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October 24, 2014

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letter to the editor:

Challenge: Cut, don’t raise, taxes

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Regarding “When student brainstorming hits the wall of reality at the Legislature,” by Andrew Doughman, about College of Southern Nevada professor Mark Bird brainstorming with his class to find ways “enhance the state”:

I find this to be all too common among educators and politicians: Find a way to raise taxes. Why not have the class look into ways to cut the budget and taxes?

By cutting spending for programs that are no longer needed, you have a doubling effect. Leave the money in the hands of those who earned it, who need the money to live on and spend the money on things they need, keeping the money in the local economy.

By lowering taxes, you are taking funds away from those politicians who would like nothing better than to spend your money on their pet projects and give to someone who can help them get re-elected.

I would like to challenge Professor Bird to have his sociology class find ways to cut taxes, including local, county and state.

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  1. If we don't start saying 'no', our 'individual' taxes will eventually be raised. Government will 'start' by 'targeting' the 'unpopular' groups for tax increases, such as 'large businesses', but as we all know, businesses make every effort to 'pass' those taxes along to us in higher prices. At some point, even 'targeted' taxes will not be enough to 'feed' the government and individual taxes will also be raised.

    Every time I drive downtown, I pass the Regional Justice Center, which ran way over budget and the new City Hall, which wasn't a great idea during Nevada's worst recession ever, and those are just two examples of why, if we just keep quiet, we will see our individual taxes raised. It is just a matter of 'when'.

    Michael

  2. Flat tax. No exceptions. All who work pay. Get rid of the current tax laws from 1916. They are a dinosaur.

    Carmine D

  3. Yet more commentary from the mavens of austerity, all of which have one thing in common: a complete absence of details about which programs and services to cut. When major media and polling firms ask similar questions regarding the Federal budget many respondents reply that they would like to see taxes reduced and services cut. When asked which services the answers are predictable....foreign aid, Presidential vacations, Congressional perks and our old friend and favorite....programs which impact someone other than me. Lets also not forget out old nemesis...fraud, waste and abuse.

    We need a rule that correspondents who recommend reductions in taxes must specify which program or service which they use could be eliminated or reduced. After all, we progressive types almost always recommend tax hikes with specific purposes in mind....mental health, education, buildings and roads, etc. Big stuff and big dollars. Time for you Norquist zombies to do the same.

  4. Pat,

    I'm not a Norquist Zombie, but in speaking about Nevada, how about Public Pension Reform to 401K's? How about not building a new city hall in the middle of a recession? How about buildings like the Regional Justice Center not skyrocketing over budget? How about fewer school administrators and more teachers? How about not building an expensive new school administration annex and using that money to build more schools or raise teacher salaries?

    There are some of us here who can and would name things that could and should be done. Is the public support there for doing them? Probably not. On that you and I probably agree.

    I do agree that there are many people, especially within the R party that call for cuts and then will not name any specific cuts, and that is just wrong. Cuts will be unpopular, but they need to be done, popular or not. We just have a bunch of good for nothing politicians on both sides. One side calls for cuts but doesn't name any specifically. The other side calls for increased spending but will only advocate for taxes on unpopular groups and will not address public sector benefits.

    It's a mess to be sure...

    Michael

  5. We live in one of the lowest-taxed states in the lowest-taxed country in the first world -- and look what a utopia we have! The free market, unburdened by things like tax rates that would properly fund education, has flourished here. It's no surprise that Nevada is first on every list from quality of life to economic expansion.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you my dear conservatives. Without you, I can't imagine where we'd be.

  6. More government -- more expensive government does not mean better government. Better government is less government; i.e. lower taxes.

  7. The reality is that while our economy is growing faster than Europe, growth is still very slow here. It's also true that what growth we have here is largely based on a huge debt, huge deficit spending, a hugely expanded money supply and an inflated stock market.

    I cannot justify all the austerity they have tried in Europe but I also cannot justify our inflated money supply, the huge debt and continued deficit spending that is being done here.

    I just do not believe that I or any other reasonable person that could have the time to review the budget line by line (Like President Obama said he would) and then really look at each department and program could not come up with a huge amount of things that really could be cut, combined, streamlined, and would make the money the government gets be spent much more effectively.

