Letters for December 14, 2017

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We are more alike than we are different

Bob Wilson’s Letter to the Editor on Dec. 7 reveals that he is a man who deeply loves his country, and doesn’t want to see it slide down the slippery slope into Socialism and then Communism. I appreciate his dedication and passion for something he believes in and his desire to share his well-researched and well-written opinions with the people in his community.

He is right. It does feel like we are rolling a rock up a hill only to have it roll back down and hit us. It is difficult to stand by and watch that rock coming back down the hill and, to our dismay, some of our friends, neighbors, members of our community and, yes, even our own family appears to be behind the rock, helping it along. “Why can’t they see the error of their ways?” we ask.

The frustration that arises from witnessing our fellow Americans get it so wrong becomes “them against us.”  We have now identified the enemy “them and they” and now we can start attacking them. We cherry pick the things about them that put them further into the enemy territory, and ignore those things that prove they are really not the enemy at all, just good people like us with a different opinion.

Google is a wonderful tool to get information on anything from how to remove a splinter to finding the definition of Socialism.  Mr. Wilson’s definition of Socialism is accurate according to Webster. It is that and it is so much more.  Like, for example, the Democratic Socialists who, like Bernie Sanders, don’t want our government to own your home, nor do they want the free market to be abolished, and they don’t want you to NOT get rich no matter how hard you try. What they want are poor children to have the same access to healthcare and education as rich children, and “they” (the enemy) just want all Americans to have a fair shake. Is there more to the story than this? Of course there is and it is up to each one of us to do our own research, find our own answers, and make up our own minds.

I am a registered Republican who identifies as an Independent, and I’m concerned about something that is trending throughout our country from the Internet to Talk Radio to Cable News to people on the street, and that is the propensity to cherry pick those things that support our beliefs, ignore those that don’t, and the purposeful attempt to separate and divide us when the truth is we are all more alike than we are different.

 

Carol Mayer – Franklin, N.C.

Celebrate the birth of the King of Kings

There is one rightful ruler of this world, and that is its Creator. It is interesting and often maddening to watch His rebellious creatures vying for power and control of the earth. I take comfort from Psalm 2. The legitimate King of Kings was born in Bethlehem about 2021 years ago. He is the only King who eternally existed before He was born. This Psalm speaks of Him about 1,000 years before His birth. The kings and rulers of the earth want to impeach Him. He laughs at them, knowing that they are mere creatures. Obviously, they have no power over Him. But He, as their Creator, has absolute and total control and power over them, but in their folly, they don’t recognize it. They are out of touch with reality.

The Lord (or Jehovah), has deeded all of the nations to His Son, the Creator, who will come and take the throne of His forefather, David, and rule over them with a “rod of iron” – total control. He will dash them in pieces like pottery. They will not get away with their crimes against humanity, even if they control all the media, education, entertainment, intelligence, etc. They may never face justice in this life. But one day, they will stand before the righteous judge of all the earth. All of their money, power and influence will do them no good on that day.

Wise rulers, including those in the shadow government or the “deep state” must recognize that any authority they have has been permitted by God. They will either serve Him in fear, or if they violate His will, they will ultimately be destroyed, because “His wrath can flare up in a moment.”

In Isaiah 7:14, the prophet wrote of Him 700 years before His birth, “The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel – God with us.” No wonder Herod was so afraid of Him! Isaiah 9:6-7 further describes Him, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

Wise rulers know this is the One they must fear. When wicked people are investigated, indicted and punished, justice is served, and He is pleased. But when good people are falsely accused, entrapped, investigated, intimidated, stripped of everything, and harassed, He is angry. This Psalm tells me He will have the last laugh. “Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.”

Moses, writing of Him 1500 years before His birth, said, ”The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until He comes to Whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is His.” Genesis 49:10. In the previous verse Judah is called a lion’s cub. In Revelation 5:5, John speaks of Him as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David…” In this text, He is referred to as both a lamb and a lion: a lamb because of His propitiatory death on behalf of His people and a lion because of His authority, dominion and ultimate triumph over all His enemies.

Paul writing of Him in Philippians 2:6-11 says, ”Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God  something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

This Christmas, let’s remember whose birthday we are celebrating. He is worthy!

 

Ed Hill – Franklin, N.C.

Tax cuts will produce no benefit to economy

I’m confused!  The stock market is at all time high and unemployment is lower than we have seen in decades.  More wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few individuals than any time since the years leading up to the Great Depression. Major corporations have excellent profits with large amounts available for investment. The effective corporate tax rate (what they actually pay) averages below 25% and many pay no federal taxes at all.

The source of my confusion is why Republicans are ramming through a major revision of the tax code that primarily benefits those who already have most of the money. Normally, a country will implement tax cuts in response to economic distress.  Such was the intent of the Reagan and the Obama tax cuts.

The initial Reagan tax cut was based on Trickle Down theory, was targeted to the same wealthy population that the proposed cuts benefit, didn’t work very well and was followed by multiple tax increases as record deficits occurred. In contrast, the Obama tax cuts were modest, targeted to those who pay the payroll tax (i.e. Social Security tax) and was coupled with a spending package that kept millions of middle class citizens out of unemployment.

So here we are. The economy is growing.  Unemployment is low. Corporate profits are strong and wealth continues to accumulate at the top at the highest rate in almost 100 years. What has not happened is the increase in wages to match the increases in the stock market and the overall economy.  Nor have the strong corporate profits resulted in significant investment in high wage jobs.

Think about it. If I have a business and my customers wage increases have not kept pace with their increases in rent, utilities, food and a host of other costs, they don’t have the extra cash to spend on my product. I’m certainly not going to spend large amounts of money for a factory to make more of that product. Corporate executives recently told the White House just that. They would use their tax cut to buy back stock and increase dividends to their investors.

