Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor, Jan. 30, 2014

Tax increase does not equal tax reform

I agree with Jason Bailey (Jan. 12) that Kentucky needs to reform its tax structure. However, his column equates reform with raising taxes. I am not ready to oppose raising taxes. But more money is not per se reform.

Real reform requires an evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of every government program — their importance to Kentucky's welfare, how well they accomplish their goals, how much bang for the buck taxpayers get. Meaningful tax reform requires these answers.

I agree that tax reform must be fair. However, it is not easy to obtain agreement on the meaning of fairness. Bailey's definition implies that the burden should be distributed in proportion to ability to pay, an assumption which most of us share. The fly in the ointment is the definition of "proportion." Men and women of goodwill should be able to reach agreement on this crucial issue.

Finally, tax reform should require a biennial justification and/or a sunset provision for new programs. These program evaluations must include a cost-benefit analysis of the regulations required to implement every government program. I am convinced that most of us will readily approve the revenue to implement programs that have just as readily justified their existence.

I suspect that Bailey and I have different assumptions about the ability of government to solve social and economic problems. We do agree on the importance of good government. Hopefully we can cooperate on tax reform, as long as it is reform and not merely higher taxes.

J. Robert Ross


Primarily Bevin

Pundits increasingly say that Sen. Mitch McConnell is fighting a political war on two fronts, with the Tea Party on one side and Alison Lundergan Grimes on the other. I'd agree that McConnell has a lot to worry about in the primary, so much so that McConnell doesn't need to worry about the general election at all, because he won't be invited to that party.

Compare Kentucky's current U.S. Senate race with the one in 2010, when grass-roots Kentucky voters pushed Rand Paul to a 23- point primary landslide over McConnell's handpicked heir apparent to the throne, and tore a big chunk out of McConnell's RINO hide in the process.

The polling will continue to slide in Matt Bevin's direction, with the crossover occurring in late February or March.

Then, it's all over. McConnell is well known in Kentucky, but very disliked, and that includes among Republican primary voters.

He can spend millions on vicious attack ads and not move the needle at all. Kentucky voters are no longer buying what he's selling.

Bruce Layne


Hard work needed

I used to belong to a forum that was supposed to be about brainstorming new ideas to help to clean up the environment and found it to be a political group, like the Climate Reality Project.

It seems most groups do not want to do the work that would bring about meaningful change but do want the credit for it.

With the climate warming, there may be a few beneficial things we can do. One would be to divert some of the discharge water from cooling towers for nuclear power plants. Unless radiation leaks, the water would be safe for industrial or possibly even domestic use.

And by limiting the amount that we heat our rivers, our water systems could continue to help regulate our atmosphere by absorbing extra heat during the day which would be released at night through entropy.

I have a design for wind turbines which, if successful, could improve their efficiency and possibly bring needed jobs to Central Kentucky. If there is one thing that I have learned from the projects that I am working on, it is that it takes time and hard work to make things happen.

James A. Lindgaard


Attack without merit

Dr. Cameron Schaeffer, in "Duty to Die" (Jan. 19), resurrects the "death panel" allegation against the Affordable Care Act. This attack has no more merit today than when it was first raised.

The ACA provides for an Independent Payment Advisory Board, empowered to achieve specified savings in Medicare without affecting coverage or quality. It revises payments to health care providers when necessary. Its actions can be overruled by Congress.

Under past law, changes to Medicare payments were recommended by MedPAC and required congressional approval.

Fair-minded observers recognize the board for what it is: a system to reallocate health care resources when necessary. It does not provide for eliminating services for persons of a certain age or health status. It does not relegate anyone to death status.

Schaeffer appears to be among those who will say almost anything, no matter how misleading, to discredit the Affordable Care Act. These people cannot accept that the act provides a workable approach to providing health care to uninsured Americans — an approach based on Republican ideas and first implemented by Republican Gov. Mitt Romney.

Schaeffer has a First Amendment right to write almost anything he wants, whether based in fact or not. It's up to the public to sort things out, with the help of knowledgeable observers. Hopefully it will do so.

There is no "death panel." The ACA provides for periodic review of the use of our health care resources. We should be thankful for it.

Collins Owens

Fort Mitchell

Real death panel

Some conservative politicians have made unsubstantiated claims of impending death panels. As much as I hate to say it, I agree.

However, the death panel I see is not an impending aspect of Obamacare. My death panel actively advocates cutting SNAP (food stamps), defunding access to affordable medical care, freezing the minimum wage and opposing extended long-term unemployment insurance. Any group who advocates denying food, medical care and salary support is well qualified for my death panel. The panel's motto is obvious, "Let the lazy ba#*!@ds die!"

Tim Ashmore


Free to win more

In the first four games the University of Kentucky men's basketball team has lost, they missed 16 free throws against Michigan State and lost by four points, missed 11 free throws against Baylor and lost by five, missed 14 free throws against North Carolina and lost by five and missed 14 free throws against Arkansas and lost by two. Average of 60.05 percent.

Some will say turnovers killed us, but if the boys could get their free throw percentage up to the high 60s, they would have at least lost only once. Yes, they do not need to turn over the ball as much, but if they can make a free shot, they would win a lot of games.

I am a concerned Cat.

Steve Lair

Port Arthur, Texas