    That is part of what our elected members of Congress are supposed to do. They are great at starting new programs and departments but very poor at managing and reviewing what they create. There is duplication, fraud, ineffective programs etc that are always pointed out by the CBO studies, but little if any action is ever taken.

    Progressives may always like to hear the call for more money for the government, but I don't and I'd really like to see Congress do the 'other' half of its job.

    Michael

  8. Michael....Ok, you are not a Norquist zombie, but you are also not a slash and burn conservative. Except for the Whig thing you're pretty much a thoughtful moderate. The big 4 in almost any state budget are education, social services, transportation and corrections. Every thing else is pretty small. You could completely eliminate state park, fish and wildlife, tourism, business recruitment, econ development, extension service, etc. and it would not make a dent in the budget. Transportation should be either profitable or neutral for the state...vehicle and fuel taxes and tolls should earn money or break even. Corrections, education, social services? Should we decline to participate in Medicaid and other federal/state coop programs. We could not offer any type of "welfare"...no SNAP, no AFDC, no Section 8, no Medicaid of any type. That would save taxpayers many hundreds of millions....or would it? Our Constitution requires a uniform system of public schools teaching a secular curriculum but unlike many western states does not put modifiers like "quality" or "modern" in so you could simply require every County to fund an online school system available to everyone and call it a day. That could save a billion or so. But we won't. We will continue to nit pick and squabble, we will continue to have a lack of leadership and Nevada will continue to complain about being number 42 or 46 or 50 but won't do anything about it.

  9. El_lobo, El_lobo, El_lobo,

    Please see http://www.nevadanewsbureau.com/tag/pers... for information that runs contrary to what you believe. It is a fact that there is widely varying opinion regarding how sound PERS is.

    As for 401K's, mine worked great and the reason pensions disappeared in the private sector is two fold ... one is because businesses realized that 401K's were less expensive for them than pensions and two, that businesses realized that unlike the government, if unfunded pension liabilities appeared in the future, they could not (like the government) just raise taxes to cover them.

    Promising employees a retirement amount that isn't fully funded now would be fine with me.....if the employees were also told that their retirement is not fully funded today and that if funds ran short in the future, they would simply not get their retirement, instead of being bailed out by the poor taxpayer. I somehow think if that were the way things worked, many employees would likely think PERS was not so great.

    I fundamentally do not believe that public employees should be entitled to 'anything' not routinely found in the private sector. After all, without the private sector, there would be no need for the public sector. 401K's for everyone (public or private) would be more fair.

    Michael

  10. Good idea but we need to start with welfare handouts that are institutionalizing refusal-to-work and "poverty" of recipients. TEMPORARY assistance for citizens is fine especially when we can provide dormitory housing instead of funding section 8 vouchers so they live AS IF they were productive adults. Dorms for kids might actually be beneficial versus hidden inside with abusive parents. Day rooms where adults can provide care while you do your "life skills" classes and look for work.

  11. Anyone want to interview Ms. Buckley who led the parade to keep funding "low income" nursing homes for the career indigents who don't have grand children young enough to qualify for endless welfare? Want to guess what percent of Medicaid patients in assisted living don't need it? But the social workers have no where else to place them so they take the easy way out and we pay endlessly. Did you hear about the nursing home chain (United Health) now under indictment for $4 Billion Medicare FRAUD billing for therapy for patients comatose and dying--alleging physical, speech therapy same day as death? You think fraud only occurs in the federal spending? Nevada welfare doesn't even require INVOICES for "life skills" classes provided by "non profits." This means those classes that supposedly enable you to become a productive adult, find AND KEEP a job by showing up and doing some work, those classes that don't seem to be applied by the clientele are being paid for with NO INTERNAL CONTROLS and no representation that the classes were given/attended.

  12. Pat,

    Let's talk education. I trained to be a teacher and worked in classrooms. The biggest problem I saw and see in education is our society. When I was a kid, my dad worked; mom stayed at home. I got help with my schoolwork. My parents knew my teachers and visa versa. Doing poorly in school was not acceptable to my parents or my teachers. My distractions consisted of TV and playing Frisbee in the streets with my friends.

    How much of that is true today? There is the main problem in education, right there. You cannot fix that with money. We have a broken society and are heading for a broken country... financially.

