I don't know anything about the mythical Alexander Tyler that Michael Parker wrote about in his April 2 letter. I do know, though, that President Bush's tax cuts delivered real benefits to real middle-class families, especially families with children; not $2,000 for a family of four making $40,000, but "only" $1,740.
Since Mr. Parker claims these cuts are "a fraud," he might want to consider a big fan of those cuts who is not a Republican, namely, U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. Baucus is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and is trying to preserve the cuts. He is fighting Democrats who have cut the child tax credit in half and eliminated other of the president's cuts. (see the Finance Committee's Web site,
finance.senate.gov, for details).
Another suggestion would be to read President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address in which the he noted what the cuts would do for a couple with two children and making $40,000 a year. It would cut their federal income taxes from $1,785 to $45. It's not the $2,000 Mr. Parker speaks of, but the $1,740 cut is real and sizeable, not mythical. (The child income credit as raised by the president allows up to $1,000 for each child.)
Mr. Parker might also want to go to the site of the Heritage Foundation where he can find a tax calculator that shows how the cuts would affect single and joint filers, with or without children. He would see that the federal taxes of a couple with three children and making $50,000 were cut from $1,620 to $88. He will see that filers with children ages 17 and younger benefit far more than those without children, which is why it so important to middle-class families.
Taxes are, of course, complex. These numbers are based on a filer taking the standard deduction, which the president raised from $7,950 to $9,500. Some families would have more deductions and their taxes would be lower. It also figures in the elimination of the marriage penalty and other Bush cuts.
Certainly not all who benefit get anywhere near $2,000 because our federal tax system is so progressive. A family of four paying only $500 in federal taxes could get no more than a $500 benefit. President Bush's cuts took another 3.5 million filers off the federal tax roles.)
But if Mr. Parker seems set in his beliefs, I don't suppose any of this evidence will matter, not even Sen. Baucus' efforts to save these cuts the House Democrats are trying to eliminate.
James R. Pilgrim
What if ‘fishing five' didn't pay for golf?
In support of Sheriff Steve Cronic in the case of the "fishing five," I have a story about Steve that has never been public until now.
When he was first elected, I saw an opportunity for me, as an artist, to propose a sculpture for the courthouse yard. Steve came to my house and listened with an open mind. My proposal was to take confiscated firearms and weld them into a large plow or plowshare to give the public a visual experience as to what law enforcement officers face every time they hit the streets.
Steve thought my proposal was a good idea, but said he could not consider it because it would violate the constitutional issue of separation of church and state. I was very impressed with his willingness to set aside personal feelings for the sake of respect for the Constitution. That was at the very beginning of his career as sheriff and now I'm impressed again, these several years later, that he has not diluted his position on the issue of constitutionality. Without that, we would have a mediocre sheriff instead of one we can trust. Thank you, Steve!
Now, about the fishing without licenses should be ignored as harmless activity. I offer this scenario: What if the "fishing five" had decided that they liked golfing instead of fishing and just walked on the city golf course without paying greens fees? That would not violate state laws, only city ordinances.
My guess is that attorneys who play golf are in greater numbers than ones who fish from the banks of Wahoo Creek and that their views on leniency would be more appropriate. After all, fishing licences pay for wildlife research and agents of environmental and ecosystem protection. That money is important to all who want to protect and enjoy green space, and it is state law.
Greens fees are used to maintain greens and large spaces denuded of trees. To not pay them is only a minor violation.
We all know the illegal immigrants work hard and deserve recreation. I suggest to them that they take up golf and avoid those so-called profiling Department of Natural Resources officers whom the attorneys would have us believe are at the root of the "fishing five" dilemma. Perhaps then the attorneys can provide counsel on the greens if the city police arrest them for not paying.
Joseph "Doc" Johnson
Lawyers are sworn to uphold legal behavior
In the article "Lawyers rip Hall program," I didn't read any comments from the three lawyers that encouraged illegal immigrants to go home, get in line and respect the liberal immigration laws of the United States.
In contrast, the lawyers who are sworn to uphold the laws of this country were encouraging our law enforcement officials to "look the other way" and "use direction" with a particular group of people when making arrests. Thank you Sheriff Cronic, Chief Hooper and your respected officers for enforcing the law and not listening to the comments of those out-of-line and out-of-touch attorneys.
Attorney Joe Diaz said he "thinks officials should use discretion with arrestees who are in the country illegally." Hmm ... I thought breaking into someone's home or someone's country was breaking the law and there are consequences.
Attorney Arturo Corso said, "It's tragic that we have an ethnicity of people ... that live in fear of their government." Hmm ... I didn't know this was their government! Perhaps this attorney doesn't understand that the U.S. government is the government of U.S. citizens, not noncitizens who are here illegally.
Attorney David Kennedy said he "believes law enforcement officials are selectively targeting Hispanics." Most people know and understand that there are a lot of people in Hall County who are in the country illegally. The 287(g) program was put in place to help with that problem. If a particular group of people is breaking into the country illegally, then it makes sense to be fair, but also pay attention to that group and solve the problems.
Bravo to the good respected people who enter this country properly and respect our laws. And thank you to our local officials who have the tough job of enforcing the laws.
Water park isn't fair
I just read the item in The Times about the future aquatic park. The idea infuriates me. I'm a senior citizen and can't water my few flowers or yard, much less wash my car at home. I don't even use my dishwasher. I only use one unit per month.
If this park is allowed to be put in with water slides, etc., I plan to use what water I want to and urge everyone else to do the same.