'Leaders' don't lead on progressive reform of tax code
Grateful to have a state budget, Kentuckians may be too forgiving of its lousy contents and the lack of political leadership that produced it.
Powerful leaders put the budget together behind closed doors, balancing it with "smoke and mirrors." It does not raise enough revenue, and its cuts impose new hardships in a time of need.
Raising any taxes, even on those who could pay, was unthinkable, but another round of tuition increases for college students was no problem. Leaders cut parks and mental health, then congratulated themselves on "making tough choices."
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Progressive legislators proposed an expanded earned income tax credit in House Bill 13, but leadership wanted no part of that.
HB 13 would have paid for the tax credit and raised $250 million in net revenue through "progressive" tax measures: small increases in the upper income tax brackets, sales taxes on selected services and restoration of the state's inheritance tax. The leaders and no-taxes crowd rejected these.
Powerful forces have long worked to turn citizens against the idea of "progressive taxation," that people should pay taxes according to their capacity to pay. Higher taxes on rich people are supposedly unfair and counter-productive. Yet there's no harm in cutting school budgets or imposing furloughs for state employees? Who among us, if and when we earn high income, wouldn't be willing and able to pay a couple of extra cents per dollar in taxes on such earnings? Perhaps if people lead, leaders will follow.
Erik L. Lewis
Heed the warnings
Dire warnings about the radical platform of Rand Paul come from several sources. The first I read was from a northeastern Kentucky Republican, Doug Spillman from Flatwoods, in The (Ashland) Independent, May 25, chiding his fellow Kentucky Republicans for failing to do their homework regarding Paul before voting.
Second, the media quoted Gov. Steve Beshear's troubling prospect of electing Paul as senator from Kentucky.
Third, a Herald-Leader editorial was published in The Independent June 2 regarding Rand Paul's blatant disrespect for the Civil Rights Act and the Disabilities Act.
How many more stern warnings must we have before Kentucky voters get the message? Or are party-line voters in Kentucky too prejudiced to heed any warnings.
It seems they will judge any criticism of Republican Party campaigning and voting as partisan. If so, no matter how much opponents, including wiser Republicans, seek to enlighten before the general election, partisan Republicans will not listen.
Of course, Rand Paul gets many of his perverse ideas from his father, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, and his book End the Fed. In that book, the elder Paul sees no good role for the federal government. Such a platform is troubling.
Costly baggage fee
Please be advised. A major airline charged my son $125 for baggage. He is in the Coast Guard and is being transferred from San Francisco, Calif., to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
This is ridiculous. He had five bags of which three were training materials. They tried to charge him $250 but he didn't have it.
Whatever happened to helping our military personnel?
Tea Party absurdity
I've pretty much stopped writing letters to editors, because I'm not sure it does much good; but the June 16 editorial, "Rand Paul's ideas crash into reality," so clearly and effectively said what I want to say, I can't resist.
I say, "Yes!" You have pinpointed the absurdity of the rallying cry of the Tea Party movement and others of their ilk. Thank you.
Show us the cuts
A recent Herald-Leader article stated that Rand Paul has pledged to write a balanced budget every year and to use the filibuster to protest other senators' deficit spending.
That's a great sound bite, but shouldn't we, the voters, know how he will come up with a balanced budget?
We know he'll lose the support of the Tea Party movement if he supports any type of tax increase, so a balanced budget will have to come solely from spending cuts.
The same Sunday paper also reported that, since a large part of Paul's income as an eye doctor comes from Medicare, he is against cutting Medicare spending (hypocrisy, thy name is Rand Paul).
Interest on the national debt must be paid. So, that leaves defense spending, cutting payments to existing Social Security recipients (which is paid from a dedicated tax both parties have plundered and are reluctant to pay back), unemployment, welfare, Medicaid, SCHIP and the other 20 percent, which goes to everything else government does.
Paul should give us the details of where he'll come up with $1 trillion in spending cuts from the federal budget. He should show us he's really serious about this before the election. If he's unwilling or unable to do so, he's a typical politician — full of sound and fury signifying nothing.
Obama's a leader
President Barack Obama gets a lot of flak from Republicans and the Tea Party movement no matter what he does on the oil spill or anything else. To them, he is doing nothing right.
Just who would be handling the oil spill situation better — John McCain, Sarah Palin, Michael Steele, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Bobby Jindal, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Rand Paul, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Joe the Plumber? What would they do better?
Self-proclaimed patriot Rush Limbaugh hopes Obama fails. How patriotic is that?
Obama is not a messiah, and he knows he isn't. He is a leader, despite GOP claims he is just another politician. But Republicans are determined to undermine his leadership in these most difficult times.
I hope Obama will continue to lead courageously and pray God will give him the wisdom to make correct "common good" decisions.
Paul L. Whiteley Sr.
In a community's life, there are notable events that help define our character and our possibilities. I believe the June 13 Blue Grass Airport runway event will turn out to be one of those days for the Lexington and Bluegrass area.
For more than 15,000 people to come out to participate in this event while meeting and talking with similarly motivated people should launch the Second Sunday effort with all of its internal benefits to a new level.
Both the airport CEO Eric Frankl and Urban County Councilman Jay McChord are to be congratulated for their vision. I'm looking forward to see what is next.