OUR READERS' OPINIONS

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Commissioners should put

tax increase before the voters

The Sunday editorial on the proposed tax hike to fund the county social services brought to light issues that should be considered before any funds are raised.

I was unable to attend the meeting and many others couldn’t as well. This in no way should be construed that I am for or against the proposal, and that is why the general public should have the opportunity to vote on it, as suggested, in the next primary or general election.

I too would like to know how much money, including the building it is buying, is currently being spent for mental-health services and substance abuse. Part of democracy is allowing the people’s voices to be heard.

Sandra Vande Hey

Walla Walla

Support appreciated for fundraiser for troops, families

The Walla Walla Elks 287 Vets committee would like to express appreciation to the community for its support during its Baked Potato Dinner on April 2.

The funds raised will go to fund the Elks program for troops overseas. This fund supports local groups in their efforts to send care packages to deployed service members and support their families here at home.

There was a wonderful turnout and there are plans host another dinner in the coming weeks.

The committee appreciates Wildhorse Resort & Casino and the Walla Walla Sweets, who generously donated items to the raffle. Also, Judy Peasley, Diane Mires, and their classrooms, donated their time and energy to sending the packages to our service members overseas for the 2010-2011 school year.

Shelley Murphy

Elks Veterans Committee chairman

Walla Walla

Commissioners should support tax increase for mental health

Have you noticed how our world seems increasingly difficult and challenging, with compounded stress and anxieties?

Some folks have the added disadvantage of having some form of mental illness; others turn to addictive self-medication which can result in even more troubles.

It’s in everyone’s interest that our county commissioners vote yes on the skinny little percentage of a sales tax to be used specifically for treatment to help folks who are tipping over the edge.

One tiny penny on a $10 purchase is a good humanitarian investment in our fellow citizens who need help.

Candace Rose

Walla Walla

Nation must not continue

to ignore increasing debt

For 30 years I’ve watched with astonishment as our nation sinks ever deeper into debt, even during times of peace and prosperity. A long, sorry procession of so-called "debt ceilings," pay-as-you-go rules and balanced-budget proposals have all failed miserably.

Today, having achieved the shameful distinction of world’s greatest debtor nation, we project massive trillion dollar deficits to continue indefinitely. Yet serious austerity proposals enrage the entitlement-minded. And every effort to trim deficits, even by just a few percent, generates a national political crisis.

Our president ignores the recommendations of his own debt commission. To Washington politicians, "deficit reduction" now means accruing massive additional debt forever, just at slightly less than this year’s unprecedented rate of $1.6 trillion.

Why is it allowed to continue? A socialist president? An irresponsible Congress? Greedy special interests? Too many on the federal dole?

Political efforts to control debt fail because chronic deficits are not a political problem. They are a moral problem.

Americans crave programs more than liberty. We covet benefits for which we have not labored. We elect representatives who mock their constitutional oaths by dishonoring the very principles they swear to uphold.

Our lust for entitlements and our shameful envy of centralized European systems has produced a massive, uncontrollable bureaucracy that enslaves the people with debt, regulation and intergenerational social dependency.

The corrupting influence of federal plunder has rendered us a nation of competing interest groups: retirees, farmers, minorities, the rich, the poor, local governments, public employee unions, corporations, global interventionists and multitudes of so-called "charities" and corrupt "health care" and "community organizations."

The federal government has degenerated into the agent of these plunder groups that take whatever they can through Congress, the executive branch or the courts. We have become a nation of hypocrites, extolling our compassion for the children as we lay up for them a heritage of perpetual debt, taxation and insolvency.

Our self-destructive behavior poses fundamental questions: Have government giveaways irreparably corrupted the character of the people? Has the Great Experiment failed? Can Americans still be considered a self-governing people?

The Bible teaches that parents ought to lay up for the children, but the great American Ponzi scheme forces the children to lay up for the parents. Our spending dysfunction is not merely selfish, irrational, and short-sighted, it is sinful.

Restoring fiscal integrity and national honor will require not only political commitment, but discipline, sacrifice and repentance.

Lorne Blackman

Walla Walla

More revenue, spending cuts

are both needed for budget

I have followed with keen interest over the past several months the discussions regarding federal deficits and debts on this page and at other sources.

As the discussion goes forth, there are at least three viewpoints to examine. As background, with few exceptions, receipts to the federal government have been 17-18 percent of Gross Domestic Product for at least the last 60 years. Federal spending over the same time, has been 2-5 percentage points higher, again with a few exceptions, hence the increase in debt.

Federal spending is currently about 25 percent of GDP, with the deficit at about $1.5 trillion annually.

