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Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Take no offense in Nativity scene
As I reflect on the 2010 Christmas season, I continue to be amazed at how many times I heard about people being offended by Nativity scenes and that places that displayed them began to take them down so as to not offend said complainers. Even though this happens year after year, I still struggle to understand two things about this: How can a Nativity scene be offensive, and that people who take the time and effort to display a Nativity scene continue to give in and take them down.
Can you imagine if I, as a Christian, went to a place that wasn’t displaying a Nativity scene and said, “Excuse me, but since you don’t have a Nativity scene, you are promoting atheism; please put one up immediately or I’m going to sue.” Sounds ridiculous, but that is how it feels to be a Christian and continually feel as though expressing and honoring my beliefs is somehow wrong while others, who tend to practice less widely held beliefs, are free to express, or not express, theirs without thinking twice.
To my fellow Christians, God bless, and to those who choose other beliefs, be well in the New Year.
Adult bickering penalizes youth
I am writing this not as a member of any group, club, or organization, just as an individual interested in 4-H youth.
First of all, I think name calling does nothing but drive people into corners, build bigger boundaries, and put a bigger wedge between the two parties. We are dealing with an adult disagreement about who has the authority to dismiss a fair superintendent — the fair management or 4-H leadership.
Fair management, according to the Fair Premium Book (the rules the fair runs by), has the authority to dismiss any superintendent, and it has been that way for years. I have read some of the 4-H material and find no place where 4-H leadership has exclusive control of volunteers. It is my understanding that fair management had two meetings with 4-H leadership about this problem before it was made public. This disagreement is not going to be solved in the press, but between adults sitting at a table and discussing it in a calm, cool way. The bottom line is to have the 4-H youth participate in the fair and solve these adult problems among adults.
The rich are demonized excessively
As the extensions of the Bush tax reductions were discussed, we heard representations such as “rich people … not going to start spending more … to stimulate the economy… tax breaks will not create jobs.” Ann McFeatters’ Jan. 2 column, “Congress must get grip on nation’s debt,” goes along this well-trodden path. This demonizing of financial success ignores that this money has been earned. It’s not the government’s to redistribute.
If you offer the argument that the “rich” don’t need it, at least consider the alternative uses that can be made with the “excess” money of the rich. Who is going to invest in a new business or expand their present enterprise if not those who don’t consume every last dollar? Those investments will lead to new jobs. Who is going to deposit money in banks so that banks can loan it to others? These “excess” funds that have not been consumed will create more jobs and opportunities for all of us.
We must challenge this redistribution mentality. It diminishes ambition for those who are energetic, and it does not raise the motivations of those at lower income levels. There is an unrivaled dignity in work and pride in our achievements. We are less as a society and a country when government intervenes and creates a dependency.
It’s business as usual
Have you heard the screaming whine from businesses having to pay an extra 12 cents an hour to their workers already pathetic wages? A minimum wage you couldn’t raise a hamster family on. Perhaps when those workers get to write off the same things businesses do, they won’t need such tremendous wage increases.
Let’s let the worker write off his commute car. You know, depreciate the purchase price, the fuel, insurance, maintenance, etc., just like businesses can. Of course, then he couldn’t use it to, say, tow his boat. That would be personal use, and vehicles purchased by businesses are supposed to differentiate between business vs. personal use on their taxes. So when you see that fancy contractor truck launching a boat at Yale Reservoir, that’s not personal use, it must be a business excursion, right? Of course, you know the minimum-wage worker probably doesn’t have the boat anyway. And if he did, he couldn’t write off its expense as “client entertainment,” could he?
Raising minimum has adverse effect
Washington state has one of the highest minimum wages in the country. One might think that this is in the best interest of low-skilled workers; however, just the opposite is true. If an employer has a low-skilled job and can hire someone for the wage it is worth, he will do so. If the job is not worth the minimum wage, then he is more likely to either do it himself or add that job to someone else’s responsibilities. The end result is that the potential job at less than minimum wage is never filled and a low-skilled worker is never hired.
Somewhere we decided that a minimum wage should be a living wage, an idea that sounds good to those who want a low-skilled worker to be able to support themselves, but it actually has the opposite effect. Minimum-wage laws decrease jobs for the low skilled, and prevent them from entering the job market and increasing their skills.
If the minimum wage is a good idea and does not have a negative effect on low-skilled employment, then why don’t we just raise it to $20 an hour and see how that works?
Eugene A. Foster
Capitalism offers many advantages
Capitalism is the only truly moral economic system, because only capitalism is based on free choice. Socialism is the philosophy of thugs who exploit the brute force of government. Under capitalists, men are free to either deal or not deal with one another. Businessmen cannot legally take your money by force or compel you to do anything. Only governments do that.
America’s abundance wasn’t created by socialist thugs, but by the productive genius of free men pursuing their own personal interests in making their fortunes. Capitalism gave people better jobs, higher wages — and cheaper goods with every technology they invented — and the country moved forward, profiting, not suffering, as a result. Economic power is exercised by offering an incentive, a payment, a value. Political power is exercised by the threat of fines or imprisonment. The businessman’s tool is values. The bureaucrat’s tool is compulsion, force, and fear.