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Friday, May 22, 2015

Opinion: Cycling, taxes, class

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Tour of Missouri is a seven-day, 623-mile world-class professional cycling race featuring 15 teams and 120 cyclists. It started Monday Sept. 8 in St. Joseph, Mo., And ends Sunday in St. Louis.

This race was highly successful last year with an estimated 376,566 spectators and international publicity. Approximately $26.2 million in new tourism dollars were generated for the state. It's expected to do as well this year, with much credit going to the efforts of Gov. Matt Blunt and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.

The Tour of Missouri is slated to be one of the top three professional cycling races in the United States.

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Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.

— Basketball coach John Wooden

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A philosophy of life: "In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current. Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give up the earth itself and all it contains, rather than do an immoral act. And never suppose, that in any possible situation, or under any circumstances, it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing. Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly.

"He who permits himself to tell a lie once finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells a lie without attending to it, and trusts without the world believing him."

— Thomas Jefferson

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Stand for something: "The most boring and useless people in the world are those who are too afraid to stand for something. You not only have the right to be an individual, you have the obligation. Never try to be somebody else — you must always be yourself. Your dreams, commitment, drive and pride must come from within. Therefore, your first responsibility is to yourself. Nobody can do a better job being you than you, so don't try to be someone else.

"Don't be afraid to take a stand. Don't be afraid to speak up. Consider whether something is right or wrong, not whether it's popular. You cannot make any useful contribution to society unless you do."

— The Edge

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Tax burden: Upper-incomers are bearing a record share of the income-tax burden. The top 1 percent of filers paid 39.9 percent of all federal income taxes, up from 39.4 percent in the previous year, according to IRS data for 2006, the most recent year available. Yet those taxpayers reported just 22 percent of the total adjusted gross income on returns. The minimum AGI level needed to be in the top 1 percent rose to a new high: $388,800.

The highest 5 percent paid 60.1 percent of total income tax and made 36.7 percent of all AGI. They each had adjusted gross incomes of at least $153,500. And the top 10 percent of filers, those with AGIs of $108,900 or more, bore 70.8 percent of the total tax burden while pulling in a little more than 47 percent of the total of adjusted gross income.

Note that the bottom 50 percent of all filers paid 3 percent of the total income tax bill.

The lowest-income earners actually had a negative income tax rate because they get the earned income credit, which refunds income and payroll taxes.

— Kiplinger newsletter

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There's no magic in the oil price decline: There are no shortages. And demand is softening. Oil producers are watching anxiously as individuals and firms permanently adopt energy saving measures. Drivers who converted to hybrid cars, for example, won't return to gas-guzzling SUVs and pickup trucks. The drop in gasoline prices may spur a bit more driving, but not enough to return pump prices to previous peaks.

Warnings about running out of oil are overdone. Oil production will likely rise 10 percent by 2018, though it will be pricey. Even as older wells in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere fade, new technologies will open production from huge reserves off Brazil's coast ... potentially 50 billion barrels of oil. With other likely bonanzas ... in the Arctic and off the U.S. And West African coasts ... increases in oil supply will outpace demand, despite continued rapid growth in emerging economies.

Moreover, increased conservation and alternative fuels will play a key role. Doomsday forecasts made a decade ago underestimated the impact they'd have.

— Kiplinger newsletter

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John McCain has class: What is class?

Class never runs scared. It is sure-footed and confident in the knowledge that you can meet life head-on and handle whatever comes along.

Jacob had it. Esau didn't. Symbolically, we can look to Jacob's wrestling match with the angel. Those who have class have wrestled with their own personal "angel" and won a victory that marks them thereafter.

Class never makes excuses. It takes its lumps and learns from past mistakes.

Class is considerate of others. It knows that good manners are nothing more than a series of petty sacrifices.

Class bespeaks an aristocracy that has nothing to do with ancestors or money. The most affluent blueblood can be totally without class while the descendant of a Welsh miner may ooze class from every pore.

Class never tries to build itself up by tearing others down.

Class is already up and need not strive to look better by making others look worse.

Class can "walk with kings and keep its virtue, and talk with crowds and keep the common touch." Everyone is comfortable with the person who has class — because he is comfortable with himself.

If you have class, you don't need much of anything else. If you don't have it, no matter what else you have—it doesn't make much difference.

— Author unknown

Gary Rust is chairman of Rust Communications.


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