Paying what’s due
Is paying fair-share fees like union dues a violation of First Amendment rights? If so, what about association dues and federal, state and local taxes? Why should I pay for any service that benefits me? Isn’t the real question being asked, how can I be a cheapskate, a freeloader, and reap the benefits of those who came before me who have fought the good fight and are continuing that struggle for the benefit of many?
There is no such thing as a self-made man. Everything we achieve is the results of others, such as teachers, parents, mentors, friends, books, religions, employers, fellow employees and those who seek fair wages for all.
We are a part of the efforts of those who came before us, those whom we associate with and the groups we belong to. We owe a great deal to others whom we benefit from.
That includes our families, government, educators, religious leaders, veterans and, yes, unions, too.
We need to recognize that justice by paying what’s due, whether it be taxes, tithing or union dues.
On politicians texting, much of my business life was in offices with both genders. The banter was often off-color but usually with smiles and laughter.
I shudder to think how our conversations would be deemed if quoted as text.
Texting is without the benefit of the facial expressions, laughter or body language. It’s words on a screen. A gasp went out when the ages of Missouri House Speaker John Diehl and the intern were reported. Do we believe the 19-year-old intern came to Jefferson City from an abbey? Had she never been to a mixed-gender school? Was her first year in college conducted in silence?
Had she no contact with the opposite sex?
Indeed — and I tread lightly here — had she been completely void of any frivolous sexual interaction?
This was a texting conversation between two consenting adults who thought it was private.
John Diehl and I will never agree politically, but I think it’s an outrage that his name and that of the young woman have been smeared for no reason, other than gossip mongering.
Grow up, Kansas City Star. You’re swatting a fly with a sledgehammer.
It is interesting to note that those declaring early for their party’s nominations for president are legislators or appointees. None are, at this time, executives.
I am in the camp that thinks governors and mayors make better presidents than legislators.
I also believe we, the people, want a leader who knows how to tell the truth, delegate responsibility and follow the law. We would like to see someone who can propose a realistic budget and not be “unpatriotic” or whatever word President Barack Obama used to slam President George W. Bush for the $4 trillion debt.
Talk-show host Dennis Miller made some comment about being able to respect the president after Bill Clinton left the Oval Office. I am anxiously awaiting the sobriquet he applies to the current occupant once his term ends.
Minimum wage rush
This is an exciting time for the hospitality and convention industry in Kansas City, with restaurants opening and growth creating new jobs. It would be a shame to see this momentum eclipsed because the City Council unilaterally alters the balance of labor costs with a hasty decision on the wage proposal (5-20, Editorial, “KC should pass responsible plan to boost minimum wage”).
As an advocate for almost 11,000 restaurants in Missouri, and a restaurant owner, I am concerned that the council is moving too quickly without considering the unintended consequences it could have for our local businesses and our residents. What many don’t realize is that most restaurants here have less than 50 employees, operating with slim profit margins in the range of 3 to 5 percent.
These small businesses — many of which are minority- and women-owned — would be hit the hardest if this wage proposal were to be implemented. We should be fostering business ownership by women and people of color, not disrupting it.
I urge the City Council not to rush to judgment on this proposal that could hurt many Kansas City families and businesses, and the 294,800 Missourians in the restaurant workforce.
Chairman of the Board
Surely the experience after World War II demonstrates that prior hostility is no barrier to subsequent alliances.
The U.S. should absolutely maintain its strong alliance with Israel as well as Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries such as Jordan, Turkey and United Arab Emirates and seek both diplomatic and economic ties with Iran.
The only criterion for U.S. diplomacy should be what is in the best interest of the U.S., and all of our allies should answer that question for themselves.
The Iranian people have experienced the crushing social and economic consequences of being isolated. They deserve a chance at an alternate path.
Rather than thinking “the enemy of my friend is my enemy, too,” what better way to minimize regional conflict than to have multiple, overlapping alliances emphasizing the interconnected societal, diplomatic and economic benefits of peaceful self-restraint in resolving differences?
Because Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach seems to only represent the Republican Party, it seems to me he should be paid by the GOP. I thought he was elected to represent Kansas, not just one party.
Maybe, this is the answer to the Kansas budget crisis. Have all those who only seem to represent one party be paid by that party.
What we have now is certainly taxation without representation.
Iran, nuclear arms
Rep. Sander Levin, a Michigan Democrat, has been quoted by The Associated Press saying a foreign-trade bill, opposed by unions, that lets Congress act only after the president has negotiated a deal “puts Congress in the back seat and greases the skids for an up-or-down vote after the fact. Real congressional power is not at the end of the process; it is right now when the critical outstanding issues are being negotiated.”
Contrast that sentiment with the sentiments of Democrats regarding the Iran nuclear weapons deal, where they have resisted any role for Congress as the Obama administration negotiates the “critical outstanding issues” regarding nuclear weapons with the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. As it stands, Congress will have only an up-or-down vote on nukes for Iran as it is not only in the “back seat,” it is not even allowed input on where the driver is taking us.
Apparently, it is more important for Congress to be involved early in a trade deal with, say, Singapore than in a deal that will lead inevitably to Iran having nuclear weapons.
No new gun laws
I feel for the family in Florida whose child was shot by a handgun (5-16, A2, “Baby shot”). But would a new law have prevented this tragedy?
I would hazard to guess that the gun and/or the situation surrounding the gun was illegal.
Most important, is not the mother responsible for her children? She should have known there was a gun present and secured it safely away.
I would think that we need more information before rushing to pass more unhelpful gun laws.
Dr. Michael Sweeney
Money in politics
I am sick of this nonsense about the Koch brothers political contributions being lower than unions. That list of contributors that some readers go on about only shows the money we know about.
Citizens United, the pitiful and political opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, allows contributions without limit by the wealthy and conservative corporations. The Koch brothers outspends any “liberal” organization by far.