There is still need for Boys Ranch
Many years ago, I was special education director for the school system. Judge James Riddel kept the Lake Afton Boys Ranch going for those in need who did not conform to the regular school programs. This allowed us to have three teachers at the ranch for the boys’ continued education. I observed many boys’ needs then, and their needs continue today. I would ask Sedgwick County to please reconsider and keep the Boys Ranch open.
Columnist Cal Thomas twisted the story of the grasshopper and the ant to fit his own ideology (May 23 Opinion). One could also spin the story this way:
The industrious ants are the middle-class working people, and the grasshopper is the rich corporate CEO. While the ants slave away to make a meager living, one grain of wheat out of every thousand they harvest, the grasshopper takes the other 999 grains and hoards them away in stacks that grow ever larger.
Then one winter, the wheat freezes and the ants have nothing to eat. They ask the grasshopper to share some of his wheat with them since he has more than he can ever eat. But the grasshopper says, “No. Why didn’t you save some of your wheat to eat in emergencies such as this?”
But, of course, the ants couldn’t save any because it took all of their one grain of wheat each week to feed their families. So the ants starved to death, and the grasshopper was left with no one to bring in the wheat.
The moral of this story is that if the grasshopper had shared more generously with the ants who did all the work, or had been obligated by a larger power (the government) to do so, then everyone would have prospered and done well and all would have lived happily ever after.
Being labeled as anti-Semitic (“Hate makes waste,” May 15 Letters to the Editor) because of a commentary I wrote on Gaza (May 8 Opinion) was exactly the response I hoped for. The word’s use points to the need for a discussion regarding the use, misuse and abuse of the hyphenated or non-hyphenated form of “anti-Semitism.”
The popular meaning many would recognize as “hatred for Jews.” The problem is that “Semitic” refers to a whole linguistic family including Jews, Arabs, Ethiopians and Assyrians. Throughout modern history, the term has been used for economic, nationalist, political, religious and psychological reasons.
Nations, local governments, religious and secular scholars have attempted to give the term a definition. I am grateful for the letter labeling me as anti-Semitic, because I believe as a civil society we need to have an open discussion of the many words we throw around to describe people when those very words, as meaningful or meaningless as they may be, can be very hurtful and false.
In 1984, Yehuda Bauer wrote: “The word (anti-Semitism) has gone out of fashion.” Apparently, for some people, it is still the popular word to describe a fearful hatred even as it is disguised by linguistic confusion.
For “tax fairness,” examine all current income-tax laws, both state and federal, and you will note that only part of an employee’s compensation package is taxed (“Replace tax code with a fair tax,” June 7 Letters to the Editor). Only the paycheck or salary is taxed. All or nearly all of the “fringe benefits” are untaxed.
In California, for example, a self-employed person and a public-sector employee may pay the same income tax. But if you compare the total value of their compensation packages, you will find that the public-sector employee receives more than twice what the self-employed person does, yet he pays the same income tax.
To a smaller extent, a similar relation exists between small-business employees and members of the major industrial labor unions.
The “fringe benefit” camel got its nose under the tent in the 1940s when businesses were allowed to buy health insurance for employees outside the wartime-allowed labor pay rates. Today the camel is far bigger than the tent.
ROSS D. RASH
“Lower job numbers send stocks down” (June 2 Business Today) said a frenzy followed the report that only 69,000 new jobs were created in May, with the stock market falling big time and the pundits talking “recession.”
The last paragraph of that article reported that another survey found 422,000 more people employed in May than in April. That has to generate a big infusion of buying power in the economy, as well as generating increased revenue from both sales taxes and income taxes.
The portion of that in Kansas will happen well before the governor’s wrongheaded tax-cut program to generate more jobs is even implemented.
The Kansas Constitution is being violated, because there are many children being deprived of the right type of education (“School-funding suit hinges on what’s ‘suitable,’” June 3 Eagle). Teachers have one of the most important jobs in our society, and they are not funded enough. A “suitable” education is an education with a good teacher.