Editor's Note: Not often do we run unsigned letters and not often do we run letters of this length. In this one case, we thought the message was worth making an exception. We believe "John Q. Public" speaks for many of us on topics from federal grants to the war in Iraq.
Dear Congresswoman, Senator, Editor, Sir or Madam:
Just a few things on my mind:
Grants - Every time someone says or prints the word grant or grants, please don't say or print the word grant or grants, instead please say taxpayer dollars, because that is what grants really are. They are our hard earned tax dollars that some congressman or senator or government agency is giving away to some organization or business or even a person. Actually, I wish you would stop giving away my tax dollars (grants) period. Why don't you reduce our taxes and then we can decide where the money should go!
There are many businesses and organizations that their staffs are making very high salaries because of all the tax dollars (grants) that are given away. I would like to know how many times the word grant or grants were printed in any major newspaper (Sikeston Standard-Democrat or larger) last year!
And remember it's not your money to give away it's the taxpayers' money! Sometimes it looks like you give our money to groups just to make sure you are re-elected.
Farmers - Last week I had to go to Poplar Bluff, and I decided to take the back roads and you know what I found? There is no such thing as a poor farmer anymore. There are rich farmers and there are middle class farmer, but there are no poor farmers. Take the back roads from Cape Girardeau to Poplar Bluff and you won't see any poor farmers. The great American farmer no longer has to be a good farmer or a good manager because the federal government got involved in farming. It's very similar to grants they just call it many other names, price support, price subsidy, disaster relief, farm support, farm payments. Anyway, I think you get the idea.
I was brought up to believe in the free enterprise system, they actually taught this and democracy in our schools. But the federal government or at least Congress doesn't believe in the free enterprise system. They pass nothing called the "Farm Bill" every few years to determine if farmers are going to be able to buy the brand new $60,000 4x4 trucks or just the $50,000 4x4 trucks. I have no problem with anyone owning an expensive vehicle, but make them earn it because they are successful, not because of some stupid farm bill!
Now the free enterprise system will work if you let it! Get the great American farmer off of welfare. It is ridiculous what Congress has done to farming in my lifetime. And don't tell me that other countries give subsidies to their farmers, because I don't care. This is still a free country and no one put a gun to a farmer's head and said you have to be a farmer. They do it by choice! If they want to move to another country where they get farm subsidies, they can!
Get the great American farmer off of welfare, or start handing out money to everyone so we can all have big fancy homes and big expensive cars. The good farmers will be much better off. When you have individual farmers making $200,000 from taxpayer dollars, they don't have to be good farmers to make a good living.
It sounds like I'm anti-farming, but I'm not. I grew up on a farm and I'm 100 percent pro-farmer. I just want everyone to play by the same rules, no subsidies. Also be careful with tax breaks which can be very similar to a grant or a subsidy!
True story, a highly paid professional quit his position and started farming, which should tell us something! Can you believe it, all that education to get ahead in life and he becomes a farmer. That's not to say that farmers don't need an education, because believe me, once you get them off of welfare, they are going to have to be well educated!
Save Social Security - You have known about it for years. Now is the time to solve the problem and it is easy to do. Do the following:
1. Raise taxes a little bit for everyone.
2. Raise taxes for the rich people (adjusted gross income single person $100,000 and over, married $175,000 and over) just a little bit more.
3. Raise taxes for the super rich (adjusted gross income $500,000 or more) just a little bit more.
4. Cut benefits a little bit for everyone.
5. Cut benefits for the rich people (adjusted gross income single person $100,000 and over, married $l75,000 and over) just a little bit more.
6. Cut benefits for the super rich (adjusted gross income $500,000 or more) just a little bit more.
7. Have no limit to the amount of taxable earnings, just like they do with the taxation for Medicare now.
8. Let the public invest one-fourth of their trust fund money, but only by a trained team of professional investors, similar to how the federal government's Thrift Savings Plans are invested. It it is successful, gradually increase the amount to one-half, and if it is not successful, stop it! But in no case give the public direct access to their funds!
9. Make Social Security coverage mandatory for everyone, 100 percent!
Travel Budgets and Travel Expenses - The Federal Government can and should reduce their travel budgets by 75 percent. Seventy-five percent of the meetings they have are not needed. With today's technology, maybe they don't need any meetings. Just think how many federal agencies there are, and every time they have a management meeting, let's say in Chicago, they pay travel expenses to get there, they pay for their lodging and they pay for their meals and incidentals. Do you know how much that costs? Well I do because I used to work for the government, and it costs a bunch. Again with today's technology there is no need for meetings. It defeats the purpose of buying the technology! It also keeps more people in the office working and answering the phones. Try to call a government office, you never talk to a person anymore, you listen to a machine or leave a message in someone's voice mail box.
Special Note - I have a good friend that works for DAEOC that has had meetings in New York City, San Francisco and even Las Vegas. Remember my first subject. The only reason DAEOC exists is grants (taxes) and they can afford to go on trips to New York City, San Francisco and even Las Vegas. Why is DAEOC going on meetings anyway? Believe me if DAEOC didn't exist 99 percent of the population would not know it was gone.
Natural Disaster, Especially Hurricanes - I have no problem with the federal government helping with disasters, in fact I think they should. But, help our country much more than foreign countries. But (don't you just hate it when someone uses but) I am tired of rebuilding Florida and the Gulf Coast, year after year after year with taxpayer dollars. This is a free country and people live down there by choice, so they must know the risks. It's kind of like living on the New Madrid Fault Line. If the taxpayer keeps rebuilding it for them, they will continue to live there.
Special Note - For what it costs to fly the President to New Orleans on Air Force One so many time, we could have rebuilt everyone in New Orleans a brand new home.
Iron Curtain - If we build a fence between the USA and Mexico will we call it the Iron Curtain? When Russia built a wall between East and West Germany, that's what we called it. I think the United States of America has entirely too many people, but is an Iron Curtain really the answer? Are we going to machine gun anyone trying to escape to Mexico? I don't have an answer! Maybe we could make Mexico the 51st, 52nd, 53rd and 54th states.
Flag Burning - This is the United States of America, I cry when they play the National Anthem. I cry at military funerals. I have worn the uniform of an American soldier. But, (this is a big but), this is the United States of America, this is freedom, all kinds of freedom. If you deny someone the right to burn a flag, then what other freedom can you take away? I love our flag, but if you deny someone the right to burn it, you will dishonor everyone who has died defending this country and all of its freedoms.
Abortion - I am very much anti-abortion, but I am very much pro-choice. The government has no business telling a woman what she can do with her body. When the fetus has a reasonable chance of surviving outside the mother, then it is life and should be protected by all of our laws. But early in the development of a fetus we are not killing a human being. There are way too many unwanted, uncared for, neglected children brought into this world. I am also tired of supporting them through my tax dollars.
If your beautiful 14-year-old daughter was violently raped by the biggest, fattest, meanest, escaped convict in the world and your 14-year-old daughter becomes pregnant, will you want to bring this child into this world? If your answer is yes, then you pay for it and you bring it up without taxpayer help!
Get out of Iraq - It's just like Vietnam, they don't want us there and we don't want to be there. We can never win. The best we can hope for is that we develop a good relationship with whatever government or heaven forbid dictator that takes control.
John Q. Public or The Silent Majority
I can't be very loud; I live next door to a farmer