Guilt by biased photo association?

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Under the headline ("Jetton: The rise and fall") on a Page 1 article in Monday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch was a photograph of Rod Jetton -- former speaker of the Missouri House from Marble Hill -- next to an unidentified man. The unnamed person would be recognized by most Southeast Missourians and many others across the state as Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder of Cape Girardeau.

The Post-Dispatch needs to identify who decided on this biased use of a photo that goes against journalistic fairness. The lack of identification was, to me, an obvious attempt to associate Kinder with Jetton, who has had some political problems of late. But the fact is Kinder and Jetton are not bosom buddies. Even the Post-Dispatch article points out their disagreement, observing that Kinder "also criticized Jetton for his consulting."

Last fall, more than 3,000 people enjoyed a civil debate on health care plans between former congressman Newt Gingrich and Democratic Party national chairman Howard Dean at Southeast Missouri State University's Show Me Center.

I've always enjoyed the ability of Gingrich, a former history teacher, to recall and use facts.

In the Jan. 18 issue of Forbes magazine, Gingrich discussed the "insanity" of big-government stimulus packages, pointing out the basically unsustainable spending plans of the current Congress.

The following is an excerpt from Gingrich's Forbes article, co-authored with Dan Varroney, chief operating officer of American Solutions. The article contains recommended actions.

"It's time to try a real plan for real job creation, starting with the goal of a balanced budget. ... The principles are smaller government, lower spending, lower interest rates and less debt.

"The first step we should take is to allow workers and employers to keep more of their hard-earned money through an immediate, two-year 50 percent reduction of the payroll tax. This step would immediately boost the take-home pay of every worker and dramatically free up cash for every employer to hire and invest. This tax relief could be paid for by redirecting unspent stimulus funds.

"Second, we should allow small businesses to deduct 100 percent of new equipment expenses to help them invest in more productive technologies, which would in turn boost economic activity where it is need most.

"Third, in a globalizing economy we must find ways for America to be the best place for anyone to invest in and start a business. that begins with reducing the tax burden on businesses. Ireland's business tax rate is 12.5 percent, which ours is almost three time that and is the second highest in the world. Since adopting this 12.5 percent rate 15 years ago, Ireland has taken its per capita income from the second lowest in the European Union to the second highest.

"Fourth, to encourage investment, we should match the Chinese rate of tax on capital gains. That rate is zero.

"Fifth, we should abolish the death tax. This tax punishes Americans for working, saving and creating wealth -- exactly the opposite of what we need to encourage economic growth. Repealing the death tax would create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

"Finally, we need to develop more of America's vast domestic energy resources, which can generate millions of new jobs and billions in new tax revenues here at home largely without having to spend any federal dollars.

"The choice couldn't be clearer: We can either continue down the same path of big government stimulus and hope for a different result, or we can get back to balancing the budget and reducing taxes on small businesses and entrepreneurs to reward job creation, work, savings and investment. Politicians can afford to be insane. Taxpayers cannot."

An America that is militarily and economically strong is not enough. The world must see an America that is morally strong. -- President Ronald Reagan.

Boldness: What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner, "I stand for consensus"? -- Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

All anybody needs to know about prizes is that Mozart never won one. -- Henry Mitchell

Gary Rust is chairman of Rust Communications.

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