Letters to the Editor

Flat tax, the pope, Social Security

Flat tax needed

News articles about the Internal Revenue Service’s incompetence cite good reasons for American taxpayers to demand a flat tax or a fair tax system so we can attempt to stop this abuse. It’s not only my money the government is stealing but every hardworking American’s money.

If the IRS has the time to single out an individual for an audit, maybe such government workers need to rethink their priorities.

Dale Epperson Lee’s Summit
Pope on target

We don’t have a free-market economy as some would like to think. What we do have, and what Pope Francis is obviously and rightfully condemning, is a viciously rigged game in which everything flows to the top.

It’s a game wherein the chief-executive class and Wall Street banks buy the business rules and tax rates they want through a bought Congress and where the bottom 98 percent can go straight to the devil for all the people at the top care.

We don’t have a free market because those at the top are insulated from the consequences of their behavior, no matter how reckless or self-serving, by public tax dollars (see “too big to fail”).

It’s not a free market because only the wealthy and well-connected can lobby successfully for continued public subsidies, as in we can’t afford food stamps, but we have plenty of money for huge agri-business firms.

It’s obvious. It’s sickening. It’s getting worse.

The middle class is disappearing, and the poor haven’t got a prayer.

Pope Francis is a blessing.

Jeff Gerner Gladstone
Social Security pinch

A Social Security Administration letter arrived this month. It proudly announced in the first sentence a 1.5 percent increase in 2014 payments for a cost-of-living adjustment.

The letter went on to define the adjustments in payments for Medicare insurance and Medicare drug plans. In 2013, my Social Security payment was $1,617 per month. In 2014, my Social Security payment will be $1,587.

With these kinds of cost-of-living adjustments and increases in insurance, I will owe the government money in a few short years.

Richard Blaisdell Kansas City Boycotting hate

When the president of Chick-fil-A made anti-gay remarks, many people decided to boycott Chick-fil-A. The right-wingers screamed, “His First Amendment rights are being abused!” and flocked to Chick-fil-A.

Now Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” has been suspended by A for anti-gay remarks and, again, “First Amendment rights abuse” is being screamed.

Folks, no rights are being abused. These men have every right to their bigoted speech.

And A has every right to suspend Robertson. And people have every right to boycott Chick-fil-A for Dan Cathy’s remarks.

It is only a First Amendment violation if the government says, “You can’t say that.” No government interference, no rights violations.

So stop using “First Amendment abuse” to defend these bigots. We less-bigoted folks are well within our rights to protest this kind of hate talk.

Suzanne B. Conaway Kansas City Light-rail concerns

The notion of lightweight commuter cars sharing tracks with 150-ton freight engines is flawed for many reasons. Schedules and safety are major problems.

The narrow track spacing can cause the commuter cars to sway badly, are uncomfortable especially at high speeds and present safety considerations.

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders is to be commended for recognizing that the current plans are not workable.

A completely new approach is needed, but the county is not open-minded. The federal government is looking for workable, affordable and innovative solutions to nationwide commuter travel as well as ways to provide mass-transit mobility for the elderly and poor.

Heavy federal support is the key to the whole thing.

Irvin Patterson Lee’s Summit Football hazards

Having played grade school and high school football and having witnessed the dangers of the game, I would discourage my loved ones from playing.

I think football is still haunted by the fallacy that one’s masculinity is measured by one’s stoic acceptance of pain and injury.

The claim that “football will make a man outta ya” was what coaches preached and parents accepted when I played. With football and some other sports, the specter of danger exhilarates us, not unlike the gladiatorial games of Rome.

The National Football League and the networks have long promoted the sport’s big hits and violent collisions. The big money of pro football stifles significant changes in the game.

Most highly paid young athletes accept present health risks because the problems may be realized only in the far-distant future. I see no significant changes on the horizon because most of us spectators won’t demand them.

Perhaps better education of young athletes as to possible alternatives is the best approach.

John Couture Sr. Kansas City Mellinger column

Sam Mellinger, you need to dial it back on your criticism of the Chiefs (12-23, A1, “Cold fans, cold team at Arrowhead”). They didn’t play their best game Sunday against Indianapolis, and they aren’t making excuses for the performance.

However, they did not leave behind a “stinking pile of garbage.”

This season has been remarkable. Do you recall the two-win season last year?

Did you imagine that they would go to the playoffs this year?

They have areas in which they can improve. I believe they will.

Go Chiefs.

Jane Henley Lee’s Summit Abortion guidelines

The debate over abortion issues continues to be a touchy subject throughout America.

Some people say that abortion is a natural right that shouldn’t be limited or denied by the government or religious views.

These pro-choice people say that women who wish to seek an abortion would resort to potentially harmful or illegal options if abortions were illegal. Those against abortion say that abortions are immoral, cause suffering on unborn children and are unfair to women who can’t get pregnant.

Therefore, even though I am pro-life, with these conflicting views and variations of them, I don’t think the government has the right to tell women they can’t have an abortion.

I think that because we live in the democracy we have and possess the rights we do, women should be allowed to seek abortions based on certain conditions such as protecting the mother’s health or if the baby was the result of rape.

The government, instead of making it completely legal or illegal, should define conditions and rules that one must follow before having an abortion because if the government went one way or the other, people would still be unhappy.

Lauren Groszek Leawood Enabling 1 percenters

This is to those who think taxing the wealthiest 1 percent a little more or having them pay a living wage is robbing from the rich to pay the poor.

If you have a company and could, but won’t, create jobs or support your community, I’ll remind you that you did not get all of your money alone unless you printed it.

Others enable the rich to gain wealth, and taxpayer funds paid to them encourage job creation.

Teachers taught the wealthiest Americans.

Police protect their businesses and goods.

If they run for public office, people vote for them. People build or move their business machinery.

People build roads the wealthiest Americans’ trucks use and buildings the businesses use.

People build the oil rigs and make the nice clothes, cars, homes and food the 1 percenters use.

People run the hospitals the wealthy use or own. People work in the businesses.

People are the stockbrokers who invest the 1 percenters’ millions.

People turn the ideas of the rich into reality.

It’s time for the 1 percenters to give back to this country that enabled them to become rich instead of continuing to bleed America dry.

Karen Snelling Kansas City