Letters to the Editor

This is Viewpoints for Sunday, October 29, 2017

Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert   delivers his inauguration address at the Macon-Bibb County Commission Inauguration Ceremony Tuesday, December 27, 2016.
Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert delivers his inauguration address at the Macon-Bibb County Commission Inauguration Ceremony Tuesday, December 27, 2016. breaking@macon.com

Be honest about tax

On Sunday, Oct. 22, a front-page Telegraph headline proclaimed “Macon-Bibb leaders ready to campaign for new penny sales tax.” A readout on an inside page, in large type, called this a “penny tax,” and that term and “penny sales tax” were used in the article itself. This is highly misleading and I hope this reporter and The Telegraph headline writers will refrain from doing it in the future.

The proposed tax is, of course, a penny per dollar in additional tax and indeed amounts to a penny on purchases of one dollar. But most purchases are for more than a dollar, sometimes much more. If a family spends, say, $25,000 a year on taxable items (I have no idea what the average figure actually is), this “penny” increase would cost it an extra $250 every year — not an insignificant amount for people struggling to make ends meet as so many are.

Yes, the higher sales tax would be paired with property tax relief. But what about people who rent? They don’t pay property tax and so would experience no relief from their higher sales taxes. And they are generally less affluent than property owners. So this proposal would have the effect of shifting taxes from the more affluent to the less affluent.

In using the term “penny sales tax,” The Telegraph in effect takes sides on the issue of the proposed tax by trivializing it. Who could possibly be so stingy as to object to spending a penny? But the more honest way of describing this is as a 14.3 percent sales tax increase, from the current 7 percent to 8 percent. And a 14.3 percent sales tax increase, whether paired with property tax relief or not, is not a trivial matter.

Maybe raising the sales tax in order to provide property tax relief is a good idea. I don’t know. I’m sure that, when the time comes, The Telegraph will editorialize for or against it and give good reasons for its position. In the meantime, please confine any editorializing on this subject to the editorial page and stop editorializing in the news section by replacing the present loaded language with neutral terminology. Either “1 percent sales tax,” “penny-per-dollar sales tax” or “14.3 percent sales tax increase” would be an accurate, neutral and honest description.

David Mann,

Macon

Purpose didn’t change

In his Oct. 22 column (Remembering Jesus) Bill Cummings continues quoting like-minded authors in his campaign to convince people the New Testament is a collection of fanciful scribblings by senile old men that don’t mesh.

The disciples were in their early to late teens when Jesus selected them, except for Peter. Those wide eyed, bushy tailed and keen minded teens were eager and devoted students. They were in their late teens to early 20s when they experienced the crucified, resurrection and Pentecost. The New Testament gospels and letters were pinned between A.D 50 and A.D 70. If the four gospel writer’s accounts were identical they would have been contrived.

The jargon of fishermen, tax collectors, doctors and peasants farmers are conversational words unique to their occupations. Jesus’ parables and teaching were laced with jargon his various audiences understood. Instructions for changing a wagon wheel in First Century Rome can’t be used to change a tire today; although the mechanics may be different the purpose doesn’t change. Making contradictions, conflicting interpretations and head scratching gospels are inevitable, and that makes the Bible the real deal.

Cummings continues quoting like-minded authors and champion organizations that conflict with Christian values and chastises those challenging his views to boost a vanishing creditability.

Travis L. Middleton,

Peach County

Beware the hateful partisan

Unemployment is the lowest since 1973. A hateful partisan says, “what about black folks?Black unemployment is the lowest since 2000. A hateful partisan says, “what about Latinos?” Unemployment for all racial and ethnic groups has dropped.

The Stock market is making weekly highs. A hateful partisan says, “only the rich benefit.” Retirees collect more from their pensions, and more jobs are created in a rising market. A hateful partisan hopes it crashes. Food stamp vouchers have been reduced. A hateful partisan questions the merit of such progress. Illegal immigration has been lessened. A hateful partisan demands we break our laws. Real state is having a resurgence. A hateful partisan complains about rising prices.

You know the hateful partisan. He’s the one who wishes ill on everything they do not agree with. The hateful partisan gives no quarter or credence to anything even slightly contrary to his beliefs. No improvement to his thinking is possible. We cannot reason with a hateful partisan because nothing penetrates a blocked mind ruled by an obstinate fear of being wrong.

All we can do for the hateful partisans is wish them well as we harvest the fruits of the movement making America great again.

Bob Norcott,

Byron

Last refuge

I have often wondered what Samuel Johnson, the great 18th century English writer meant when he said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Now, I think I might know.

Ever since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, self-imposed Trumpian chaos has engulfed our country. Recently, when the going got tough, Trump played the divisive patriotism card by questioning the patriotism of National Football League players who took a knee during the national anthem. The African American athletes were protesting police brutality in some high profile cases over the last few years.

For Trump’s self-interest, playing the patriotism card diverted, for a brief time, attention away from North Korea, the Russia investigation, and the president’s failure to get the GOP’s repeal and replace health care measure through the Senate.

A case could be made that the protesting athletes love America more than President Trump does. From the outset of his running for president, he demonstrated he loves himself more than he loves our country. It is time for President Donald Trump and his overwhelmingly white Republican Party to take a knee and stop the fake patriotism.

Paul L. Whiteley Sr..

Louisville, Kentucky

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