Political system needs overhaul
This year has seen one of the worst election cycles in history. On one hand we have someone who plans to punish our successful people and on the other hand we have someone who challenges the good old boys club in Washington.
When our politicians talk about the sacrifices they make as public servants, I have to laugh, we’re being conned folks. Those so-called public servants ride around first class on the backs of the working class taxpayers.
All this smacks of Hollywood, where they decided to give themselves some glory by awarding themselves all sorts of trophies for play acting.
Come on guys, no matter how famous they have made themselves, actors and actresses are just like you and me. The fact is that some of them are downright stupid but their self- appointed fame allows them to dazzle the public anyway.
While the Democrats make a big stink about Donald Trump taking a huge loss on this tax return (even Democrats do it) which is perfectly legal, the politicians are free to do whatever they wish. If ordinary people go to jail for insider trading as did Martha Stewart, the politicians can do all the insider trading they want, and often do. Our Washington politicians pass laws but remain above the laws themselves. The rest of us just go to jail.
Long before investors know about it, politicians know when XYZ company is about to expand and buy their stock. They don’t even abide by our labor laws. As usual, they leave office rich.
This all reminds me of when Harry Truman who left office and drove himself and his wife, Bess, home in their old car.
Can anyone imagine Hillary Clinton driving herself home to their mansion in New York?
Clearly, something has gone wrong in DC and we have given birth to a political class that view themselves as superior to the rest of us. There is great danger here and we’ve seen it if you have been following world events.
I like to use Venezuela as an example but there are other countries that have all but been ruined by a political class.
Socialist political theories gave birth to despots like Hugo Chavez and his successor, Maduro. Venezuelans must now beg for food and medicine and their country has all but collapsed while their political class wear Rolex watches and have plenty to eat.
Someone recently wrote in these pages about imposing term limits on our politician class but there are problems with that idea too. You end up with the bureaucrats running everything and as we know, they answer to no one, much less voters. Bureaucrats would tell our elected officials what they can and cannot do.
In my opinion there doesn’t appear to be an easy answer to the problem, but just maybe passing laws to prevent bribes being paid to the candidates will help. I suspect that bribes from unions, trial lawyers, big banks and foreign governments paid to Hillary Clinton will be close to $1 billion this election cycle.
Maybe even forcing them to abide by the same laws that apply to us would help.
Clearly, however, short of a political revolution, we need to overhaul our political system and clean house.
Just maybe Donald Trump is the man to do it.
Bob Wilson the Deplorable — Franklin, N.C.
Donald Trump is not the avenger
Donald Trump has had every opportunity to lead by example, every opportunity to show that he has the mental and ethical traits necessary to hold the office of President of the United States. He has failed miserably. Trump, for years, has called for Obama to release his college records, his passport and his birth certificate. Trump himself could show transparency by releasing his tax returns, but he refuses. When it was suggested that Trump pays no tax, he made the remark, “that makes me smart.” The Clintons have released returns to show they’ve paid almost $46 million in taxes in the last seven years and their income is small when compared to Trump’s. Just imagine what his taxes could do.
When we pay taxes, we take care of our vets, fund police and fire departments, emergency medical and health services, public school, transportation, building roads and bridges and so many others things that make our lives better. All of these services are available to Trump and his family, but I doubt he contributes to their funding.
The insulting and disrespectful remarks he has made about others, particularly women, are alarming. If I were a mother of young daughters, and if I supported Donald Trump, I really don’t know how I could justify or explain to them that what he says about women is okay or doesn’t matter.
His business practices and successes are proving to be driven by scams and schemes. ABC World News has reported that Trump has faced 3,500 lawsuits by folks he stiffed or scammed. Newsweek just released allegations against Trump for violating the U.S. embargo against Cuba in the late 1990’s. Doing business with them and spending money in their country during that time was against the law. The most recent scandal surrounding the Trump Foundation indicates nine violations. I laugh as Trump talks about Bill Clinton’s indiscretions when he’s guilty of much worse behavior.
Temperament is a word often used in talking about Donald Trump, and there are many traits that measure the degree of a person’s temperament. The following traits I’ve listed here indicate an erratic temperament: attention-seeking, childlike, revengeful, impulsive, unpredictable, restless, disorganized thoughts, hot-tempered, and cruel. Trump is all of these.
I do realize that most supporters of Trump don’t care about any of these things; it just doesn’t matter to them. I’ve seen and heard plenty of comments that condone his behavior and I know some people who actually cheer him on for what he says and does. They believe Trump is their avenger, but he isn’t. You may believe what you are fighting is bad, but sometimes the weapon you use to fight it can turn out to be the most dangerous thing of all.
Annette Bell — Otto, N.C.
Vote for change in Western North Carolina
Western Carolina wake up! Forget about the party of your choice, Republican or Democrat. Look at the individuals running for office that directly influence our daily lives. Please study each category and don’t just vote a straight party ticket. On the local levels there are some new folks running that have served their cities and counties for years in non-elected capacities who will be better elected officials than the incumbents.
A stellar example of this in Clay County is Sandy Zimmerman, who has been a workhorse volunteer for years and is running for commissioner. She has done more for Hayesville and Clay than any incumbent commissioner.
In Cherokee County, there are several citizens relatively new to politics running for school board, county commissioner, and the state legislature. For school board, we have Kerry Archer, a retired educator and business owner in Murphy. For county commission, we have Jan Lukens and Randy Barnett, two individuals who bring a wealth of experience to the table and will work hard for us. Randy Hogsed is running for the North Carolina House and has stepped up to oppose entrenched interests.
