Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Letter to the Editor--Apalachicola Times

Click here to read the original article

Here is my letter to the editor:

As a homeowner on SGI, I subscribe to the Apalachicola Times, and read with interest about the recent protest surrounding offshore drilling for oil by a local group of environmentalists. 

Are these people out of their minds? Do they wish for our county and  country to be continually at our knees to foreign Middle East countries for the lifeblood of our economic engine--Tourism--which is supplied by the abundance of oil ?? 

How many of these people who protested would be happy to see this area rely on things other than tourism--such as  locally produced seafood products? I have been reading  how this  much beloved local industry is having its own difficulty right now unrelated to our collective concerns for the continuous supply of oil.

What kind of depression would Franklin County be in if we could NOT  buy oil from overseas NOR produce oil domestically from drilling? If there were no tourists visiting the area,  and if we had a challenged seafood industry, there would basically be no jobs in Franklin County...... What would these protesters protest at that time ? My guess it that they would blame the government for their problems.  Ahh, Liberals...You can never make them happy. 

My other guess is that most of the people  who "joined hands across the sand" are idealists, who generally wish the best for this area, but just don't get it. Not only should we be drilling for oil NOW, but we should also be exploring Alaska (where all the polar bears live) and we should also be doing all that we can to sustain the development and exploration of oil and natural gas--not for the betterment of society--but for the sheer existence of the world in which we live. 

Believe it or not, I love the environment as much as anyone.  I love the outdoor pleasures that surround me on beautiful St. George Island, and I support the RiverKeepers. . But I am willing to risk that the benefits of  technological developments  for oil production can and will supercede the possibility of an accident  that might temporarily jeopardize the wildlife and world that we all love on SGI.  It's a risk worth taking. And at the same time we should be developing alternative fuels. Our energy needs must  be attacked, not protested!! 

Monday, February 08, 2010

George Will--A sensible path to GOP and US solvency

This is a great article by George Will, originally posted on Fluentnews.com. It needs no further explanation than an open mind and a willing spirit to compare these ideas to the current ones being offered up by Washington, both by the President, and by the majority party in Congress.

In 2013, when President Mitch Daniels, former Indiana governor, is counting his blessings, at the top of his list will be the name of his vice president: Paul Ryan. The former congressman from Wisconsin will have come to office with ideas for steering the federal government to solvency.

Not that Daniels has ever been bereft of ideas. Under him, Indiana property taxes have been cut 30 percent, and for the first time Standard & Poor's has raised the state's credit rating to AAA. But in January 2010, Ryan released an updated version of his "Roadmap for America's Future," a cure for the most completely predictable major problem that has ever afflicted America.

Some calamities -- the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, Sept. 11 -- have come like summer lightning, as bolts from the blue. The looming crisis of America's Ponzi entitlement structure is different. Driven by the demographics of an aging population, its causes, timing and scope are known.

Funding entitlements -- especially medical care and pensions for the elderly -- requires reinvigorating the economy. Ryan's map connects three destinations: economic vitality, diminished public debt, and health and retirement security.

To make the economy -- on which all else hinges -- hum, Ryan proposes tax reform. Masochists would be permitted to continue paying income taxes under the current system. Others could use a radically simplified code, filing a form that fits on a postcard. It would have just two rates: 10 percent on incomes up to $100,000 for joint filers and $50,000 for single filers; 25 percent on higher incomes. There would be no deductions, credits or exclusions, other than the health-care tax credit (see below).

Today's tax system was shaped by sadists who were trying to be nice: Every wrinkle in the code was put there to benefit this or that interest. Since the 1986 tax simplification, the code has been recomplicated more than 14,000 times -- more than once a day.

At the 2004 Republican convention, thunderous applause greeted George W. Bush's statement that the code is "a complicated mess" and a "drag on our economy" and his promise to "reform and simplify" it. But his next paragraphs proposed more complications to incentivize this and that behavior for the greater good.

Ryan would eliminate taxes on interest, capital gains, dividends and death. The corporate income tax, the world's second-highest, would be replaced by an 8.5 percent business consumption tax. Because this would be about half the average tax burden that other nations place on corporations, U.S. companies would instantly become more competitive -- and more able and eager to hire.

Medicare and Social Security would be preserved for those currently receiving benefits or becoming eligible in the next 10 years (those 55 and older today). Both programs would be made permanently solvent.

Universal access to affordable health care would be guaranteed by refundable tax credits ($2,300 for individuals, $5,700 for families) for purchasing portable coverage in any state. As persons younger than 55 became Medicare-eligible, they would receive payments averaging $11,000 a year, indexed to inflation and pegged to income, with low-income people receiving more support.

Ryan's plan would fund medical savings accounts from which low-income people would pay minor out-of-pocket expenses. All Americans, regardless of income, would be allowed to establish MSAs -- tax-preferred accounts for paying such expenses.

Ryan's plan would allow workers younger than 55 the choice of investing more than one-third of their current Social Security taxes in personal retirement accounts similar to the Thrift Savings Plan long available to, and immensely popular with, federal employees. This investment would be inheritable property, guaranteeing that individuals will never lose the ability to dispose of every dollar they put into these accounts.

Ryan would raise the retirement age. If, when Congress created Social Security in 1935, it had indexed the retirement age (then 65) to life expectancy, today the age would be in the mid-70s. The system was never intended to do what it is doing -- subsidizing retirements that extend from one-third to one-half of retirees' adult lives.

Compare Ryan's lucid map to the Democrats' impenetrable labyrinth of health-care legislation. Republicans are frequently criticized as "the party of no." But because most new ideas are injurious, rejection is an important function in politics. It is, however, insufficient. Fortunately, Ryan, assisted by Republican Reps. Devin Nunes of California and Jeb Hensarling of Texas, has become a think tank, refuting the idea that Republicans lack ideas.