The Macon County News letters page is a public forum open to a wide variety of opinions. Letters are neither accepted nor rejected on the basis of the opinions expressed. Writers are asked to refrain from personal attacks against individuals or businesses. Letters are not necessarily reflective of the opinions of the publisher, editor or staff of The Macon County News. Email letters to maconcountynews@ gmail.com.
Recent tax cuts didn’t have desired effect
Today the American economy is strong. The percentage of American unemployed is down, the Dow Jones industrial average is north of 25,000 and millions of jobs, most of which require some degree of higher education, are going unfilled. So what kinds of jobs are available to people without much education? Jobs that do not pay enough to live on. The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines a “working poor” person as someone below the poverty line who spent at least half the year either working or looking for employment. In 2016, there were roughly 7.6 million Americans who fell into this category. Most working poor people are over 35, while fewer than five in 100 are between the ages of 16 and 19. Over the last 40 years, corporate profits have risen, but real wages have remained flat for workers without a college education. Since 1973, American productivity has increased by 77 percent, while hourly pay has grown by only 12 percent. If the federal minimum wage tracked productivity, it would be more than $20 an hour, not today’s poverty wage of $7.25. One of the most effective antipoverty solutions is a decent-paying job, scarce as they are. Today, 41.7 million laborers — nearly a third of the American work force — earn less than $12 an hour, and almost none of their employers offer health insurance. The most recent tax cut package was supposed to raise wages and spur hiring, but instead a record amount of stock buybacks and dividend payouts took place after the tax cut, benefiting investors and company executives over workers. How much did corporation benefit from this tax cut? The Commerce Department said that after-tax profits across the U.S. rose 16.1% in the quarter ended June 30 from a year earlier, the largest year-over-year gain in six years. Because of the lower corporate tax rate signed into law last year, taxes paid by U.S. companies in that quarter were down 33% from a year earlier, according to the government data, or more than $100 billion at an annual rate. “More than 70 percent of this [tax cut] will be returned to workers,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at a January press conference. However, companies have instead used the extra cash to spend billions of dollars buying back their own stock, boosting the value of shares held by investors. Buybacks reduce the number of shares on the market, immediately increasing the value of the shares that investors already hold. Over the past year, S&P 500 companies have given their shareholders a record $1 trillion in the form of buybacks and dividends. Clearly, there is enough corporate profit to share with employees, but large corporations act as if there is no incentive to share profitability with their workers who drive corporate success but live below the poverty level. In July, the White House Council of Economic Advisers issued a report endorsing work requirements for the nation’s largest welfare programs. The council favored “negative incentives,” which means recipients must work to receive aid, and the council dismissed “positive incentives,” like tax benefits for low-income workers, because the former is cheaper. The council also claimed that America’s welfare policies have brought about a “decline in self-sufficiency,” a claim that has no factual basis, and which maligns every member of the working poor who need assistance to feed, clothe, and shelter their families. One of the claims made by ardent supporters of a “pure free market capitalism” is that a rising economy necessarily lifts up the financial fortunes of all members of society, including the poor. Unfortunately, the need for public assistance is a direct result of the failure of capitalism to deliver on that promise.
John Barry – Franklin, N.C.
A sin or a crime?
According to Joe Marusak, reporter for the Charlotte Observer, Evangelist Franklin Graham made this remark on his Christian Broadcasting Network – “Well, there wasn’t a crime that was committed. These are two teenagers and it’s obvious that she said no and he respected it and walked away.” She is Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. He is Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s nominee for Supreme Court Justice. My! My! A relevant question for Preacher Frank is this-How in the hell do you know anything at all about this alleged incident? Have you had access to some type of forensic investigation? Have you conducted your own? Preacher Frank, did Jesus really say these words-“Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Matthew 5:23-24 KJV Do you know if Judge Kavanaugh has been to the altar regarding Dr. Ford? How do you “know” how to judge in this matter? Is this a sin or a crime, Preacher Frank?
Dave Waldrop – Webster, N.C.