    I have no problem funding schools but this silly notion that what is wrong can only be fixed by throwing more money at education is just incorrect.

    Look at Nevadans. We have some smart people here but a huge majority have a rudimentary education and rudimentary skills... perfect for the kind of jobs routinely available here, especially in gaming, our biggest industry.

    Michael

  13. Vidi,

    For me and probably others your characterization is way off base. I support all of what you mentioned. This is exactly why there is no real communication between people with different views in America. Each side inaccurately generalizes about the other.

    Just because I happen to believe there is a great deal of waste, fraud and duplication that could be addressed does not mean I don't support infrastructure spending, education, space program, SS, Medicare, etc. That's just flat wrong.

    We will be sorry however, if we just keep increasing spending, don't address the waste, fraud and duplication, keep printing money and running up debt.

    Michael

  14. Let me second that Michael 4:01.

  15. Vidi: You are WRONG. I want COST EFFECTIVE programs for citizens. However, I am against deficit spending in any form. There are not enough rich people to pay the freight of welfare and "defense." We need to do the budget another way: start with anticipated available revenue and prioritize programs but defining how much of say Defense is absolutely essential, how much is sort-of essential, how much is a good thing, how much is desired.... So we can put courts, law enforcement, prisons....right after absolutely essential defense, border security, expulsion of illegals. Any funding "left over" can go to disabled, Vets (like me), and somewhere down the list go for handouts to career-indigents who have collected for many more years than 2 consecutive, 5 years lifetime.

  16. An interesting idea, CarmineD (Carmine DiFazio) (5:01 a.m.): "Flat tax. No exceptions. All who work pay." Great for three groups: the retirees living on their various retirement systems; the aged/disabled/unemployed living on whatever funds they can scrounge up; and the ultra-wealthy living on their interest and dividends.

    Right now, Republicant's pan members of the first two groups as drones, members of "the 47%" who think everyone else owes them a living, while the third group forms the Republican't core

  17. Roberta,

    As I know you are aware, Vidi and others want to place almost every person that does not align perfectly with their views into a category they might call 'Conservative Idiots' ie... people that want to gut the entire Federal government. It's an inaccurate view that stands in the way of any real 'debate' of philosophies, ideas, opinions, etc.

    I know there are people like that but in reading your comments and knowing myself, I know we do not belong to such a group. I'd love to 'debate' with Vidi and others but when they shut you off with huge, inaccurate generalizations, it leaves no middle ground in which to have a real debate. That really disappoints me in this forum.

    I've got enough confidence to drop my shield, walk into the arena and debate, even though I might have to change some of my views, but in this forum, there are very few that will actually take the 'risk' of a real debate.

    It is necessary that we all allow others their views without generalizations or attacks and really listen and consider views other than our own. That is 'debate' and it is in the 'gone missing' category in this forum.

    Michael

  18. FreedomRadio (Joan Respondi) (8:18 a.m.): Your first sentence is almost true. I'd amend it to read "More government -- more expensive government does not NECESSARILY mean better government."

    Your second sentence - "Better government is less government; i.e. lower taxes." is a complete non sequiter and not at all provable: It is, however, true that "Less government -- less expensive government does not necessarily mean better government." After all, Somalia has been working for decades with effectively NO national government, and there has been no rush of people moving there to enjoy their "better" government...excluding al Queda types, of course.

  19. Vidi,

    Raising tax rates to Pre-Reagan would bring in more revenue. Do you really believe that if that were done, the Federal Government would stop deficit spending and use the extra revenue to start paying down the debt? I don't.

    No, the problem we have here is much more than one party, much more than just not enough tax revenue or just too much spending. It's a culture in DC and it infects both parties. Little slogans like you wrote sound nice and may even contain some truths, but they are far from a solution.

    Michael

  20. Emthree is totally wrong in saying (at 7:31 a.m.) that "It's no surprise that Nevada is first on every list from quality of life to economic expansion."

    We are usually first on many of those lists that rank from worst (or least desirable) to best (or most desirable). We are actually near the BOTTOM of many of the lists that rank from best to worst. We do, however, sometimes rank toward the middle of either type of list.

