature and constituents actually support our children.
Missouri failed our children miserably by not passing Proposition B, the cigarette tax increase. Every voter should have asked himself/herself one question before voting: Is Proposition B good for the children? The answer is undeniably yes.
Higher cost of cigarettes equals fewer children smoking. Proposition B would have prevented 40,100 Missouri children from becoming addicted adult smokers.
In addition to health benefits, if Proposition B had passed, millions of dollars would’ve gone to Missouri schools for a guaranteed two years.
The arguments for voting against Proposition B were flawed.
Missouri schools would have gladly taken those millions, even if only for a few years. And, if a great majority had passed Proposition B, the legislators would’ve been pressured to continue funding education with Proposition B money.
Also, that huge tax increase that absolutely blew people’s minds would be paid only by people who actually smoke. If smokers cut three cigarettes a day, their smoking costs would not have increased.
In summary, Proposition B and our children lost.
Healthier New York
Spending America’s money seems to be a way of life here in the United States. The government tends to use as much money as possible and tax people whenever it gets the chance.
So why not start using this unsaved money and taxes on something that continually affects America — the U.S. diet? The number of overweight people rises every day, and obesity not only affects individuals, it affects everyone around them.
Studies show that the more obesity goes up, the more medical trips people take. This then causes insurance rates to rise. Providing for the booming amount of obese people costs businesses money as well as working people.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is forcing restaurants to put nutrition facts on menus and banning oversized drinks. But people in Missouri and the rest of America have become accustomed to believing that a huge, sugar-filled drink is the norm.
We are killing our bodies and our pocketbooks, too.
If New York can change its nutritional ways and make a difference in many lives, why can’t we, too?
U.S. president’s skills
America was built on the basis of equality, right? Then, the seat of president of the United States should also be protected by anti-discrimination laws. Every U.S. citizen has the right to apply for and accept a job based on his/her skill and ability to fit the job description with no fear of being discriminated against for any reason.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, and its many amendments have made sure of that. The president of the United States should also be able to walk into office without fear of being discriminated against for any reason.
In the recent election, we saw President Barack Obama being called out mostly for his race and religious beliefs. The president’s race should have nothing to do with his ability to properly run the U.S.
Yet, we have seen many people, including Donald Trump, constantly attack the president’s birth legitimacy.
When will enough be enough?
No one, be it woman, Mormon, disabled person or openly gay person should have to worry about whether he or she will be attacked based on these things that do not define skill. Especially someone who is president of the United States.
Many people believe that the war in Afghanistan has been a waste of time. But it’s something that needs to be dealt with and finished.
Hundreds of troops have died and many more have been wounded.
The U.S. needs to step up and either figure out how to win or how to fix it without any more casualties. If the U.S. stays in the war, we could lose more Americans and possibly end up in another Great Depression.
But if the U.S. leaves the war now, we could lose all respect from other nations, and the U.S. would be known for giving up on the global war against terrorism again. The U.S. withdrew from the war in Iraq because we weren’t helping anymore, and the terrorists weren’t going to give up.
It’s the same with the war in Afghanistan. Once we withdraw, the U.S. will be vulnerable, and the terrorists will not hold back.
They struck us once on 9/11, and they’ll do it again if we give them the chance.
Social Security truth
Many of us, no matter which party affiliation, are tired of hearing the word “entitlement” used in such a negative manner.
Let’s take Social Security and compare it with Bernie Madoff’s investment scheme.
His investors trusted him with their savings in hopes of a fair return on their money. They didn’t know that it was an ill-fated Ponzi scheme.
They’ll never get it back. But aren’t they entitled to their money? It’s theirs, isn’t it?
Throughout our working lives, we and our employers have paid into Social security. Unlike Madoff’s investors, paying into Social Security for us was compulsory.
The politicians embezzled it, just like Madoff, but they didn’t go to the big house. Now they try to shame us for demanding that which is ours.
Years of reckless spending put us into this mess. We paid for the bailouts, took the layoffs and foreclosures.
Let them keep the pledge and get their hands off Social Security and Medicare. They’ve done enough damage.
Kudos for kindness
I recently ordered carryout dinner from Chai Shai, a restaurant specializing in Pakistani and Indian food at 59th and Oak streets. The food is delicious, and the restaurant is nestled in a vibrant neighborhood.
In the hustle of the holidays, work demands, elderly mother concerns and family arriving from out of town, my work bag became missing in action. It had a few valuable things in it, and I searched and searched high and low for it.
The bag was not to be found, and I had given up hope that it would return. Unexpectedly this month, as I was organizing my week, I received a call from the owner of Chai Shai, Kashif Tufail.
He had found my lost bag. Kashif had searched until he found a hint of who the bag belonged to on a flash drive at the bottom of the bag and called me.
I was overjoyed and extremely grateful for his fortitude and kindness. This is an establishment I am pleased to support and a story worth repeating.
Again thank you to this busy restaurant owner.