Reader letters — Aug. 25

Aug 25, 2014

Tax money should not go to business


I understand the importance of the Canton mill to our part of the world.

Between Champion/Blue Ridge and Evergreen, I spent 24 years of my life selling the products. I was a fourth generation employee and was well paid for my efforts.

However, to give tax dollars to a profitable corporation owned by a New Zealand citizen is just plain wrong.

Did our politicians bother to do their due diligence? Did anyone look at the financials of the holding company, Reynolds Packaging Holdings? Did any one look into the wealth of the owner, Mr. Hart? New Zealand’s richest ?

Something north of $5 billion? I have no sympathy for an individual who lives in a $10 million home and floats around the Pacific in his 100 meter, $100 million yacht. If he wants the mill to be part of his cash cow herd of companies, let him write the check to keep his operation going.

Google the New Zealand Herald and you can read all about him.

Once again our politicians are giving away our hard earned money under the veiled threat of lost jobs — I think you can call that extortion.

Oh, by the way did our politicians know the company is for sale? Hart has already unloaded his Carter Holt Harvey paper operations to the Japanese. His aseptic packaging company SIG is on the block as well.

It appears Hart is cashing in and moving on aided by our tax dollars and spineless incompetent elected officials.

There is a higher and better use of taxpayer funds. How about $12 million to teacher salaries? How about $12 million to Medicaid? How about 12 million to scholarships to our children?

If you know anything about the paper industry you would know the segments that EPI participates in is a double digit annual declining business. Hart knows this-he has made his money and he is moving on.

The point — can we get rid of all the current crop of political hacks and elect people that represent us all in a competent frugal way? Sadly, probably not.

Mike Green



Americans need to re-evaluate their priorities

You know what really makes my bacon grease pop out of the frying pan and splatter all over the stovetop?

It’s when I pick up the sports page or turn TV on to the sports news and learn about some potential professional athlete turning down a five-year contract offer of $50 million. Is that kind of hard for you guys to believe, too? Fifty million to pop a puck, bounce a ball or to toss part of a pig or run with it really fast and crooked like.

Whatever “games” these athletes play, it seems like they’re always turning down these amounts of money that I don’t even know how to count. What is that? You know what I think? I believe we make it possible for them to do that.

Seems like we’re the ones who fill the stands every week to see these “games” and pay those gosh-awful ticket prices. Seems like we’re the ones who buy all the bright colored T-shirts and sweats at twice or three times the price of ordinary shirts and sweats.

Seems like we’re the ones who buy the products, in volume, put out by the multitude of sponsors.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love sports. I even played most of them. I still play some of them. But you know what? There’s something bad wrong here. Let me ask you to put your imaginations to work for just a moment. I’ll provide the scenario.

Suppose you could buy two tickets for $5 to go see a young, brilliant research chemist looking through a microscope at a little floating organism doing a fancy behind-the-back dribble. Suppose you learned from the newspaper or TV that he had accepted a job for $75,000 a year without a “no cut” contract. And just suppose you knew that he was working to find the cure for cancer or A.I.D.S.?

Would you buy those tickets? Isn’t there something wrong with priorities here? Summarizing, we live in America. I love sports. I love my family. I love you. I love about everything that’s right. What is right? I keep thinking about it. Do you?

David Wright

Lake Junaluska


Register to vote in November election now

To the editor:

In the last election, we the people of North Carolina chose to elect and be governed by a mostly one party legislature and governor. Our votes, or non-votes created a mob mentality in Raleigh that will be hard to change.

To date, we have forfeited our children’s future success by eliminating teachers and classroom assistants, and we won’t be able to hire quality replacement teachers.

Now, those who can least afford them, are paying higher taxes. Now, our local governments don’t have the resources, to provide the services we expect from them.

But we still don’t want to pay taxes to support them. Public society, just like family society, is a balancing act where our corporate actions should provide for the overall common good.

Electing our legislators and governors should be providing us with a fair balance, not taking us on a train to perdition by throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Our legislators, with our permission through the voting process, are reversing civil rights, women’s rights and by reducing access to public education, leading us into ignorance and poverty.

We can demonstrate and protest all we want as each of our public services and civil rights drop off the table one by one, but change won’t happen unless we (ALL OF US) vote.

Please register now. Vote on Nov. 4. The mandatory voter ID does not go into effect until 2016. Friday, Oct. 10 is the registration deadline for the Nov. 4 general election.

For more information visit the Haywood County website and select the Elections button. The Elections Board phone number is 452-6633.