  21. Michael...let's do talk education. Dad worked, Mom stayed home; dad made enough money at the mill with decent union pay to buy a house and a car, maybe even new, take a vacation. Negroes knew their place except for a few uppity ones and it sure wasn't in school with white kids. The gimps, the down syndrome, the autistic kids were hidden away in institutions. The troublemakers took shop classes and left school at sixteen and started at the same mill Dad worked at...they weren't dropouts, they were losers and weren't counted. If you or I lipped off to a teacher the consequences were severe and fast. Education in this country has changed drastically, I know that Roberta hates it but the law says that every kid who walks through the door gets the opportunity that every other kid gets. Dad and Mom both have to work because the mill is now in China or Bangladesh. The mill owner who used to take home a couple of hundred thousand now takes home a couple of hundred million which he stashes tax free in some offshore account. The values have changed but it is the wealthy, the powerful and the corrupt who have declared and are waging, with their Republican allies, class warfare against the rest of us.

  22. VidiVeritas@5:18,
    "The Republi-CONS, their enablers, and their overly loyal sycophant supporters use Adolph H. and Joseph G's Big Lie--tell lies, even preposterous lies and repeat them over and over to fool and even brainwash. They have done this 24/7, everyday for years."

    You continually post the same word-for-word statements over and over, and over in every thread on this site, and then you state that those evil "Republi-Cons" are using propaganda.

    I submit that you, sir, are a hypocrite of elephantine proportions. But then one shouldn't be so surprised as this is the classic M.O. of all propagandists.

    A classic example: In a previous thread, you used a propagandist technique referred to as "Reductio ad Hitlerum" when you stated, "Why don't you call the Chilean embassy and ask if they would recommend any or all of the three you mentioned above?", referring to Mises, Friedman, and Hayek (a Nobel-laureate and one of the greatest contributors to economic thought).

    I found this quite ironic that while Mr. Pinochet IS accused of unforgivable human atrocities, and staged a military coup, he did follow the advice of those great economic thinkers previously mentioned and avoided a looming meltdown. Taxes were lowered, regulations lifted, healthcare freed, budgets balanced, and free trade encouraged.

    Despite all of the meddling by the U.S. in Latin America with the Progressive ideology and New Deal policies that has fastened the same economic problems we're facing, Chile is the fastest growing economy in Latin America. They're experiencing growth of over 7% yearly, a budget surplus 2% of GDP, and a savings rate many times that of the U.S.

    What's astonishing is that President Lagos, who is a self-described socialist, has no intention of changing anything anytime soon as his country is thriving.

    As Lagos himself now says: "It is not something of the right-wing parties nor the left-wing parties. It's simply sound economic policy."

    Which directly support my firm belief:

    Only economic truth can set us free from the burdensome policies and propaganda that the scourge of Progressive ideology has fastened upon this nation.

    As far as your obvious tactics, VV: I'm surprised why anyone engages you at all. Peace.

  23. Comment removed by moderator. Personal Attack

  24. Pat,

    I'm not arguing to go back to 'the good old days', which really were not so good in many ways. I think you and I agree that the world and our society have changed, some for the good and some for the bad. My point is simply that due to those changes, the notion that what is wrong in the area of educating our kids can be solved with more money for education is erroneous. The issues are varied and complex and societal. I'm for more intelligent allocation of what the government spends. I am not a reactionary that wants to starve the government.

    Michael

  25. Robert:

    A flat tax is better than the current system which is 100 years old and patched together piecemeal for the "wealthy" [individuals and corporations] to find the loop holes to avoid paying.

    While your commentary about flat tax is cute, it offers no viable options.

    Carmine D

  26. Michael 4:53. I appreciate your sage commentary. As you surmise, I too make myself a target for the short-sighted who insist on total alignment with their current attitude. I am often direct and let tangential info drop out. Sure, almost anyone can find a side issue or specific situation where the overall appropriate policy is not ideal. Doesn't mean we shouldn't follow, consistently, overall policies that are constitutional, smart, cost effective, supportive of our way of life. I know that some posters like to portray themselves as wise know-it-alls and look down their noses at "little women" who aren't "as smart" as they are--with no interest in communicating. Communicating that starts with READING and COMPREHENDING where I'm coming from. As you've said, just because I want things done about Medicare fraud, doesn't mean I'm against Medicare. Ditto social welfare programs. Just because we can't afford to feed all the illegals (without severe consequences to our economy, retirements, children, culture) doesn't mean I'm against a TEMPORARY safety net for American citizens who have worked for years and paid into the system and economy.

