Letters to the editor on statesmen, insurance exchange, tax-cut myth, Girl Scouts at Cowtown
09/30/2012 12:00 AM
09/28/2012 7:06 PM
Need statesmen, not politicians
Much has been written recently about the low approval ratings of members of Congress and other elected officials. I would like to suggest that is because there are very few statesmen left holding office today. We have plenty of politicians, however.
By definition, a statesman sometimes is willing to make the hard choice of putting the welfare of the state or nation ahead of political gain, party loyalty or personal ambition. By definition, a politician puts loyalty to party, personal ideology or other less-worthy goals ahead of the interests of the state or nation.
To many people, compromise has become a dirty act punishable by political death. Yet compromise is what elected officials simply must do sometimes in order to solve problems and move forward – because governing is a complicated thing at best.
Remember “United we stand, divided we fall”? It’s still true.
Politics at worst
Kudos to Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger for doing her job and working to prepare for a future health insurance exchange for Kansas (Sept. 26 Eagle). Praeger is trying to be proactive before the Nov. 16 deadline for states to submit their plan instead of turning it over to the federal government.
Gov. Sam Brownback has refused to even make plans because he is betting that his candidate for president will win office and repeal the Affordable Care Act. That’s an awfully big bet to take with other people’s health care.
We teach our children to play by the rules. If my daughter told me she was not going to prepare for her math test because she did not agree with how the teacher had written the test, I would tell her to think twice about her actions because of serious consequences.
Just because Brownback and his administration do not believe in the Affordable Care Act, mostly because it was not championed by his party, he is going to bury his head in the sand and not comply with a federal law that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. I think this is politics at its worst.
A recent study released by the Congressional Research Service examined the relationship between top marginal tax rates, the capital-gains tax rate and the effect on the gross domestic product. The CRS is a nonpartisan government entity that conducts research for the U.S. Congress.
It is commonly accepted that cutting marginal tax rates for the wealthiest (“job creators”) will result in more growth and more jobs. It is conversely commonly accepted that raising marginal tax rates will result in less growth and fewer jobs. This was the theory behind the Bush tax cuts, which were extended by this Congress and President Obama. Gov. Sam Brownback’s and presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s entire strategy for economic growth turns on this assumption. In Kansas, certain business entities have been exempted from state taxes.
The CRS report says this is not how the economy actually works. When economic data from 1945 forward was examined, no significant statistical causal relationship could be found between the two. Top marginal tax cuts do not cause growth, and tax increases do not create downturns in the economy. However, the CRS found that lower tax rates for very high earners are associated with increased disparity between low-income and high-income earners.
My family and I have learned that the 54-year-long Girl Scout living history program at Old Cowtown Museum will be discontinued and educational programs for girls put in its place.
We have always heard that Cowtown appreciated the Girl Scout programs that allowed the girls to dress in period clothing, participate at the museum, provide community service and learn not only the history of Wichita but how to appreciate the hard work of our pioneering forefathers (and foremothers).
The program taught girls skills of the period such as embroidery, knitting, basket-making and dancing. The older girls taught the younger Scouts, who then became excited about our Wichita history.
Yes, it is true that attendance has been down in recent years, but that can be attributed to many factors. Instead of recognizing the value of the programming currently in place and seeking financial sponsors until attendance improves, the decision was made to do away with it.
I urge the board of directors at Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland to reconsider the decimation of a program beloved by girls who have gone through it, and to work to ensure future Girl Scout participation is active rather than passive. I also urge past participants and other community members to make your voices heard at this time, so that this long-standing, unique program will not be permanently lost.
GERRY LYNN FERGUSON
Unless the council of the Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland changes its hasty decision, a unique partnership with Old Cowtown Museum that has lasted for decades will drastically change.
Girl Scouts at Cowtown has always been a win-win program: Cowtown is brought to life with the help of Scouts dressed in period costumes, while these girls learn and persevere in an 1870s lifestyle.
Thousands of Scouts have provided a valuable community service for years. So how can change be justified?
The change is heartbreaking for many current Scouts, volunteers and parents. Let’s ask the council what we can do to keep the Cowtown program as we know it and move forward.
LINDA STEELE THOM
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