Igor 1 month ago on Unintentional gun-related injuries on upswing

While I can certainly agree that we can and should do a better job of keeping firearms out of the hands of the lunatics (the Toomey-Manchin bill would have required background checks for private sales with the same prohibition on retaining private ownership information just as the Brady law does now with dealer sales), I cannot understand why you think the issue is related to the environment or why you consider it a public health issue. What am I missing?

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Igor 1 month, 1 week ago on Letter - Unintended consequences of legal marijuana

Just because something raises revenue does not make it a winner. Why not legalize heroin and cocaine too? I spent a year in Vietnam and I can tell you from first hand experience that pot smoking makes people worthless and ineffective in combat. I've never known a pot smoker that was worth the powder to blow him to hell. Don't we have enough problems with booze already?

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Igor 1 month, 1 week ago on Senate rejection of Obama nominee troubling, chilling

This is not a response to PearlY or NewInWW. I'm trying to respond to the Editorial itself. Some day I may actually learn how to work my computer machine.

I agree with your editorials 95% of the time but I have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. My first reaction to the opposition to the nomination of Debo was the same as yours, namely, that Adegbile should not be rejected simply because he defended a heinous cop-killer. Without zealous and competent defense attorneys for each accused, our justice system would be a sham.

However, the provision of a zealous and competent defense does not require that the attorney for the accused inject race-baiting politics into the trial. Adegbile turned our justice system on its head with his unfounded and unproven allegations of racism. This is the main reason why he was rejected, not because he defended a cop-killer.

I understand that some may call Adegbile’s unethical behavior legitimate trial tactics, but I disagree. The following excerpt from a letter to Obama from the National Fraternal Order of Police illustrates better than anything why the Senate, including, to their credit, a few Democrats, rejected Debo.

”We are aware of the tried and true shield behind which activists of Adegbile’s ilk are wont to hide — that everyone is entitled to a defense; but surely you would agree that a defense should not be based on falsely disparaging and savaging the good name and reputation of a lifeless police officer. Certainly any legal scholar can see the injustice and absence of ethics in this cynical race-baiting approach to our legal system.”

If the divisions between the races in our Country are ever to be healed they won’t be healed by people like Debo who, like so many of his supporters in our current Administration, want only to foment racial discord for political ends.

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Igor 1 month, 1 week ago on Letter - In science, it is verifiable results that matter

Outstanding letter. Science is never "settled." Those that want to close the door to legitimate debate almost always have a political agenda, which is certainly the case with the AGW proponents. 600 years ago the Roman Catholic Church burned Giordano Bruno at the stake for proclaiming that our planet was not the center of the universe. At that time the "fact" that the earth was the center of the universe was "settled science" for all good Catholics. History is replete with events like this. The "peer-reviewed study" and "settled science" mantra advanced ad nauseam by the Left demonstrates scientific immaturity.

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Igor 2 months, 2 weeks ago on Letter - Is Republican stand hypocritical?

The Department of State Operations and Embassy Security Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2014 (H.R. 2848) is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives during the 113th United States Congress. The bill would authorize $17,573,992,000 to be appropriated to improve the security of U.S. Embassies throughout the world. If the bill were enacted, it would be the first time in ten years that a State Department authorizations bill was passed by Congress. How then can you claim that Republican budget cuts hundreds of millions from embassy security?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/barbara-boxers-claim-that-gop-budgets-hampered-benghazi-security/2013/05/15/d1e295cc-bdb0-11e2-97d4-a479289a31f9_blog.html

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Igor 2 months, 3 weeks ago on Letter - Raising minimum wage hurts the economy

MyFamNews,

Good retort! I’m not an economist either so I’ll defer to Dr. Philpot on your question. But don’t hold your breath because he’s not a blogger. That said, I did major in Econ and took classes in Price Theory, Income Theory, Money and Banking, History of Economic Thought, etc. Plus I continue to read as much on the subject as time allows.

The problem with the field of economics is that, as with all social sciences, politics tends to rear its ugly head far too often. But even the hard sciences are not immune from this problem. Witness the debate over “climate change,” fka “global warming.” Nevertheless, I continue to believe that the truth is out there somewhere.

A wag once said, “Economics is the only field in which two people can share a Nobel Prize for saying opposing things.” True, I suppose, but there are some things that most economists apparently do agree on and one of them, as explained by Dr. Philpot, is the negative socio-economic impacts of minimum wage laws.

Though I certainly cannot speak for Dr. Philpot, I suspect that he might tell us that without the Washington State minimum wage, unemployment would be even lower in our Evergreen State than it is presently. In any event, that’s what I believe. Can I prove it? No more than the Left can prove that the recession would have been even worse but for Obama’s “shovel ready” stimulus.

The Right and the Left are still fighting the Keynes v. Hayek battle. Though I’ve not read The General Theory, I’ve read enough about Keynes to know that he was anything but a socialist and would probably agree with Dr. Philpot on the negative impacts of minimum wage laws.

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Igor 2 months, 3 weeks ago on Letter - Raising minimum wage hurts the economy

Great letter! I don't think that there's a respectable economist on either side of the political spectrum that disagrees with you. The puzzlement is how politicians can continue to score points with this nonsense. As you observe, raising the minimum wage hurts the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society. The fact that 63% of the electorate supports minimum wage laws show just how ignorant and poorly educated we are. Downright frightening.

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Igor 2 months, 3 weeks ago on Rising inequality is real

You’re right. When I clicked it took me to the first few lines of the article but you couldn’t read the rest without an online subscription. I originally read the article in the paper edition. I was able to pull it off the net by Googling “Grady, Obsession, Inequality and WSJ.” If you want to read the whole thing you can access it through Google.

Common sense and everything I’ve read about the minimum wage suggests that raising it beyond what the market will support will be a job killer and likely hurt the poor the most. Minimum wage jobs were never intended to pay enough to raise a family. The profit margin in the fast food industry is extremely small. Raising the minimum wage for fast food workers will result in the loss of jobs and the increase in the cost of a Big Mac. Like you, I’m opposed.

I did not mean to suggest that there is anything wrong with a progressive tax system or that the wealthy should not pay more. My comments were aimed at the proposals of some on the left that are advocating radical redistribution, i.e., confiscatory taxation on the earnings of higher earners. The effects of 90 plus marginal rates during WWII were debilitating.

Every time taxes have been lowered (Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan and Bush) the economy took off like a rocket. Like Laffer, I believe that revenues are maximized when we rates are at an optimal level. Too high or too low revenues will drop and the economy generally suffers too. I agree with you that everyone should pay his “fair share” but I’m not sure that we define “fair share” the same way. In my mind, taxpayers in the same category should pay the same so, like you, I’m appalled that some big corporations with high earnings pay little or no taxes. Reform is needed to prohibit this.

Likewise I’m disgusted when wealthy individuals are able to avoid paying their “fair share” through loopholes and tax accounting tricks. Again, reform is the answer. However, I don’t agree that confiscatory rates for the wealthy are appropriate. The top 10% routinely pays 70% of all income taxes. The bottom 50% pays barely 2%. What’s fair? I don’t pretend to know the answer but I do know, as a small businessman, that hamstringing people that work hard to get ahead and expand their business is bad economic policy.

I appreciate your thoughtful comments and agree with everything you say but for one thing, i.e., your remark that wealth is being “redistributed” to the top. While it’s true that those at the top are earning more than ever before (CEO pay at an obscene level), I don’t review this as “redistribution.” If the top CEOs were not worth what they’re earning then the boards and shareholders would not be paying them their obscene salaries. I don’t pretend to know the answer but limiting what people like this can be paid truly would smack of socialism.

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Igor 2 months, 4 weeks ago on Rising inequality is real

Though I rarely agree with you, I always enjoy your thoughtful, well written letters. Sunday’s letter is no exception. To toss it back, virtually all of the data cited by Obama and the left to support the income equality argument excludes taxes and transfer payments, e.g., Medicaid, Medicare, Food Stamps, Public Housing, the Earned Income Credit, Unemployment Insurance and costly employee benefits such as health insurance.

When these things are factored in "inequality actually declined 1.8% during the 16-year period between 1993 and 2009.” See Grady, Obama’s Misguided Obsession With Inequality, WSJ 22 December 2012. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303773704579269990020773098

Likewise I disagree with your comments and observations on socialism. You seem to distinguish between “bad” socialism, where the government owns the means of production, and “good” socialism, which is characterized by radical redistribution of the wealth. Both eventually lead to the same thing, namely, economic stagnation and the further impoverishment of the most vulnerable.

Yes, we need to take care of our aged, blind, crippled and crazy, but I just cannot buy into any of your arguments about “the rich.” I think that everyone should have the right to get wealthy in our country and I’ve never envied anyone that has. More power to ‘em! They employ lots of people who need jobs to eat and support their families!

If we really want to help the poor we should focus more on creating jobs. And by that I mean “real jobs,” not more government jobs. I have nothing against government workers, but anyone that believes that more government jobs will solve our unemployment problem is sorely mistaken. Government jobs are not self-sustaining.

The best way to create jobs is, in Reagan’s words, by getting government off the backs of the people. This can only be done by creating a favorable climate for businesses to grow and expand, which can only be done through tax reform and deregulation. As JFK said, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

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Igor 2 months, 4 weeks ago on Enough of public debate between the two Steves

When I read stuff like this it just makes by blood boil! The Union Bulletin is trying to provide a limited public forum for people to express their thoughts and views! It should be commended, not disparaged! What are we? The USSR? Cuba?

I just cannot believe that anyone, regardless of their political biases, would want to censor debate on any political topic!! (I say political because that's what "Climate Change" has become, primarily because those on the left are no longer willing to examine and debate the facts.)

Yeah, yeah, I know 97% of all scientists agree, etc., etc. Those on the left, I you opened your eyes and your minds and read what the other 97% of all scientists believe then you might be inclined to question your CGW (Church of Global Warming) dogma. But, of course, that's too much for any of you "True Believers" on the left to handle.

Yeah, that's it! CENSORSHIP! Censor anyone that might think differently from you or feel like debating a timely topic. It's people like you, Mr. Cox, that gave us N. Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, the USSR and Vietnam, where I spent a whole year of my life dodging bullets, rockets and mortars. I wasn't fighting for censorship! What's wrong with you, anyway??

There's a reason for the First Amendment and it's people like you!! Sorry if this offends your sensibilities but that's how I feel! If we're gonna have censorship then who's gonna be the censor? You and your cronies! Think about it!!! What if I had the job?

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