Flood is coming from a different direction
This letter is in reply to the one referencing an oncoming flood. I agree, and my first reaction was that we were on the same track, but then the writer diverged drastically from my train of thought. I believe in checks and balance between the three branches of government and agree that it isn’t working as it should. Congress is trying to check the executive branch by requesting documents from the DOJ and FBI but is being resisted by them. I think congress has been too lax in its oversight responsibility and it is mostly the Democrats who want to give executive agencies carte blanche. What is not a legitimate check and balance is for the executive branch to undermine its chief executive which is what is happening. Democrats want to shirk congressional oversight and then subvert the duly-elected president and his choices with lies, innuendo, obstruction and smears. We were a divided nation long before Donald Trump took office. Bush was branded as Hitler and Bush Derangement Syndrome was recognized. When Obama came in we were divided further along racial and other political lines. Although there were a lot of people unhappy with what he was doing, there was not an attempt to drive him from office by foul means. The press minimized or ignored any unseemly activities that took place, i.e., the Fast and Furious gun running scandal; the IRS targeting conservative groups; lying about what happened at Benghazi; if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor, etc. Donald Trump did not divide us; we were already divided. After the election, Hillary, the Democrats and the press would not accept the outcome and ran a totally bogus disinformation and smear campaign about Russian collusion. At the last debate before the election Hillary was in high dudgeon when Trump didn’t immediately say he would accept the outcome of the election calling it dangerous to our democracy. Of course; she was going to win! Since she didn’t win, look at the song she’s been singing. Is no one’s stomach turned by rank hypocrisy anymore? Trump was concerned about the possibility of the illegal vote being the crucial difference in the election. Thankfully it wasn’t. However, I’m sure that there were more votes cast by illegals than were influenced by Russia. And she had Facebook and Google on her side! Nobody was concerned about Russia anyway until they lost and no skullduggery is beneath those who believe they are the only ones who should wield power. If you are worried about division look no further than that. The Democrat party has largely self-segregated into a power hungry mob whose moral boundaries are those they impose, true or false – makes no difference, on their opponents without being concerned with observing them themselves and blanketing themselves with excuses. Witness the fraudulent Mueller “investigation” and the Kavanaugh circus. Be not deceived; they don’t want you to think for yourself, or to have a life they don’t hold in their hands, and if you have any money they’ll be glad to take that, too. Yes, there is a flood coming, but many are looking for it in the wrong direction. Donald Trump has his finger in the dike. We should support him to repair it to hold back the flood.
David Parker – Franklin, N.C.
Witch hunt will not yield the truth
This commentary is not whether Judge Kavanaugh is guilty or innocent but where the Democrats are taking our justice system. In the 1980s, there was a witch hunt going on and everyone followed the events like sheep. Some may remember the story where three different day care centers were accused of child abuse. In one case in LA, they were accused of killing and eating babies. The case went to trial but the judge would not allow 3 and 4 year old children to testify in court. Eventually, no babies were found to be missing, and lacking evidence, the owners of the day care centers were exonerated. This sort of thing happened in Miami, Fla., as well as Wilmington, N.C. State’s attorneys jumped on these cases thinking they had uncovered some sort of horrible baby eating witches covens but all three cases were eventually dropped. I think it was CBS using hidden cameras demonstrated kids will make up stories. They had a doctor examine a little girl and she later told a story of how the doctor had molested her. Some of you may remember the story of some 25 years ago. We’ve already seen where SWAT teams and the FBI burst into offices and homes hoping they can find something incriminating. Now, the Democrats are trying to do the same sort of thing to Judge Kavanaugh. The Democrats are demanding Judge Kevanaugh testify in the Senate hearings first and then have Professor Ford testify. Imagine if you will, you are in court and are told to testify to the jury before the prosecutor tells you what the charges are. How in the world could you defend yourself if you do not know the details of the charges? It would be impossible to defend yourself. By the way, a Senator from Hawaii has said he should be denied a fair hearing because of his political views. This sort of move has been typical of new Socialist governments. If you recall Hugo Chavez got rid of all the politicians and judges in Venezuela and replaced them with fellow Socialists. However this matter turns out, it is a dark period in our history and should be a warning to us all lest we lose our freedom and liberty so precious to us. As of now, you are guilty until proven innocent. Yes, you too. There is no possible way for Kavanaugh to prove his innocence and there is no possible way for Professor Ford to prove he assaulted her. We have to be careful because there have been a number of similar instances when a female charged someone with assault only to find out that she was getting revenge on the man because he rejected her advances. It does happen. Additionally, men and women, do fanaticize about things that never occurred. If it did happen the real truth of this case will never be known because it is his word against her word. Consider Judge Kavanaugh and Professor Ford were not much more than kids in high school and kids do some pretty stupid things at that age. Shouldn’t we just people by what they are now rather than when they were kids?
