Cliff jumping politics
Our Missouri General Assembly has a full plate of important issues. How to operate state government for free seems to be a major objective.
Kansas officials have decided that cutting all business and some individual tax is the road to prosperity. Our own Republican hole-in-the-wall gang professes we must follow suit.
Early indications are that Kansans may have trouble getting the effects of this plan wiped off their boots.
Nebraska lawmakers introduced a bill to totally eliminate the individual income tax and the corporate tax. To make up the lost revenue, they want to eliminate sales tax exemptions.
Currently, agriculture machinery and crop inputs are exempt from Nebraska sales tax. These exemptions would be eliminated under this bill.
Nebraska and Missouri have much in common. Both have large rural areas, both have a conservative populace, both have similar tax laws and both are ruled by Republicans.
Corporate interests have outbid farmers for political affection. Rural support of Republicans resembles battered wife syndrome.
Call your legislator and tell him to copy a page from Nebraska’s playbook. On second thought, save your dime. If it’s good enough for the neighbors, it’s good enough for us.
Slash Pentagon budget
As everyone should know (but evidence abounds that Americans don’t), the United States is the world’s primary global empire. We don’t need our huge worldwide military presence to defend our people and land but to make the world safe for capitalist imperialism.
When the economic screws of global corporate business can no longer force obedience from others, the American war machine (and those of other financially powerful centers) will be there to threaten and attack if needed to obtain compliance.
We need defense, but only the economic powers need the war machine we now have. Cut the Pentagon budget.
Learning about gays
Former rabidly anti-gay, anti-same-sex marriage GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio had a big-time change of heart recently upon learning from his son that he is indeed gay (3-16, A2, “GOP senator now backing gay marriage”).
Mr. Portman received a zero out of 100 rating from the Human Rights Campaign, a national group that promotes gay rights, in the 108th Congress and fared no better until recently in the Senate, receiving a rating of 15 at the beginning of his term.
Now he supports gay rights and same-sex marriage.
Perhaps there’s something to learn from his experience.
I propose a National Adopt A Gay Person Day, whereby all Americans will experience the reality of gayness in this country, as did Sen. Portman, and hopefully everyone will come to the same conclusion he did: Gay people are people just like you and me and deserve the same respect and rights that belong to all Americans.
Let Obama function
As I listen to the news from all over, TV and radio talk show hosts who claim to know it all overlook the most important facts concerning this country’s quandary. President Barack Obama did not get the country in the shape it is in now.
It began when they (rich people) started sending jobs overseas to make more profits and stay rich.
If there is no work for people, they cannot pay taxes. If no taxes are paid, our country cannot survive. It’s simple.
Bring the jobs back to the United States. Stop paying chief executives to get richer.
Let them earn a living like the rest of us — the hard way. They are paid to produce ways to make more money for the companies and stiff the working class.
The rich have no clue what is going on with the working class of people and couldn’t care less. President Obama would do a better job if the rich would let him do his job.
Why doesn’t Missouri want $8.2 billion in federal dollars over three years to expand Medicaid?
• It’s our tax money.
• It’ll help 300,000 Missourians.
• It’ll grow Missouri’s economy.
• It’ll keep hospitals open.
• It’ll expand access to mental health care.
The legislative majority is concerned the feds won’t keep their promise to pay their share. If that happens, we could go back to current rates. The 300,000 Missourians would be happy they had health care for three years — it might save their lives.
The legislative majority also worries about pouring money into a bucket full of holes. They say we need reform first. Why can’t we take the federal money and reform our system at the same time?
The Affordable Care Act doesn’t prohibit reform. The $8.2 billion has an expiration date. It would be foolish not to take the money now and work on reform simultaneously.
The legislative majority is offering reform through HB 700. There are two major problems with this bill.
HB 700 doesn’t expand Medicaid to 133 percent, thus we throw away $8.2 billion. The bill eliminates health coverage for about 44,000 children.
Bottom line: Missouri can’t afford not to expand Medicaid.
Obama’s better role
After watching President Barack Obama’s speech to teenagers in Chicago recently, I have finally seen something out of him that I completely approve of. If he would spend more time trying to instill middle-class values into the lower class and less time trying to cut down the upper class, this country, and the lower class, would be much better off.
Elected ‘royalty’ in U.S.
Our elected leaders have been heard to voice their opinions about workers’ “entitlements” such as welfare. I would like to attach such a term to their condition, tax-fare.
All across our nation, elected officials have lived off real workers’ taxes.
Balance the budget? Get these people to pay their way. We have been supporting American “royalty” for far too long.
Ronnie A. Sturdevant
Not tolerating guns
While mass shootings grab national headlines, the shootings that occur every day in cities across our nation are a much larger problem. Not all of them result in death or injury, and many aren’t even reported.
I am talking about urban parts of our cities. These generally occur between young people who have insulted each other in some way.
We can’t keep selling guns to people without background checks. We can’t tolerate people carrying guns without permits.
Although this is just one part of the gun issue, it is one we can solve immediately. Background checks, registration and waiting periods should be required on all gun sales.
Immediately jail anyone caught with a loaded gun or with one in the passenger compartment of a car without a permit. The trunk is exempt.
Set a $25,000 cash-only bond and 90 additional days in jail once convicted.
I don’t want to carry a gun or feel the need to. I don’t want anyone else carrying a gun without a legal right to do so. I don’t know why we tolerate this now.
U.S. rights collide
The National Rifle Association is making a case that to ban assault weapons would endanger our Second Amendment rights to bear arms. This is simply untrue.
The Constitution gives us the right to “bear arms,” and the Supreme Court ruled we have a right to “bear firearms.” This does not mean we have a right to bear an AR-15.
We already ban many weapons such as totally automatic guns. It is time to regulate assault weapons for the protection of the American people and especially our children.
Pot smoking solution
As long as Wyatt Earp is long dead (albeit rolling over in his grave) and a Bushmaster appears to have supplanted the eagle as the symbol of our national resolve, before the country goes belly up financially, here’s the easy and obvious solution to our country’s two most pressing problems:
Let’s legalize marijuana and tax the heck out of it.
Not only would the national coffers begin immediately to fill with happily paid tax revenue, but if loony tunes with access to guns also had easy access to pot, perhaps their impulse toward destruction would be replaced by a craving for Oreos and we could all rest a little easier.
I’m willing to bet that no mass murderer yet has smoked marijuana first and then gone out to kill.
And I’m pretty sure that everyone with a personal armory in his basement would appreciate the chance to relax a bit and might actually benefit from an Oreo or two.
And as for the once-big fiscal cliff? What fiscal cliff?