Letters to the editor on size of Legislature, fiscal cliff, living wage
12/03/2012 12:00 AM
11/30/2012 4:16 PM
Legislature should cut its own size
The extreme right wing of one of the most conservative Republican parties of any state will soon take seats in Topeka. These are the people who vociferously proclaim the idea that smaller government is better government. But if a citizen wants an example of bloated government, one need shine a light no further than the Kansas Statehouse.
Kansas is divided into 105 counties yielding 125 House representatives, with an average constituency of 23,000 people. By comparison, a big-spending, big-government state like California has 80 State Assembly members for a population of more than 37 million. The average district population is roughly 470,000. New York has 150 Assembly members representing about 20 million people with an average district composed of 133,000 residents.
In this time of severe budget constraints, why are the people of Kansas asked to support 10 or 20 times the number of representatives per capita of those so-called liberal big-government states? Are the anti-government conservatives heading to Topeka more concerned about their own offices than the welfare of the people?
Perhaps a committee similar to those established to slash funding for the arts, education and medical care could be installed to study the inefficiencies of our bloated state government. Such low-hanging fruit is easily available to any and all legislators sincere in their opposition to big government.
Do you get the feeling that our country is being run by a troop of drunken monkeys?
The airwaves are all atwitter about the looming “fiscal cliff.” But we went over the cliff years ago.
Expenditures exceed revenue. We have Champagne tastes on a beer budget. We spend more than we make. The real concern is how far we will fall.
The Democrats believe that we can raise taxes on the rich to achieve the desired revenue. This is nonsense, and it is immoral to treat people differently. They are stifling growth with fees, fines and regulations. In addition, a plethora of future taxes on gas, health care, electricity, etc., will strangle growth. We can’t increase revenue without growth.
The Republican solution is to cut spending only. Austerity is the fancy name for it. Yippee, rioting and mayhem.
The solution is simple. Sober up. Establish a fixed percentage rate of gross domestic product for expenditures and revenue. Solve the spending problem. Solve the growth problem. Solve the revenue problem. In that order.
If the folks in Washington, D.C., can’t do it, they should just go home and leave us alone. They have screwed up enough.
Need living wage
According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 1 in 6 Kansas children lived in poverty in 2010. Today 1 in 5 lives in poverty, which for a family of four is less than $22,350. This is completely unacceptable.
Many factors keep families trapped in poverty, but a key factor is low wages. When parents work full time and cannot provide for their children, how can we say there is still an American dream?
The solution is the passage of a statewide living-wage law. To be clear, a living wage is the minimum wage a worker must earn in order to be able to provide a family with basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, the basic annual income that a family of four would need to live on in Wichita would be $41,660, which is double the federal poverty line. Using this same formula for a single parent with one child, the basic annual income would be $28,503.
Doubling the incomes of the poorest families though passage of this type of law would be very successful at raising thousands of Kansas children out of poverty and giving them a better future.