County bucking trend on spending
I find it unbelievable that Sedgwick County is reconsidering its plans to fund, with the city of Wichita, the $30 million Heartland Preparedness Center (“Joint center in jeopardy,” Jan. 23 Eagle).
Unbelievable and inspiring.
I find it inspiring because it is good to see our county leaders take a fiscally responsible stance before funding a “nice to have, but not essential” project, when there are existing projects that are a must-do (such as the Judge James V. Riddel Boys Ranch). At a time when all levels of government (federal, state, county and city) are strapped for cash, taking care of what we have becomes more logical than adding more facilities.
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I find it unbelievable because in spite of all levels of government continuing to spend money like we have no financial problems, Sedgwick County has the guts to buck the trend and stop spending money.
The city of Wichita could learn a lesson here, and the tuition would be free. Our elected officials would not get a bronze plaque on the facade of a new building, but the taxpaying proletariat would be grateful for their austerity.
Tax hurts poor
Kansans need to give some serious thought to the difference between taxes on income and taxes on purchases. Some people justify the latter because such taxes include all citizens. But they do not stop to realize that sales taxes often attack the poor at the level of their actual survival in a modern society, while the same taxes are a mere nuisance for the rich.
In other words, the rich will not only be able to survive, but they will be able to continue to spend money with enough left over to invest and even to waste. If you’re buying an extra umbrella for your private swimming pool, a few extra dollars will mean nothing. But if you are buying oil for your old used car to get to a low-paying job, you will be counting your pennies – if you have any left.
COLETA R. McNAMARA
In a recent glossy mailer, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, listed a number of important things that his office could do for you. It can get your World War II medals, get your birthday recognized, help provide a flag, secure an internship for your college student or play tour guide if you go to Washington, D.C.
The mailer also talked about reducing spending – but not current military spending, which makes up 30 percent of the federal budget. It also advocated lowering pollution standards so that we can have “high-paying jobs” and cheaper bicycles and toothbrushes (his examples). After all, global warming is only a theory that those darned environmental scientists are scaring us with.
Pompeo wants to strengthen Second Amendment rights. We in America have a gun available for every man, woman and child, so what is Pompeo afraid of? The bogeyman of gun confiscation that has never been proposed? Most Americans of both parties support some gun-control policy changes, but not Pompeo.
Pompeo also is “looking out for seniors” while pursuing the Koch brothers’ agenda of privatization and the defunding of social programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
It’s not too early to start thinking about the 2014 election and who can replace Pompeo.
In 2006, Sen. Barack Obama criticized President Bush for his borrowing. Obama would not vote for increasing the debt ceiling. He said that “increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’”
After President Obama took office, he promised to cut the deficit he had inherited by half by the end of his first term in office. He would not leave our children with a debt they could not repay.
The national debt is up by more than $5 trillion after his first term. What happened to worries about leaving debt to our children? If interest rates start to rise, the debt will bury us and our children.
STEPHEN L. GUGLETA
Wars more tragic
At the hearing last week regarding the Benghazi attack, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the attack that killed four Americans was “the worst tragedy since 9/11.” I would suggest to Paul that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, killing thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of innocent civilians for no good reason, will be seen in history as far more tragic. And the snarky disrespect that Paul showed to our great secretary of state and future president was inexcusable.
Live music inspires
The hype and indignation surrounding the news that Beyonce lip-synced her performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at President Obama’s inauguration proves that audiences still value live performances.
CD studio recordings are always cleaner than a live performance because the artist has the luxury of multiple recording sessions. If the recording is “better,” why subject our ears to a less-than-perfect performance? It is because the shared aesthetic of a live performance provides an emotional connection with others that recordings cannot replicate.
So support live music. Go to a symphony concert; these are guaranteed acoustic musicians. Attend your local theater; no performance is ever the same. Audiences inspire the performer as much as the audience is inspired. Live music will inspire, but only if the audience shows up.
Director of choral activities
Wichita State University