This tax bill is not about creating jobs. This effort should be retitled the “Our Big Donors Appreciation Bill of 2017” and then killed before it creates a trillion dollar hole in the economy.

John Gladden – Franklin, N.C.

Capitalist class prompts establishment of police state

In case you missed it, in the Nov. 16 and Dec. 7 letters section of this paper, there was a man sword-fighting windmills. His charade put the inglorious knight-errant, Don Quixote, to shame.

While reading his painfully confused diatribe against “socialism,” a recurring question kept running through my mind. How much Fox News does a person have to watch before their brain is completely pickled?

Part of me, to be fair, understands his confusion. The meanings of some words can and do change over time. Other words fracture and take on multiple meanings, such as the word “socialism.” This being the case, our windmill fighter still managed to misuse the term. For him, if I may cobble together his broken thoughts over multiple letters, socialism means something like: a police state where money in the form of profits and taxes are forcibly extracted from hard working white people and transferred over to government bureaucrats, lazy people of color, and college students.

These paranoid and delusional ideas about socialism bombard the minds of right-wingers on the radio, Internet, and television causing fearful reactions. They don’t question the narrative. They don’t, say, pick up classic works of socialist political economy and read them. They do attempt to delve into the history of socialist movements. No, they hunker in fear and swallow the lies without chewing; and, even more deleteriously, without thinking.

Do socialists support a police state, as the attacker of windmills claims?

George W. Bush, Barrack Obama, and Donald Trump have all enlarged the police state in America by decreasing civil liberties, increasing surveillance, and militarizing police departments. George Bush’s Patriot Act was the single most impactful piece of legislation to bolster the police state in American history (Espionage Act of 1917 is a close second). Barrack Obama rounded up and deported more undocumented immigrants than every other president combined. Donald Trump’s childish, bootlicking praise of law enforcement, his encouragement of police officers to “rough up” suspected criminals, and his fawning praise for authoritarian leaders like Duterte, demonstrates his support for a strong police state. Those are the defenders of capitalism.

One of the leading socialist intellectuals in the country, Chris Hedges, brought a lawsuit against Barrack Obama over the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. The legislation permitted the U.S. government to indefinitely detain, without trial, people suspected of supporting terrorism. Hedges won the lawsuit. It was overturned in the Second Court of Appeals, unfortunately. Bernie Sanders, a social democrat, not a socialist, has called for more “police accountability,” the de-militarization of police forces, and has repeatedly voted against the Patriot Act.

Yet our windmill fighter would have us believe it’s the capitalist class – the class increasing surveillance, militarizing police forces, and praising dictators all over the world – that is on the side of freedom, not the socialists.

What are windmill fighter doesn’t understand is that capitalism is an economic system that cannot survive without a powerful central state to protect the interests of the capitalist class. The modern, rationalized, bureaucratic central state as a political entity with a monopoly on the “legitimate use of violence” emerged hand in hand with capitalism. Capitalists have always used state violence, at home and abroad, to further their economic agenda. And as capitalism creates more wealth inequality, we will continue to see its defenders extend the powers of the police state in order to protect their class interests and to prevent that pesky thing socialists aim to achieve, democracy.

Marshall Solomon – Franklin, N.C.

Lower taxes could result in brisk economic growth

With the passage of the Tax Reform bill, there are a lot of folks out there shouting for joy.

Some 149 million people who have 401ks  and IRAs along with those who individually invest in the market watched the value of their retirement funds grow.

With lower taxes on American companies, profits will climb which benefits those who own stock in those companies. Hopefully, it will also encourage companies to expand and hire more people and perhaps even lower prices for their products. It might encourage investors to bring money back from overseas.

As usual, there is a great deal of argument over what the effects will be and whether or not it will help our economy grow at a faster rate.  We have as many views on economics as we do books on dieting.

Also as usual, we have ugly politics entering the debate with Socialists screaming that, well, you know, the usual political garbage not worth repeating here.

Some claim that lower company taxes will only fatten the pockets of the companies but that opinion ignores the 149 million working folks who invest in those companies through their retirement plans.  And, there are those who never invested and hate folks who put away money for retirement.

One could, without much of a stretch, compare the new tax plan to the two previous stimulus bills, one from President Bush and the other from President Obama.  Both of the stimulus programs were designed to curb the effects of the housing collapse in 2007-8 and get the economy moving again.

Simply put, the idea was to put more money into the hands of our citizens in the hopes they would spend that extra money and stimulate the economy.   It worked, but only in a limited degree. For example a company in Charleston gave their employees raises and a yacht club in Texas painted their clubhouse.  It paid millions to have signs put up along highways telling us that the road repair work was part of the stimulus funds.  Gee, that’s neat, some stimulus!

No doubt both the stimulus plans worked to some degree but neither were shining successes.

Excuse me for diverting but the housing collapse was directly caused by President Clinton forcing banks to make bad loans.  Typically, the Left blames the banks. Clinton was probably the dumbest president of all.

Anyway, the media “experts” are claiming that President Trump’s tax reform will raise the national debt $1 trillion during the next 10 years.  That works out to 1/10th trillion per year.

Under President Obama, it rose by $9 trillion in only 8 years.

What the media “experts” don’t admit is the probability that lower taxes for companies and individuals will result in a brisk economic growth and actually result in more federal revenue, offsetting the potential rise in national debt. That happened under JFK and Reagan.

Will Tax Reform work? Well, most anything works well if you use common sense and keep politics out of it. For sure, it won’t happen overnight and will take a year or two.  We’ll just have to wait and see and hope it does work. It will certainly be good for America.

Bob Wilson – Franklin, N.C.

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