Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Dear Hood River County Commissioners Rivers, Joplin, Meyer, Benton, and Perkins:
I ask the commissioners require that Hood River County government use the U.S. Department of Homeland Security E-Verify (DHS) system.
The importance of Oregon employers using U.S. DHS E-Verify system really becomes apparent when looking at Oregon's unemployment rate, in September 2011 being at 9.6 percent; 178,174 Oregonians were unemployed. The September unemployment numbers for Oregonians in Hood River County were at 7.6 percent; 1,026 of the county's residents were unemployed.
Unemployed Oregonians who are U.S. citizens or foreign citizens legally present with authorization to work in the country should not have to compete for jobs with a purported 97,000 undocumented foreign national workers illegally in the state.
If all Oregon government and business entities not currently using U.S. DHS- E-Verify system were required to use it, Oregon's unemployment rate would drop dramatically because all new jobs created in the state would go to U.S. citizens or those legally present to work in the country.
Currently more than 2,000 Oregon businesses and government entities are successfully using the 98.6-percent-accurate U.S. DHS-E-Verify system. Ten of 36 Oregon county governments are now using the E-Verify system (Deschutes, Harney, Jefferson, Lane, Lincoln, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook and Washington counties). At least 10 Hood River County businesses presently use the E-Verify system.
I ask that the commissioners require Hood River County government to use the U.S. DHS E-Verify system so if a job opening becomes available to work for the county a qualified U.S. citizen or foreign citizen legally present with authorization to work in the country can be first in line for that job.
David Olen Cross
What are we thinking?
I read, with great interest, Bingen Bart's (Bart Vervloet) article (Another Voice, Nov. 4) about the proposed "Cable Park" on the Hood River waterfront.
Well said! I couldn't agree more.
Bart's "points" were thoughtful and well presented. Read it for yourself.
What are we thinking?
Good job! Thanks, Bart!
A frequently quoted statistic by those trying to justify the huge disparity in U.S. wealth is that the top 10 percent pays 70 percent of federal income taxes.
This is a classic example of a true, but meaningless statistic because this situation can happen with all sorts of income and tax rate scenarios. These include some with huge income disparities - and also with flat tax rates that are currently popular with Republican presidential candidates.
As a simple hypothetical example, this statistic would be true of any population in which 10 percent each earn $700,000, the remaining 90 percent each earn $33,333.33, and there is a flat income tax rate of 10 percent; then after tax, the 10 percent each take home $630,000 and the 90 percent each take home $30,000, so the income inequity is a huge $600,000.
(Using a 25 percent flat rate, closer to current reality, would still create a huge inequity of $500,000 in after-tax income.)
And clearly from this example, if we increase the inequity in income between the top 10 percent and the bottom 90 percent, we increase the percentage paid by the top 10 percent; even with a flat rate that favors the rich and penalizes the poor.
Some really meaningful statistics are:
(1) From 1935 until 1980, the top income tax bracket rate was at least 70 percent (90 percent under the Republican Eisenhower administration); whereas now the top rate is 35 percent;
(2) CEOs made 40 times the average wages of their workers in 1980; whereas it is almost 400 times today;
(3) After-tax income of the top 1 percent grew 275 percent from 1979 to 2007, compared with 65 percent growth for the next 19 percent of the population; just 40 percent for the middle 60 percent and only 18 percent for the bottom 20 percent (recent nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office report) .
Astoundingly, in 2007 the top 1 percent owned 42 percent of the country's financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one's home) compared with only 7 percent for the bottom 80 percent (http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html).
Occupy Wall Street is indeed right-on!
Now favors cable park
When I first heard about the cable park idea from many friends who seemed excited about the idea, I too imagined a tacky carousel. However, I just recently watched a video of a real park and am now pretty enthusiastic about the idea. I recommend people to do this before making a judgment.
Personally, I think it fits well in the proposed location, between the windsurfers, kiters and SUPs. From what I have heard there will still be access north of the park for them to mill about and explore the river.
I think this hotel and park will bring more active tourists to our area in the summers, which is good for our local economy.
Is noise a concern? I am unsure if Bart (Vervloet, Another Voice, Nov. 2) was concerned about the apparatus or the participants, but I did not think the apparatus was particularly noisy in the video.
Does this open the door to making the waterfront into an amusement park? I think not; I don't think that idea would be acceptable to many community leaders or locals.
Tax cuts are
I have to admire the Republicans for their tenacity and simple-minded vision for the economy. "Cut taxes on the job creators" and the economy will recover. We've tried this for the last eight years.
In 2003, Bush cut taxes on capital gains and dividend income to 15 percent. Unfortunately, this dropped tax revenue and added $1.3 trillion to the national debt. Despite the rhetoric that Republicans are fiscally conservative, Bush and the Republicans did not cut government spending to offset the lost revenue, so the national debt skyrocketed.
And most importantly, cutting taxes on the rich did not create jobs. In fact, job creation during the Bush/Republican years was the lowest since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Most Republicans are thoughtful, intelligent people who love their family and country. Why don't they realize that lowering taxes on the rich isn't working to improve the economy?
Republican politicians repeat the sound bite over and over "cut taxes on the job creators." Could it be that they don't really understand that the main role of business is to make money?
Despite a deep recession and massive national debt, corporate profits are at an all-time high and the fat cats have made oodles of money by moving plants overseas and cutting jobs. Corporations and the rich are not in business to be "job creators"; they are in business to make money.
Thirty years ago President Reagan was promising us that by letting the rich get richer all the rest of us would benefit by the trickle-down effect. Now after years of this practice being in effect we find that we really don't like being dripped on. Is there really any surprise here?
Supposedly by letting the rich keep all of their earnings, they would reinvest those earnings and create jobs. Well, that kind-of happened: They kept their earnings and then invested them in countries throughout the world, killing off America's manufacturing base.
At present the wealthiest 1 percent of the population controls about 50 percent of our nation's wealth, and apparently to many, that is not enough. When will they be satisfied? When they control 90 percent of the wealth, maybe?
There are actually countries out there where that kind of wealth and the power that goes with it is controlled by a very few; we normally refer to them as Third World countries. Is that what we really want to have happen here in America?
The great equalizers throughout much of the 20th century were the federal income tax and the federal estate tax. Without these taxes the great American middle class would never have existed. These taxes paid for our highways, airports, hydropower and electrical transmission systems, and many other public works.
On top of all that, the tax system has tended to moderate the fluctuations in our economy; but now with those protections significantly lessened we today are experiencing economic recessions the depths of which have not been seen in over 70 years.
It is time that the government of this country once again works for the social benefit for the mass of people who live and work here and not for the overly rich elite; especially the one wacky class of the elite we call corporate persons.
Our ability to have a voice in our government should not be dependent on the size of our wallets but on the worth of what we have to say. We need our country back.
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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge