Aug. 6 letters

Aug 05, 2014

Congrats to Haywood Helps!

To the editor:

It is not every day that a community has the opportunity to reset its course in terms of how it approaches social challenges.

Haywood Helps’ successful winning of the Ty  Pennington’s Ultimate Challenge is just such an opportunity. However, caution needs to be taken in the long and tedious implementation task at hand  to accomplish the promise of true community service and successful job search.

The old prison’s conversion to a half-way house and homeless shelter offers a promising segue to move beyond the traditional welfare model.

The well-established social dependency model within our society has resulted in too many folks’ lives being reduced to that of second-class citizens as they are perceived to not have the ability to care for themselves.

In the name of charity, we have unconsciously conditioned folks to be recipients as opposed to partners in moving beyond their poverty status. “Doing for” when people are well capable of “doing for themselves” distracts us from how to best approach poverty and its well-known associated byproducts.

As a retired social entrepreneur/community organizer practitioner with over 35 years of international experience, I have witnessed the ill effects of good intentions gone awry.

We need to recognize the importance of human dignity via “working with, not for” those who are economically and socially marginalized.

Haywood Helps has committed itself to the establishment of a new norm which recognizes and respects the individual’s ability to take charge of their own life via a “hands’ up” not a “hand out” approach.

Let us move together to develop a new paradigm worthy of those interested in taking ownership of their own lives.

Jim Geenen



Corporate tax loophole costs all

To the editor:

A recent letter writer cited Walgreen’s merger with a European company as an example of how high U.S. corporate taxes drive companies overseas to get a 20 percent income tax rate.

In reality, Walgreen is simply using a U.S. tax loophole to avoid paying taxes like other multinational corporations.

The “official” tax rate is a joke.  The average corporation paid a tax rate of 12.6 percent last year according to the GAO.  The reason there is a huge difference between what the tax rate supposedly is (at around 30 percent) and what corporations actually pay is due to all the loopholes often designed for the larger corporations.

Of the 288 consistently most profitable of the Fortune 500, the average tax rate was 19.4 percent.  About 10 percent of these companies not only paid no taxes, many had a negative tax rate.  That means the government paid them more than they paid the government.

This is due to subsidies where middle-class taxpayers support corporations.  General Electric, Duke Energy, Verizon, and Boeing are among the companies that paid no federal income tax.

Among the companies that got $364 billion in subsidies over the past few years are Walmart, AT&T, Wells Fargo Bank, ExxonMobil and J. P. Morgan Chase.  Walmart really needs to be supported by our tax dollars.

The reality is that tax rates are not the issue.  If it were not for all the loopholes for the rich and the large corporations, middle-class taxpayers could pay less in taxes.

Norman Hoffmann


Is ruling a ploy?

To the editor:

The deep thinkers with the National Park Service are at it again. Heat-treated firewood?

Is the firewood not going to be heat-treated on site? I don’t hear the N.C. Forest Service crying wolf.

Could this be just another ploy of the NPS to keep locals out of their campgrounds?

Joe Noland