The editor recommends two possible solutions to the $600 million deficit at the heart of the TennCare crisis: 1) Reformation of our tax system; and 2) an increase in the cigarette tax.
The recommendation to “reduce the regressive sales tax” and “spread the tax burden more equitably through a graduated income tax” simply means transferring the $600 million deficit to wealthier people. The use of the term “equitably” is misleading in the fact that it does not imply that everyone pay an equal dollar amount, but rather an equal percentage. Wealthier people do pay a smaller percentage of their income than do poorer people, but the wealthy pay a much larger dollar amount than do the poor. We live in an economic system in which product prices do not vary with respect to personal income levels. So why should taxes? And if it is right for the rich to pay taxes relative to their pay scale, then why not transfer this system to the rest of the economic world?
Increase cigarette tax: If a relatively high sales tax is regressive, then how is a cigarette tax not? If the editor is willing to present an argument defending the cigarette tax at all, then I will rescind my proposal to Mayor Haslam in support of a city tax on Ho-Hos and Ring-Dings due to their peculiar nature of administering adverse affects on our obese young.
Some other minor questions should also be addressed. If Tennessee did follow this plan to eliminate all 2005 TennCare cuts, what about next year? The budget for TennCare has increased by 160 percent since its 1994 inception. Is there some plan to stop its progression? Based on the UT study, the $600-million cut will cost 3,300 lives ($182,000 per person). What if we knew that we could save double that amount of people for $10 million a person? Would it be worth it? It’s only money, right?
What should have been asked at the Town Meeting is why people like the editor defend a system that is working in retrospect to its initial purpose: to make healthcare affordable for all people. It has accomplished just the opposite. It has made it even less affordable for the poor (and everyone else) and produced 1.3 million government dependents (20 percent of Tennesseans).
Back Out, Not Down
Such an argument is little more than jingoist propaganda, designed to reinforce the notion of “us versus them,” conjuring up images of hordes of fanatic enemies hell-bent on destroying us no matter what we do. Following the hysterical thinking, we can never back down because any sign of weakness would embolden our enemies.
A quick look at post-withdrawal Spain totally deflates the hysteria: Have further attacks been carried out on Spanish soil since? Has Spain even been publicly targeted for further attacks?
In a recent study of al Qaeda attacks, terrorism expert Robert Pape recently wrote “that Al Qaeda is today less a product of Islamic fundamentalism than of a simple strategic goal: to compel the United States and its Western allies to withdraw combat forces from the Arabian Peninsula and other Muslim countries,” a conclusion supported by most serious experts on the subject. Pape further realizes that “terrorists have not been fundamentally weakened but have changed course and achieved significant success” despite our military adventures
How much longer will we continue to support our leaders’ rosy outlooks, despite overwhelming evidence that we are only strengthening terrorists and killing people with our bombs?
No Reset Button
The military knows they need to make adjustments in order to increase recruitment, but they should not be allowed to take students’ private information.
The military has also started distributing video games in an effort to connect with young people. These games make war seem like a lot of fun, something that can be easily controlled, and if you get killed just hit the reset button!
In real life, dying or having your arm or leg blown off is nothing like a video game. It’s for real, and it’s permanent. Is a few thousand dollars for college three or four years down the road worth dying for?
Yet Dupree “knows” that the public documents released by the court are false. Several of these documents support the fact that a crime was not committed, contrary to Dupree’s opinion.
If Karl Rove violated law, he should be punished, but the system still presumes innocence until proven in court. And Karl Rove is not indicted even after two years. Therefore, Steve Dupree knows nothing about this case, unless he has access to grand jury testimony, in which case he violates law in revealing that.
Obviously the press and pretenders have freedom to publish, but there should be some degree of decorum. Unless you have purpose to politically destroy or demean the president or his staff.
I would like to see more articles of a positive truthful nature rather than the liberal diatribe that so often appears on pages of Metro Pulse .
Laws on the Stalk
Nationally, we debate laws prohibiting driving while using a cell phone, and in New Jersey they’re debating giving you a $250 fine if you’re observed smoking while driving.
How about we simply enforce the current law mandating the use of turning signals? I calculate a good 60 percent of you driving in Knoxville do not fanatically utilize that little stick protruding from your steering column.
How did I arrive at that percentage you ask? Here’s the secret formula. While stopped at a traffic light preparing to turn, count the total number of cars making the same turn you’re proposing to do, then count the number of cars using turning signals. If there are 10 cars surrounding you, and four are flashing that friendly indicator light, while six are not, that’s how you figure the percentage.
So, in the interest of public service, safer roads, fewer accidents, fewer traffic tie-ups, and a generally more conducive driving environment, let us give the local area police authorities our permission to begin relentlessly enforcing a simple driving law. And let us also thank Metro Pulse for giving me this opportunity to clear up the question affecting so many of you, and that is: What exactly is that little stick on the driving column for? The answer: It’s your turning signal. You push it down to show you’re making a left turn, you push it up when you are going to make a right turn and you do it, (now here’s the hard part) every time you turn or change lanes.
John A. Guerin
Guidelines for Incoming Mail