Speak Out 2/5/06

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Lagging performance

CONTRARY TO what President Bush said, education achievement is not all positive. For example, in 2005 fourth-grade reading performance was essentially flat, and eighth-grade reading performance dropped.

Very last option

TIM KAINE said in the Democratic response to the State of the Union address that "the federal government should serve the American people." He might as well have said that it's OK for Americans not go to college. They can sit at home in their HUD house, on their rent-to-own couch, watching their big-screen TV, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day and drinking a case of beer each night, getting up only for restroom calls or another piece of pizza. I'm sure Kaine feels these people should expect the government to pay for their oxygen, to treat their lung disease and to provide blood-pressure medications, tablets to lower cholesterol, insulin for diabetes, stamps to buy food and a paycheck. This country should not depend on the government to help us live. It is up to you to provide for your family. If you can't, you should seek help from your extended family. If that fails, try the church, then a not-for-profit organization. The very last option should be the government.

Wise words

THE WORDS that Sam Blackwell recently quoted from an obituary should be posted on every refrigerator door in America. Jean was a remarkable woman, and if we heeded her final wishes, the world would be a much better place. Thank you, Mr. Blackwell, for sharing her wisdom and yours.

Talking tough

I WISH Martin Luther King III would have gone to Cairo, Ill., to talk tough. Maybe he could have gotten through. But talk is cheap. Where is the action to back it up?

Good show, tough issues

I WAS sad to see that NBC canceled such a heart-touching, soul-searching show like "The Book of Daniel." In a time where television programming consists of bad sitcoms, crime dramas and reality TV, I welcomed the chance to watch a smart, well-written show about a family with many issues that society faces. I was appalled that conservative Christians called for the show's cancellation. I am a lifelong Christian who is active in my local church and the universal church. It worries me to think that Christians are so worried about a TV show that gave my family the initiative to talk about issues that face the church today. I was impressed with the portrayal of Jesus as a down-to-earth man who is there for anyone to talk to. NBC made a mistake in pulling the show.

Taxing burden

ANALYSTS ATTRIBUTE our declining savings rate (which have gone down for two decades, making American savings rates the lowest of most developed countries) to the rise in housing costs, which make us "feel wealthier." Rubbish. The main reason low- to middle-income Americans do not save is because what is popularly called "after-tax income" really isn't. Income, property, personal property, sales, utility and hidden taxes amount to more than 50 percent of our income in this country, more than most other countries. We are fond of citing our low income taxes compared to other countries, but if you add every tax we pay, our tax burden is too high to make saving viable for many.

Business fundamentals

YOU CANNOT have it both ways. You cannot bash corporations for making record profits and bash the president for a failing business. The reason that Wal-Mart is successful is because it effectively manages while catering to the public's demand. The reason Exxon is successful is because it meets a demand with its supply. The reason American autoworkers are losing their jobs is because they make an inferior product that is overpriced and does not meet the consumer's demand.

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