Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor on school funding, hospice, poor, wealth gap, Constitution, loud commercials

State has duty

to fund schools

The state of Kansas has already greatly reduced aid to public schools, and more is likely to come under the plan advocated by Gov. Sam Brownback (“Plan could change how schools are funded,” Nov. 9 Eagle). Thus, local taxes will take more responsibility in financing educational operations and the state less.

Local school districts may vote on school levies. It is too easy to vote down a levy when federal and state monies already are decided upon. Schools need a certain amount of money to operate well. Teachers must be well-trained to provide the best in teaching and learning situations in the classroom. Equipment and materials are a necessity in the classroom in order to facilitate pupil learning. Quality school administrators and supervisors are needed to provide leadership and direction in the school setting.

The state of Kansas should provide dollars to provide the best for each pupil. This costs money, but investing in education pays off. The state must fulfill its financial responsibilities to adequately fund quality education for all pupils.


North Newton

Grateful for hospice

When I have visited friends at our local hospice house in Manhattan, I have come away with a great appreciation for the mission of hospices all across our state. Hospice focuses on quality of life and one’s dignity toward the end of life, and it is so evident when you see such caring people provide such an amazing service to patients. It truly warms my heart to see those with limited time remaining feel and exhibit such comfort and ease, thanks to the passion of hospice and its people.

Half of elderly Kansans live in rural areas, and 30 percent live alone, so there is a great need for hospice care in nursing homes and inpatient facilities as well as in patients’ homes. I appreciate hospices such as Hospice Care of Kansas and the 70-plus hospices throughout the state. The nurses, social workers, chaplains, hospice aides, medical directors and volunteers help others of all ages live life to the fullest in the time that remains.

As we observe National Hospice Month this November, I stand grateful for those who stand ready to provide this service. Hospice promotes the belief that all of us have the right to pass pain-free, with dignity and the comfort of knowing that our families will receive needed support.


Head football coach

Kansas State University


Sticking the poor

I recently watched an interview of Gov. Sam Brownback by anchor Cindy Klose on KWCH, Channel 12. He gave his most friendly, Cheshire-like delivery as he said that his plan to “broaden the base” would not raise taxes at all. He used simple hand gestures to illustrate a gentle spreading out of the tax burden.

In spite of his congenial delivery, his message is actually quite painful to most Kansans. Translation: If they can raise the number of people paying taxes, the wealthy can then pay less.

This plan provides much-needed financial relief to the wealthy by spreading out their tax bill to the middle class and the poor. It will be a good day for corporations and for a few very wealthy people in this state.

“Broadening the tax base” sounds so much nicer than “sticking it to the poor,” doesn’t it?



Wealth gap

As we know, there are economic problems for young people today, and a lot is beyond their control. The older generations have worked to save, invest for retirement, pay into Social Security, etc.

Then we have professor Harry Holzer of Georgetown University saying maybe we should take some of the resources we spend on retirees and their health care and give them to those who are more in need (“Young-old wealth gap widens,” Nov. 7 Eagle).

We need to study history as far back as 1917. It looks like the ideas of communism and socialism, which are first cousins, are well at hand at some of our universities.



Fairness needed

A proposal before the congressional “super-committee” would cut benefits and increase taxes; just a little at first, but to about $200 billion in the first decade, then much more (Nov. 8 Eagle). They call it the Chained Consumer Price Index, and it would reduce Social Security benefits and federal and military pensions, and fewer people would be eligible for anti-poverty programs such as Medicaid, Head Start and food stamps. All this and more by changing the way inflation is measured.

Therefore, it changes taxes without changing tax rates. Remember, the rich were promised there would be no new taxes.

In 10 years, people making from $10,000 to $20,000 would have 14.5 percent higher federal taxes, and those with income of $1 million and more would get a tax increase of 0.1 percent. That tax increase for the rich would equal the cost of about seven bottles of excellent wine per year.

I strongly agree that we must begin to get our fiscal house in order, but there must be fairness and balance in what is given up among our people. We must not let there be more chains binding the poor and their children.



Founders’ words

My wife and I had the privilege of visiting the National Archives in Washington, D.C., recently. In its magnificent rotunda are our original Declaration of Independence, Constitution and the Bill of Rights, our “Charters of Freedom.”

Standing beside the Constitution, we pondered the words of James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” expressed in Federalist Paper No. 45: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” Madison was also, of course, a Founding Father and our fourth president.

As we walked out of that magnificent neoclassical temple, we wondered what documents will be enshrined in that rotunda 25, 50 or 100 years from now. For the sake of our two grandsons and future generations, America needs a constitutional revival such that the document, now but a faded parchment, remains as Patrick Henry is said to have asserted, “not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, but an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”



Lower volume

Once again, companies have failed to police themselves. When this happens, the government usually has to step in to solve the problem.

In this case, I am talking about loud commercials on radio and television. The federal government passed the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act in 2010. This federal law directs the Federal Communications Commission to establish rules that prevent commercials from being broadcast at a louder volume than the program material they follow. Radio and television stations, including cable, will have to comply by Dec. 15, 2012, once the FCC adopts the final rules.

Advertisers and the electronic media could solve this problem today by limiting the loudness of the commercials. Advertising agencies surely can be more creative in producing commercials than to just make them loud. There are probably good (quiet) commercials on the air, but they are secondary and usually follow the loud ones. Once the mute button is used, the good commercials don’t get their messages to the viewers.

So, companies: Please take action before the federal government has to spend money and time to correct the problem of loud commercials. With so many critical issues unresolved by the president and Congress, it’s too bad they had to waste their time on such a matter.




Letters to the Editor

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