The first viewpoint considers that the tax cuts of the last decade cost the Treasury around $3 trillion over a decade, with about $1 trillion associated with cuts to the top marginal rate ($100 billion/year). Therefore, letting the top rate expire would cover about 1/15 of the current deficit. Letting all the rates expire would cover about 1/5 of the deficit. Is this a good solution?

A second viewpoint shows that the total net worth of the Forbes 400 is about $1.5 trillion just barely covering the deficit if all their assets went to the Treasury. But that would be a one time fix. Granted the top 1 percent of taxpayers covers more than the Forbes 400, but this does put some perspective on the problem.

Does anyone think increasing the top rate by 45 percentage points will close the gap?

A third viewpoint shows that many major corporations pay no income tax in the United States on what appears to be substantial profits. Checking many of them and applying the top corporate rate, there might be an increase to the Treasury of around $50 billion (1/30 of the current deficit). Would higher rates create a linear increase in revenue?

All told, deficit and debt should be a major concern of all of us, both nationally and personally. Serious discussions need to be held that cover both spending cuts and revenue enhancements as one or the other alone will not solve the problem.

Alfred Cummins

Walla Walla

Dogs in laps can be major distractions to drivers

At the present time, when driver distraction is cited by many in law enforcement as being one of the more significant causes of vehicle accidents, I was very disappointed in the large color photograph on the front page of the April 1 edition of the Union Bulletin.

It would seem obvious that driver distraction caused by two small dogs bouncing around on a driver’s lap on the left side of a vehicle could be a greater distraction than talking on a cell phone. After all, a cell phone does not move around and directly impact a driver’s ability to steer a vehicle.

The photograph might be cute to some, but I would suggest some discretion in the use of any similar photographs in future publications.

Tom Hildreth

Walla Walla

Amount of pension increase wrong in editorial

I read with interest your April 1 editorial. One major fact is incorrect. There is no way anyone who worked for the state government prior to 1977 receives a $790 increase in one year.

A plan 1 member receives $1.88 per year of experience. The most years one can claim is 30. If you take $1.88 times 30 you come up with $676.80.

Now you must remember some members could retire at age 52 and not receive a COLA until they are 66. You don't qualify for a COLA until age 66. That means they could go 14 years without any increase in their pensions.

You are very correct in stating that the Legislature spent its portion of the penson payments. We as an organization warned both the Republicans and the Democrats they would have a huge deficit if they kept up the policy.

Also, a fact Olympia doesn't talk about is that 78 cents of the $1.88 is monies that were already awarded for excessive returns that the investments made during the good times.

If it removes the COLA, then it takes back money that was given to members.

Robert Fox

Treasurer

Walla Walla Columbia School Retirees Association

Walla Walla

Dinner at Rodger's Bakery is

one of Valley's hidden treasure

I want to tell you about the lovely dinner my family and I had at Rodger's Bakery. I don't know if this community knows about the delicious dinner that awaits them in the form of a spaghetti dinner. I was prepared to not like it because after all I make my own sauce and how can a bakery compare?

The dinner includes salad, which had a mixture of greens with olives and croutons and your choice of dressing, served nicely on a colorful plate served with a smile by knowledgeable staff. My picky 12 year old ate it without a complaint.

Next was the generous serving of spaghetti, whole wheat or white, with a choice of four different sauces and homemade garlic bread on the side. I had the meat sauce but they offer vegetarian, which on my next visit I plan to order.

I have to admit it was as good as mine and believe me when I say that never happens.

It was all served in a timely matter and in a clean surrounding. If you are a true foodie, please check out this hidden treasure.

Lauren Page

Walla Walla

Answer to our problems: Get rid of Obama and ‘Drill Baby Drill'

A letter on April 3 asked: How could Congress run up $14 trillion in debt?

I have tried to explain this in the U-B in the past and apparently without much success.

This is how it has happened over the years. In 2010 we spent $337 billion borrowed dollars for 425 billion barrels of crude oil all the while having the largest proven reserves of crude in the world.

If you go back and do your research you will find the vast majority of the Bush years of deficit spending was for oil. Yes 9-11 and the ramping up of security and two wars contributed.

Now let me explain what $337 billion of borrowed money as well as reminding everyone that under Obama:

Government spending has increased 21.4 percent.

The federal government has gained 80,000 jobs.

11 million more people are collecting food stamps.

Welfare spending has increased 54 percent.

The number of unemployed Americans is 13.9 million.

Obama spent $800 billion plus on a stimulus bill that did not work.

Add the trillions spent, then add the interest that's accumulating from all the borrowed money and you have $14 trillion!

And finally you must realize that socialism and income redistribution are expensive!

Hang on! If Obama could have his way you would not be seeing anything yet. "Change you can believe in," is change this nation can't afford! 2012 is the year America can correct its mistake.