  27. p.s. Michael: Here's an example. WharfRAT posts attacks and criticisms of me but has adopted several to many of my posts--I've posted several times that America cannot change feudal villages into streamlined efficient democracies/republics by dumping $Trillions into their civil wars and economies. Now Mr. Rat is explaining that the Marshall Plan cannot be replicated in Afghanistan. So you see, even though they want to arrogantly claim intellectual superiority, they often don't qualify.

  28. You're correct, CarmineD (Carmine DiFazio), in saying at (4:40 a.m.) "While your commentary about flat tax is cute, it offers no viable options." I DID word that like a Republican't, didn't I? Gripe about ANYTHING Dems offer but don't bother with actually offering a better way to solve underlying problems.

    Therefore...

    I'd argue for a graduated flat tax on ALL income from ALL sources, NO deductions no loopholes of any sort. Annual income less than (choose a number, lets say $30,000...) no tax due. For the next (lets say...) $30,000, a tax of 5%. For the next (say...) $50,000 a tax of 15%. For the next (say...) $100,000 a tax of 25%. For the next (say...) $5M a tax of 50%, and finally for above (say...) $15M a tax of 75%. To the maximum extent possible the tax would be withheld from every income payment - that would tend to keep the higher earners less dishonest.

    The specific break points and the final percentages would have to be tweaked, depending on total gross incomes and desired revenues. To determine the amount of withholding, each payment would be annualized with withholding at the appropriate level.

  29. So the topic remains unaddressed....if you propose to cut taxes, which services would be cut to reflect that reduced income. The theme in the letter is state spending so references to defense spending are only germane in that defense spending at, say, Nellis or Hawthorne has a local multiplier effect generating state revenue through sales, property and motor vehicle taxes. So, should the state transportation budget be self-supporting....that is, fully funded by fuel taxes, licensing fees, etc.? Roslenda appears to support corrections, law enforcement and justice over social services. Several people have mentioned the importance of education. If there are insufficient revenues to fully fund all of these things, then what and how do you cut? A percentage from each or elimination of some things to preserve others deemed more important? Again, it is my opinion that the promoters of tax cuts, primarily Tea Party and conservative Republicans and business interests, consistently refuse to identify what they will cut and, worse yet, promote the notion that nothing will change in services currently provided by government if we only cut taxes. It is a lie, a knowing, deliberate lie.

  30. Robert:

    You think and post like the Democrat you are not the Republicans that you impugn and attack here constantly. I've got one word for you, actually two: Benghazi, Libya.

    Carmine D

  31. @Carmine....Benghazi hearings look to be about as productive for Republicans as their attempts to come up with any coherent budgetary policy.

  32. Here's a clue, Pat. Jay Carney misrepresented and hoodwinked the White House press corps. For 8 months. He is the president for all intents and purposes when he is behind that podium. The press corps doesn't like to be lied to. In your view, explaining, redacting, and walking back may not be productive. To the WH press corps it is there job to make sure the information coming from the president is complete, accurate, and truthful. It wasn't. When the WH Press Secretary is explaining, he's losing. Read the President is losing.

    Carmine D

  33. CarmineD: Ref your note of 4:56 a.m.: ????

  34. @Carmine...I don't recall mentioning the WH press secretary on any topic. Republicans and their Faux News shills have been trumpeting the stunning revelations which were supposed to be revealed at the hearings. Those revelations were.......nothing at all. The information provided was not new, was not revealing of anything and basically confirmed the administration account. We'll see if anything comes up on the Sunday talking head performances, but it looks like, for the Republican perception mananger, yet another empty manure spreader. On the other hand you folks elected a philandering liar who dipped into the public till to fund a canoodeling getaway with the mistress.

  35. Robert and Pat:

    What part of Benghazi, Libya and IRS scandal don't you two get? I'll be happy, as I have in the past, to walk you both through both.

    Recall Robert I posted TO YOU HERE [months ago] that a Select Committee should be appointed to investigate Benghazi, Libya: Before, during, and after the attack. What do you think will now happen?

    ????????

    Carmine D