On the state level, our seven county district, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Macon, Swain, Jackson, and Haywood have been represented in the state senate by Jim Davis, who co-sponsored the fracking bill and voted consistently to cut funds to local school districts and raise taxes on farmers and small entrepreneurs while cutting taxes for large corporations. How many large companies do we have out here?
Jane Hipps, a native of Western Carolina, a former teacher and public healthcare nurse, whose whole adult life has been about giving back to our region, is running to defeat an incumbent who came from California to change the quality of life here to our detriment. Please read about Jane and study the differences between her and Jim.
The governor affects all areas of the state. Gov. Pat McCrory, the incumbent, has a long list of issues that have hurt North Carolina, from education, the environment, insurance rates, social issues, taxes and healthcare. Some of his decisions, made in the dead of night and on the fly, have been so egregious that businesses, conventions, concerts and sporting events are boycotting our state, choosing other southern locations. For the first time in history, North Carolina ranks 48th and 50th by many rating groups in quality of life issues, behind Alabama and Mississippi.
As an alternative to the current governor, please read about Roy Cooper, our attorney general, a man of integrity and ethics who has served our state for years without a whiff of scandal. As governor, he will return North Carolina to its previous reputation of excellence and as a standard bearer in education, business, health and research.
Mark Meadows is our congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives. His office – indeed Meadows himself – is under investigation for illegal payments of salary for months to Kerry West of Clay County after West resigned his position in Meadows’ office. Also, fourteen months before this scandal, a female employee resigned due to sexual harassment issues and was given an illegal severance package. Later, four others received similar severance. Meadows was complicit in all of this activity. Again, are these people working for themselves or for us?
Meadows was a major player in shutting down the U.S. government at a cost of $23 million. Today, his office staffers say they had no idea of the negative impact his decision was going to cause North Carolina and the country in general.
Rick Bryson, from Bryson City, is challenging Mark to represent us in Congress. Rick wants to bring a form of the Raleigh-Durham Research Triangle Park jobs program to Western Carolina. He knows that education and jobs are key to bringing locals and new people to our very special area of the world. Rick is an aggressive personality who makes things happen for all citizens and is not interested in personal gain, unlike our incumbent congressman. Please read about all of his ideas before you fill out your ballot.
Finally, Richard Burr is one of our two senators, Thom Tillis being the other. Burr is up for reelection. He votes to privatize Social Security and Medicare, which would destroy both programs. He would overturn Roe v. Wade and cut funds for women’s healthcare. He is opposed to expanding Medicare and refinancing student loans in order to lower interest rates. Ask yourself how many students and senior citizens in Western Carolina are vastly wealthy? How many federal programs do our citizens rely upon? How up-to-date is our infrastructure, including broadband, communication systems, roads and bridges? Do you often think Raleigh has forgotten about us out here?
Deborah Ross, senate candidate opposing Burr, has visited every county in Western Carolina at least once. She was thrilled at the turnout in Clay, one of the state’s lowest populated counties and the smallest geographically.
Deborah practiced law in North Carolina for over two decades and served in the state Legislature for 10 years. She will protect Social Security and Medicare and fight for equal pay for women, affordable college, vocational schools, and a fair tax system.
The status quo in Western Carolina is not good enough. Stores are closing, plants are shut down, schools are scrounging for funds and materials and our young people are leaving for jobs, housing, and healthcare for opportunities elsewhere. This doesn’t have to be.
Early voting starts soon. Don’t let the top of the ticket, Trump or Clinton, cloud your view of our local races. Let’s vote for change in Western Carolina.
Joan Cole — Hayesville, N.C.
Republican majority and vanishing tax credits
Your income went down, but your N.C. income tax went up. Is this possible? You bet. If you do your own taxes, read the What’s New section at the beginning of the instructions and you will find out why. Ever since Jim Davis and the Republican majority passed HB-998 in July of 2013, your tax benefits (that still exist in most other states) have been disappearing.
Do you work hard for each dollar you earn? No longer can you claim a tax credit for earned income.
Are you retired? Gone is the $2,000 or $4,000 (married) deduction from your taxable income. Nor is there any longer a deduction for being blind or over 65.
Do you have to put your children in daycare so that you can work a job to make ends meet? That credit has also vanished.
Are you hoping that your children can afford a college education? It just got harder with the elimination of the College Savings Program deduction by the N.C. legislature. And the list goes on.
Sure, Davis likes to tout the increased standard deduction, but when you figure in the vanished personal exemptions and missing credits, you don’t come out a winner.
And the flat rate tax ushered in by HB-998? Those of us with $30,000 of taxable income went from a 6.00% rate to a 5.75% rate, a $75 benefit. However, those with $200,000 of taxable income saw their rate drop from 7.75% to 5.75%, putting $4,000 right into their wallets.
And the sales tax additions are too numerous to mention in a single letter, but it is obvious to all of us that they hit the lower income group the hardest, that group carrying the wealthy on their backs.
Senator Davis’s negative tax changes are bad enough, but the spin that appears in our mailboxes is even worse.
Jane Hipps, through her long career in public service, has shown that she cares, and will work for, our quality of life. We will all be better off when she goes to Raleigh as Senator Hipps.
Doug Woodward — Franklin, N.C.