Bob Wilson – Franklin, N.C.
Question everything: especially mainstream media
I once saw a bumper sticker that said, “Question Everything!” Not bad advice. That’s because healthy skepticism promotes thinking. I didn’t vote for Donald Trump in the primary. But I have since learned some things about him that I admire very much. He has a rare quality that we would all do well to emulate: He listens. He is respectful of others, as long as they don’t attack him unfairly. He does fight back when attacked, and I think that’s okay. When Kim Kardashian approached him to present a case for Alice Johnson’s pardon, he listened and used the power of his office to set Alice free, even though he and Kim don’t see eye to eye politically. He doesn’t seem to like to use his power to go after people who are critical of him, like Obama did with Dinesh D’Souza, and many others. Thankfully, Trump saw the injustice of making a political prisoner out of him, and pardoned him also. Some people object to his use of Twitter. But I recognize that the mainstream medica (MSM) is totally against him. He is limited in his ability to communicate to the American people, because the media will not report fairly. I hear many accuse him of lying. But when I ask for an example, they are unable to give one. And if they do, it is invariably a line from the MSM, which can’t bring themselves to say anything that portrays Trump in a good light. There has been a plethora of letters excoriating Trump for “separating families at the border.” I read a fine article in the National Review which explains the problem objectively, and I came to a much better understanding of how difficult it is to handle the border situation. I also learned that policies have not changed since 1992 when the law was passed to separate children from adults until the adults could be vetted to make sure they actually were the children’s parents, and that they did not have a criminal history. Also, families are not separated by as many miles, or for as long as they were under the Obama administration. And the Trump administration is really trying to stem the tide of illegal aliens crossing the border by simply enforcing laws that are already on the books. If they are bad laws, it is Congress’ responsibility to change them. If not, they should be enforced. To not do so is to make a mockery of our laws. Do you remember how the Obama administration sued the state of Arizona for enforcing the border laws that the federal government refused to enforce? We simply cannot take care of all the people who might want to get into our country. There should be a merit system. People need to prove that they would be an asset to our country in order to get in. They need to be vetted to see if they have a criminal record, and if so, they should not be allowed in. We have let way too many in already, because one party likes to buy their votes with benefits at the taxpayers’ expense. That party also opposes voter ID laws because they make it harder to steal elections. Encouraged by Obama, an estimated 2 to 3 million illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election. Those who believe the MSM that somehow the Trump administration abuses the children of illegal aliens should listen to Candace Owens. She toured an ICE facility in Broward County, Florida, with her camera crew, and describes it as nicer than any public school she has ever seen. Telephones line the entire place, open until 11 p.m., every night. They have sand volleyball courts, a soccer field, basketball courts, a library with computers, spacious dorm rooms, three times the size and nicer than her college dorms, 24-hour doctor on staff, a hairstyle salon, fancy cafeteria, with children laughing and having a good time, Zumba classes, arts and crafts, etc. She is not upset about how well these children are being treated. But she is mad as a hornet about the way the left lies about them being mistreated, while children of natural born U.S. citizens in our inner cities sometimes really are mistreated. It’s time for Americans to stop believing the lies of the MSM. It’s time to question everything.
Ed Hill – Franklin, N.C.
Thank you for helping save my life
This is a “Thank You” to the following for helping to save my life after my March 1, accident on the 441 bypass and Main Street in Franklin: Resurrection Lutheran Church; highway patrol and state troopers of Franklin; first responders of Franklin; Franklin Police and fire departments; Macon County Sheriff’s Office; EMS pilots and drivers; Angel Hospital; Mission Hospital and Care Partners; Eckerd Living Center in Highlands. I hope this reaches everyone who helped me.
Thank you. Sincerely, Barbara Jockers – Franklin, N.C.