The country’s in trouble
In reference to Howard Hendrick’s editorial (”The tipping point for families,” March 7, Oklahoma Gazette), Howard is exactly right — he defines the problem elegantly, but does not cover the cause or the cure. Young people (anywhere in the world) will have sex, regardless of their economic status. When economic times are tough, what he describes is what will happen.
Look back to the 1950s and ’60s.
Then, a young man, 18 years old and recently graduated from high school, could easily find a “good” job at a factory (probably a unionized factory), and make “real” money. He could afford to get married, buy a car, buy a house and probably be able to start a family.
This cannot happen in the U.S. today, except under very rare circumstances. Unions have been essentially broken, jobs have gone to China and other thirdworld countries. All trade pacts have been bad for the American worker — including recent ones with South Korea, Panama and Colombia.
Most people are unaware that South Korea now has a pact with North Korea, which will allow the ungodly poor starving North Koreans to work in South Korea for almost nothing.
These trade pacts are sponsored by 100 percent of the Republicans and close to 50 percent of the Democrats. The politicians of our country have sold out to Wall Street, K Street and certain ultra-rich people like the famous Koch Brothers.
By hook or by crook, the people must take their country back.
—J.A. Gowman Oklahoma City
‘Null and void’
Dear Mr. Bill Davidson: Your views on abortion (Letters, “Snuffing out life,” March 7, Gazette) are null and void. Write back when you have a vagina and are pregnant.
—Cate Stovall Enid
Trying something new for the economy
I really enjoy the letters you publish, but there is one thing that bothers me. Many letter writers seem to feel they must make a derogatory comment about someone who disagrees with them. In his opening paragraph, D.W. Tiffee (“Oklahoma is not OK,” Feb. 29) claims that the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs is “deranged” because it supports a reduction in or the elimination of state income taxes. Remarks like this weaken arguments Tiffee makes to support his position.
Tiffee reports Oklahoma’s per capita gross state product growth of 14 percent over the last 10 years was the thirdhighest in the nation. This “statistic” is almost meaningless. Without knowing the per capita gross state product growth in all states, the ranking of the third highest is not worth a bucket of warm spit. Are you better off than you were 10 years ago?
He also tells us between 2000 and 2010 Oklahoma per capita income grew faster than six of the nine states with no income tax. Perhaps this is true, but where did you stand in relation to those states in 2000? If you start a race 100 yards behind your competitors, you might only be 90 yards behind after one lap of the track. You ran faster for one lap but you are still behind.
Tiffee argues that middle-class families are better off in terms of mean income when the percentage of the gross domestic product taken by the federal government is high. If you ever have the chance to see how family income is calculated, you might question this claim.
Say your family makes $40,000 per year and you pay $10,000 in tax, which leaves you $30,000 to spend. According to the government bureaucrats, you receive $15,000 in benefits (the $10,000 you pay in taxes plus $5,000 they borrowed from China).
Therefore, your family income is $45,000 ($30,000 you took home plus the $15,000 you get in benefits). However, can you pay rent, buy food, etc., with this $15,000 in phantom income?
If money can be made out of thin air, perhaps we need to raise the state income tax rate in Oklahoma rather than lower it. All of the problems Tiffee identified would be solved and Oklahoma would become the second Eden. The only remaining question would be how high should we go? I am sure that Tiffee would argue that the current rate of 5.25 percent isn’t high enough and the former rate of 7 percent was not high enough. Would Tiffee support a state income tax rate of 10 percent? If that’s good, why not 20 percent?
States with no income tax gained eight seats in the U.S. House in 2010. High income-tax states lost five seats. People are voting with their feet if they can. Oklahoma originally had eight seats in the House. Oklahoma now has five.
It’s time to try something different.
Maybe eliminating the income tax will not solve all our problems, but continuing to do the same thing and expecting to get different results is madness.
—Russell Jones Guthrie
Great times for Okc
To live in Oklahoma City today is exciting. The approval by the Oklahoma City Council to restructure Centennial Plaza or Civic Center park is a great gift to all of us. Making this prominent property a spectacular centerpiece for the arts and civic affairs gives us all a feeling of pride and excitement.
Having been active in establishing the Alliance for Cultural Facilities in 1989, consisting of 120 members from all areas of OKC, there was lengthy discussion of improving the park along with renovation of Civic Center Music Hall. MAPS provided money for the Civic Center, but not enough for a complete makeover of the park.
After 23 years of concern and vigorous deliberation over this prominent property, it is exciting to see this restructuring begin.
Our City Council led by our great mayor, Mick Cornett, along with City Manager Jim Couch, have continued to utilize professional interest in improving our city. The entire staff works diligently to provide our city with an environment that attracts state and national attention.
Many thanks to Rand Elliott and the citizens, both public and private, for their combined thoughts, many months and hundreds of hours of deliberation. The final design will provide a muchneeded, spectacular centerpiece for arts and civic affairs.
What a great contribution to our city.
—Sandy Meyers Oklahoma City
An uphill fight
I can only hope that the photograph taken of Wilson Elementary School kids at lunch (“A Heavy Duty, Rachel Curtis, March 14, Gazette) is archival, or the Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition really has its work cut out for it.
It’s difficult to see everything on a child’s plate, but I think it’s safe to say that at least 90 percent is white. The french fries are more brown or gold, but they started out as white. It does not appear that Wilson Elementary has quite gotten the hang of what constitutes a healthy lunch for growing kids.
It’s a great article about a problem — childhood obesity — that is endemic to Oklahoma and a lot of Southern states, and the efforts to fight it. But it’s an uphill battle, I think, when legislators vote on bills that approve ketchup as a vegetable.
—Pamela Byrd Oklahoma City