Penny Wallace


Comments (19)
Posted by: Scott Lilly | Aug 25, 2014 10:59

Ms. Wallace, your point implies a point that I think deserves saying directly.  "Now, our local governments don’t have the resources, to provide the services we expect from them."  In fact, those of us who pay taxes are getting the services we expect from government.  The argument could be made that we believe there are too many services the government is providing that we the taxpayers do not feel are necessary.  (Section 8 recipients, for example, do not need assistance if they can afford tattoos and cable TV.)  Or, as we saw with the almost-forgotten sequester, government holds hostage "legitimate" services (like closing the parkway) until that always-hungry machine we call "government" gets its demand for "more".


However, those that do not pay taxes increasingly demand services from government that are not appropriate.  And there are those that get fame and fortune advocating "the needy".  Those that genuinely assist the needy in good faith typically work to put themselves out of a job.  Those that demand more resources typically work for a future of their self-preservation profiting (in money or fame) from their role in perpetuating a "need".  Just look at food stamps.  The objective of (most of) those who work in that branch of government is to increase participation and their self-worth.  They have been quite successful increasing participation in years of late.  Who has the incentive to reduce participation in food stamps thereby encouraging food stamp recipients to become self-sufficient?


To your point, the "mob mentality" might be just what the doctor ordered for this day and age.  Someone needs to tax-and-spend more responsibly than we have been doing in the last decade.  (Pres. Bush years included)  I'd like to see more people support "responsible government" and more "personal responsibility".  PLEASE VOTE IN NOVEMBER TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT OF GOVERNMENT REFORM!  :-) 

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Aug 25, 2014 12:57

                    It is because of George WAR bush that WE are in the mess WE are in. That and "rayguns" nonsense. To fail to realize that is irressponsable.

                    "Trickle-down" does not work and has instead resulted in a huge transfer of wealth from the lower and middle tax-brackets to the alreddy in the top. OUR tax laws give to "vulture" capitolists the ability to force US to pay for their transgressions against US. This is just unimaginable. But then the right complain about the costs of the aftermath the loss of jobs thru outsources creates.

                   Simply stated those on the right primarily have no moral ground to stand on. They simply do not want to pay for the costs of Liberty.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Aug 25, 2014 13:30

"have no moral ground to stand on" -- it depends on who is judging the morality and by what standard.  If the moral standard is to motivate as many people as possible to directly-control their own destiny, then we're moving in the right direction.  If the moral standard is to create dependencies by as many people as possible to empower government to abuse some that will literally feed them, then you're right... we're getting worse.


I define "Liberty" as my own personal freedom.  I do not agree with buying Liberty for others.  Same as I own my own right to be as healthy as I want.  I do not agree with buying the health of someone else to a level that government gets to decide.  Using either of those logical arguments, government can take from my pocket without limit.  Nobody will ever be truly "free" and nobody will ever be completely "healthy".  But that won't stop government picking our pockets in the name of "Liberty" and "Health".  Just like they did when they said "Social Security" -- took all that money from all those people and now government is complaining that they squandered the money taken for the purpose of retirement.  I wonder how much better we as a society would have been if all these years we could have kept all our social security taxes for ourselves.  (out of our paychecks and the employer taxes on that)

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Aug 25, 2014 15:05

            You still don't understand the purpose of OUR secular republic. Nor the Founding Principles of a representative democracy. Let alone the Social Contract.

             The primary objective of OUR govt. is to equally protect "all persons" Naturally inherent inalienable rights while providing for the "General Welfare". Obviously you don't want to contribute to OUR General Welfare. You just want to keep all you gain from Liberty for yourself. Imagine that.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Aug 25, 2014 15:40

Your defined purpose of the secular republic and founding principles are flawed.  The beauty of it is you do not get to decide that for me until you get elected or become judge.  Good luck with that.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Aug 26, 2014 08:11

           You can't understand nor comprehend OUR Founding Principles.

            I most certainly can protect those essential principles from the constant attack of those that would change them. That is the beauty of a republic dedicated to the equal protection of civil rights.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Aug 26, 2014 09:55

Case in point: You define "civil rights" as something related to how much or little wealth one has.  And you define "oppression" as something imaginary that one with wealth can do to another without wealth.  That is flawed.  You just have regular class-envy and you do not argue with integrity.


Wealth isn't a civil right:


Posted by: Scott Lilly | Aug 26, 2014 09:57

"Civil Rights" defined by an educated expert:


"A civil right is an enforceable right or privilege, which if interfered with by another gives rise to an action for injury. Examples of civil rights are freedom of speech, press, and assembly; the right to vote; freedom from involuntary servitude; and the right to equality in public places. Discrimination occurs when the civil rights of an individual are denied or interfered with because of their membership in a particular group or class. Various jurisdictions have enacted statutes to prevent discrimination based on a person's race, sex, religion, age, previous condition of servitude, physical limitation, national origin, and in some instances sexual orientation."




Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Aug 26, 2014 10:29

                Most certainly the civil rights of the middle and lower tax brackets are being oppressed by "trickle-down economics", being that they are having to support those in another "particular group or class".

                Civil rights as defined by OUR Founders are those that WE are born with.

                 Equal protection from oppressive tyranny requires a constant redistribution of wealth/power. OUR progressive tax codes that were used until "rayguns" were doing a fairly good job of preventing the abuse of power WE see now from too much wealth/power in too few hands.

             Progressive taxes are the bridle that prevents run away oppression.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Aug 26, 2014 11:22

"Equal protection from oppressive tyranny requires a constant redistribution of wealth/power." -- False


Posted by: Scott Lilly | Aug 26, 2014 11:33

If I have $10,000,000 and you have $10, I cannot oppress you.  And you are not subject to tyranny.


Oppression: prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control

cruel and oppressive government or rule


Our system of government prevents me from oppressing you regardless of how much wealth I have.  If you feel my wealth is oppressing you, take me to court and the judge will decide that -- not you.  If you feel the government is tyrannical, join the Republicans -- as they *should* be promoting the Constitution as a protection from that exact circumstance.  There are freedoms that cannot (should not) be voted away like freedom of speech and the right to bear arms.  The Constitution should protect us from even those who want to use democracy to vote those things away from us.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Aug 27, 2014 08:34

             Are you daft?

             Money/assets are power.

             You have not read Federalist No. 10 have you?

              The so-called "right to bear arms" is not an unalienable civil right. It comes with the ability of Society to have "A well regulated militia..." We the people have always had the ability to balance the needs of those wanting a gun with those who want "safety"(Article 1. Virginia Declaration of Rights).

               When taxes are not assessed in proportion to what is gained it gives advantage to those not pulling their own weight. Those who have gained greatly should have no regrets paying their fair share. Those living at poverty level or below can contribute very little. We have an obligation to ensure no one is oppressed by having too little.

                   I guess you missed Henry"s point about "inherent bondsmen"?

                   OUR Founders didn't.



Posted by: Ryan Roberts | Aug 27, 2014 10:50

Disproportionate income distribution and wealth concentration are of major concern because of their potential for damage that they can pose to social-economic and financial systems. Distilling economic inequality down to whether an individual is able to oppress others fails to consider the real problem.


Education is a classic example - Lyndon Johnson once said "Poverty must not be a bar to learning, and learning must offer an escape from poverty”. America currently ranks 34th on Unicef's list of 35 developed countries for relative child poverty rates – of all the developed nations in the world only Romania has a higher percentage of its children living in poverty and whilst wealth is a virtuous circle, poverty is a vicious one. When schools receive local funding (income tax / property tax) it’s clear why there are ‘good schools’ and ‘bad schools’. Parents in neighbourhoods with ‘bad schools’ are on the lower end of the socio-economic ladder for a variety of reasons including their own lack of access to strong early education and long term labor-trends such as de-unionisation and poor minimum wage policies that favour the the side of the powerful and wealthy who control companies that pay wages.


With the rate of return on capital (wealth) higher than market growth, wealth accumulates more quickly than from labor. This wealth concentration and disparity of power is only concentrating – oppression might not be happening on an individual basis, but make no mistake it certainly is happening systemically.

Posted by: Scott Lilly | Aug 27, 2014 13:07

Mr. Roberts, I honestly see your point quite clearly.  I wonder if it would be an effective solution instead of redistributing wealth, to create more opportunity.  What that could mean in practice is to not allow huge corporations that create an oligopoly.  That's not as sexy as "sticking it to the man that lives up the mountain", but it likely would get better results.


Taking from the rich to give to the poor is only sustainable until you take from 49% to give to 51%.  Then what?  And what potential is lost from the 51% who might otherwise strive to be more?  This practice creates two classes: upper class (the makers) and the lower class (the takers).  Gone will be the middle class -- where brilliancy is born and potential is nurtured.


The better solution is to make it increasingly difficult to accumulate wealth -- not to take wealth away that has been earned.  The better solution would be to make it easier for people to "break into the market" -- not let a few huge companies control the market and then take from those that own the market.  The better solution would be for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to re-tool for the 21st century -- they ought to discourage creating or maintaining oligopoly power.


"oppression might not be happening on an individual basis, but make no mistake it certainly is happening systemically." -- My beef is that my individual income taxes, property taxes, and mandated insurance costs harm me personally and individually.  I worked hard in school - some taunted me for being "nerdy", I worked my way through college -- night school, I had two jobs for a while - minimum wage, I sacrificed plenty (I still don't have cable TV), I made responsible choices, and somehow my life's work and savings is considered "oppression"?  If it's "the system" that is creating "systematic oppression", then it's the system that we ought to target -- not the individual.  I say start with the FTC.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Aug 27, 2014 14:26

        First off, it is not about anyone personally. It is about all paying their fair share to support OUR representative republic. When the top tax brackets are gaining from having those lesser brackets pay to support them, that is oppressive tyranny. It is a theft of wealth from those that are "the least of US" to those that are not likely to gain the Gates of heavon anyway if the bible is correct. And most certainly a violation of OUR govt's duty to equally protect US from the tyranny of oppression.