"Drill Baby Drill" would be creating millions of good paying jobs, your energy and food bills would drop dramatically and we could be exporting oil, lowering our national debt.

Enough said, figure it out from here.

Robert Jackson

Walla Walla

Thief took object that holds memories for patrons

Not long ago, someone thought it would be funny to steal a leather cup that a bunch of people enjoyed rolling dice for fun and enjoyment at a local coffee shop.

The cup has a lot of heartfelt value to it because of all the names initialed on it.

On this cup are the names of very good friends, and the ones that have circles around them is a representation of their passing away. So ya see, there is more to this cup than people think and now we no longer have it.

I truly hope whomever took it is proud of himself/herself because no one else is.

The cup was made of leather from the boots my father had on when he passed away, so whomever took it, enjoy it because we no longer can.

Irvin L. Powell

Milton-Freewater

New site for Walla Walla Gun Club should be supported

I sure liked the article on the Walla Walla Gun Club moving to a new location west of Walla Walla.

Also appreciated Sheriff Turner's support for this new location and eventual facilities.

If this gets established like we hope it will it will be an asset to this community.

I do hope we will see community support for this planned new facility.

Most people who utilize gun club ranges do so for the satisfaction to see how accurate they are on the range. Even in small family groups there is a bit of spirit with bragging about how good they are In friendly competition.

It should be noted that many citizens who utilize a gun club are not hunters. However, many of them, as myself, are conservationists.

Carl A. Nuthak

Walla Walla

America seems to have disappeared from sight

Where has my America gone?

I search for you daily. I hear your clear, sweet voice just at the edge of the valley. I call for you and run to the valley's end but you are not there. Your promises echo through my mind as I sit and rest.

Where are you now defender of the oppressed upholder of the weak and affirmed? How have you slipped back into the darkness of greed and hate? What evil magician has put this spell on you?

I shall take up my sword and kill this interloper who has changed you so drastically.

Where is the brotherhood and sisterhood that built this America?

I loath this fighting over scraps instead of working shoulder to shoulder to do the things we used to do so well. Like lifting up the downtrodden, welcoming the poor huddling masses, and being our brother's and sister's keeper.

I know my America is here somewhere and I shall search until it reappears.

Steven Leroy Rusch

Walla Walla

Parents deserve tax

break for private schools

A story in the April 5 Union-Bulletin reports that the Supreme Court has upheld Arizona's tax break for school choice. But the report wrongly claims the tax credit "pays" for church schools.

As one wag quipped, it seems that way only to politicians who think it's their money in the first place!

Parents pay, because they are the primary educators of their children. The larger community rightly helps parents in this task by providing various schools, and parents rightly support the schools to which they send their children, as their means allow.

Often parents will generously pay for schooling over and above what their tax dollars already support. When they shoulder this double burden (public and private), they often pay more than their fair share to support our schools.

So it is fitting their taxes be reduced accordingly, as they are for other charitable contributions.

In any case the Arizona tax credit is only $500 per donor - a tiny fraction of the many thousands of dollars required for the schooling of a single child.

The report decries this decision as "a potentially far-reaching loss for defenders of the separation of church and state" as if school choice and religious liberty are opposed.

I, for one, am both pro-choice and pro-liberty here. Aren't you?

David H. Carey

Walla Walla

People need to take much

better care of their animals

I live in Dayton and often drive to Walla Walla. I love the drive, lots of beauty and interesting things going on.

However, I become sad each time I drive on U.S. Highway 12. I am afraid of horses, but feel they are beautiful animals, and I love dogs and feel everyone who can have them should.

I see constantly horses in pens with no grass, only mud to stand in, some without even a lean-to to get in out of the rain. They are coated with mud on many residences, not combed or loved or taken care of. Their food is thrown on the ground in the mud and that is it.

Then I drive on and see dogs in pens the size a gerbil should be in just sitting there with their heads down and tails between their legs. One residence has the dog pen way out in a pasture, what is up with that? The dogs are just standing there with their heads down.

I get so sad that people treat their animals this way. Why are they allowed to do this? Just my opinion but if you can't take care of the animals and keep them clean, loved and healthy, what are you doing with them in the first place?

I lived on a farm most of my life, raised pigs, cattle, chickens, goats, turkeys, pheasants, dogs and cats and never did I let them sleep in mud, get dirty and not be clean and healthy. Their pens were cleaned every day, twice, and they were loved.

Kathy Jacobson

Dayton

Letters welcome

The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin welcomes letters to the editor on subjects of general interest. Our address is P.O. Box 1358, Walla Walla, WA 99362.

If possible, e-mail letters to letters@wwub.com.

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