Letters to the Editor

Fair Tax, George Zimmerman, guns

Obama and Fair Tax

President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg today about pressing Congress to act on the economy.

Unless the president is going to insist that Congress enact the Fair Tax Act and the 28th Amendment to the Constitution (requiring laws to apply equally to U.S. citizens and members of Congress), whatever else he says will be meaningless.

The Fair Tax and the 28th Amendment are the only things Congress can do now to help the economy.

Rodney Rom
Butler, Mo. Stand your ground

Your editor got it right and your public editor, Derek Donovan, got it wrong (7-22, Commentary, “Zimmerman verdict overplayed”).

The George Zimmerman trial isn’t just an isolated story in Florida, as one of your readers apparently asserted.

It is a landmark case that has ramifications for the entire country.

Just look at the coverage in Time magazine. The Star editor who put it on the front page knew its rightful importance.

Jeneé Osterheldt (7-16, A1, “I’m afraid of the next George Zimmerman”) got it right as well. And as for putting her opinion piece on A1, for stories with this kind of potential, it is sometimes important that a newspaper offer some insight — particularly when some of your readers, and even your public editor, do not.

Your editor should “stand his ground” and not let Mr. Donovan apologize for him. This story is too important.

Michael Childers Kansas City
Divesting in guns

The Kansas City mayor and The Star’s July 19 editorial, “KC should urge financial disinvestment in gun industry,”

believe the city should divest its pension funds of any gun manufacturer’s stocks.

Perhaps they should also include companies that manufacture knives and baseball bats because they also are used as weapons.

Then let’s not forget that most crimes are committed by persons under the influence of alcohol, so no more investing in beer and liquor companies.

Also, smoking causes city employees health problems, so no more tobacco stocks.

Sin stocks can be isolated by pension-fund managers, but let’s not just target gun manufacturers.

Wilson Winch Independence Avoiding assumptions

For me, the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin was a real call to look at how I perceive others.

Do I see others as persons or do I allow my stereotypical notions to govern how I react or don’t react to others?

This story and not-guilty verdict are as much about operating out of presumption as anything. I just don’t want to live my life governed by false notions about other people.

The gospel story we heard on a recent Sunday asked the question, “Who is my neighbor?”

Who indeed.

Renata J. Beaudoin Independence Keep Gordon Parks

Why didn’t Gordon Parks Elementary School just do its state assignment and capture those test scores? A state board member, scorning our MAP scores, said the test was basic information, that any good teacher could teach.

Simply, the culprit is the bundled burden of poverty, with life experiences very different from middle class and issues of emotional, physical, sociological, developmental and academic. Parents, guardians, foster parents and grandmothers love their children, but the chaos of daily desperation doesn’t accommodate orderly calendars and academic readiness.

Was our deliberate design, as co-founders, to work with children from poverty a mistake? Or accepting new students who were below grade level? Or making the school small, allowing one child’s challenges to weigh heavily on the average?

No. Those choices benefited children.

Children’s accomplishments mean Gordon Parks Elementary contributes toward diminishing poverty’s residue.

One teacher declared, “Our children know what they know.” Slowly, children will understand MAP’s information.

This task is terribly complex. Hundreds who visited contributed millions for needed professional support. If only our civic servants had come to witness the taxpayers’ investment.

Dorothy Curry Mission Woods Midwest Voices

Carol Dark Ayres’ July 20 column, “Value of life trumps others’ rights,” compares the denial of the right to life to unborn fetuses to slavery. There are significant problems with her analogy.

If you “emancipate” a fetus from the womb, it will not go on to have a life as a free being. It will die.

A fetus is part of its mother until it is born and then it becomes a baby. Fetuses are not gathered from a foreign country and then forced to labor in captivity for the rest of their lives.

I completely agree that a person’s right to life supersedes all others, but fetuses aren’t people.

Additionally, if we follow this logic, no anti-abortion politician could ever be a gun rights advocate. A person’s right not to be shot while he walks down the street definitely trumps another person’s right to carry a gun.

Lionizing the murderer Scott Roeder is beyond the pale.

Ms. Ayres’ beliefs appear to be fairly inconsistent. I wonder what she thinks of Trayvon Martin’s right to life.

While I’m sure she believes that she wrote a thoughtful essay, I hope she comes to realize how absolutely repellent her opinions are.

John LaPointe Navarre Kansas City Value IRS workers

As we move ahead in this tax-filing season, I wonder how many people in our community will have difficulty getting help from the Internal Revenue Service.

I’m afraid the number is substantial, in large part because of the failure of Congress to avoid the federal budget cuts because of sequestration.

As president of Chapter 066 of the National Treasury Employees Union, I can tell you that IRS employees want to serve the public efficiently and effectively but are working now with 5,000 fewer employees than just two years ago.

Along with other government employees, my members face the prospect of days of unpaid furlough because of sequestration.

That’s not good for them or our country. What’s more, the IRS collects 93 percent of all our government’s revenue, so furloughing IRS workers will increase the deficit.

What’s so frustrating is that federal workers already have contributed $114 billion to deficit reduction and economic recovery — more than any other group — yet are among the first to be hit by budget cuts under sequestration.

The much better path for us all would be to cancel sequestration and enact a balanced deficit-reduction measure.

Cedric E. Gray President NTEU Chapter 066 Kansas City Producer or parasite?

Coming home from Arkansas on Interstate 49, I saw a sign in a farmer’s field that asked the question, “Are you a producer or a parasite?” That is a good question, and the answer depends on your perspective.

I wanted to ask the farmer whether he had taken U.S. taxpayer-funded farm subsidies or had ever applied for taxpayer-supported crop insurance. If the answer was yes to either of those questions, does he consider himself a parasite living off the wallet of the taxpayer?

Probably not, because he is “entitled” to that money.

Now let’s talk about about Social Security and Medicare.

Joseph E. Hodnik Olathe Syrian civil war

I am all for supporting certain rebel groups, but the people who say arming the rebels in Syria is a bad idea are right.Who knows who could get those guns?

In Syria there are three main belligerents involved: the government, the opposition and the Kurds. Now within the opposition there are nine separate groups.

So how does the U.S. know which group the guns should go to?

We could use a no-fly zone instead. There won’t be any possibility of the planes falling into the wrong hands, and at the same time we will help the rebels win.

President Bashar al-Assad will be gone, the Kurds will be free and there will be no guns for the jihadists to use against us.

Brendan D. Davison Shawnee