                        As we've seen quite well since "rayguns" initiated "trickle-down" wealth has been transferred from the lower tax brackets to the top in a disproportionate way resulting in US having to increase Govt support for those left behind. We must correct this by increasing taxes on the upper brackets until the problem is corrected. The lower and middle tax brackets are the driving economic force. Not the top brackets, especially as they have outsourced OUR jobs and hid money offshore. These guilty of such unpatriotic behavior need to be punished greatly.

              Boycott BK!


               C.Z.(one of the first subscribers to Direct TV)

Posted by: Scott Lilly | Aug 27, 2014 14:38

"These guilty of such unpatriotic behavior need to be punished greatly." -- Awesome.  Maybe we can build another Berlin Wall up there on Canada's border so Burger King can't leave.


"We must correct this by increasing taxes on the upper brackets until the problem is corrected." -- Super.  So when you tell people that once you earn "too much" we'll take most of it from you -- don't be surprised when those earning "too much" stop working.  And when you tell people that you'll take more from "the man on the mountain", don't be surprised when the handout line gets longer.  Hmmmm, less makers and more takers.  How does this help exactly?

Posted by: Ryan Roberts | Aug 27, 2014 15:07

Mr Lilly, congratulations if you managed to pull yourself out of poverty through education and hard work that's very commendable. However, when considering broad social and economic policy it's important to focus on populations (not individuals) and wider trends as opposed to exceptional specific cases. The focus on individuals can be motivating, but it's important to remember that the individuals in question are children in critical stages of development and that by the time they are able to make conscious decisions to rise above their situation, the odds can already be stacked against them. I say this not to downplay your achievement, but to highlight the fact that policy should be evening the playing field and creating these opportunities.

Please make no mistake - the middle class is already in decline as we're seeing a polarization of wealth, you don't need to take from the rich and give to the poor for this to happen. But do realize I'm not suggesting an aggressive "redistribution of wealth" through anything that would look to take from the rich and subsidise the poor, but long-term policy shifts that ensure America will be in a strong position for future productivity. What I do think needs consideration is a review of complex systems of tax avoidance (trusts / shell companies / offshore investment vehicles) used to preserve familial wealth as if they were corporate treasuries, labor policy (minimum wage / maternity leave), and financial policy like budget redistribution (eg: taking the approach most western nations and evening the distribution education budgets to provide more equitable education for an entire states' public schools). It's not about taking from individuals and giving handouts, but broad strokes which help to ensure the workforce in 20 years will have had access to the opportunities and skills that will allow for a viable economy in the future.

Posted by: Scott Lilly | Aug 27, 2014 17:45

Mr. Roberts, you make a lot of sense.  I'd like to see you represent more good ideas here.  I learn from you.  If you are a member of the Democrat party and I am a member of the Republican party, wouldn't it be kind of cool to find some of those "long-term policy shifts" that might make a difference?  And wouldn't it be kind of cool for those interesting commonalities to show up in the upcoming political debates at WCU instead of the more comical topics that certainly will appear in some way?


It might be the smartest use of democracy to advance reformation of "complex systems" for the benefit of the majority.  And I would much prefer that to taking any more of my paycheck or increasing my health insurance any more!  :-)



Personal Note: Although at one time my parent's family car was a Chevette, I did not come from poverty.  My parents gave me a solid upbringing (no inheritance tax on that) -- and a free $300 shopping spree at Walmart when I moved into my first apartment.  Hard work pays off and gives a man something to be proud.  I don't care if you earn $10/hour or $100/hour -- work hard for your paycheck and demand respect for doing it.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Aug 27, 2014 18:11

             My first job was soaping my arm up to reach inside a farrowing hog to make sure no more piggletts were left inside her. I was 5. Our family car was a 1948 Studebaker 3/4 ton pickup. I was driving a truck over the big road at 13 delivering grain to market, hogs, cattle, sheep, too. Bought my first car(1964 Impala) at 14 going on 15. Was awarded a 4-H scholarship and a state grant. I paid other expenses myself as I had been share cropping and doing custom farming & all kinds of other jobs.

               I have no respect nor use for those that refuse to pay their fair share while enjoying the benefits of Liberty.

               If I had my way, the president of BK would be publicly executed with all assets of every stockholder seized and their citizenship revoked.

                "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety". Benjamin Franklin(1759)

                  Well said.



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