Tax code, pandemic, nukes … |

Tax code, pandemic, nukes …

Ya gotta love the talking heads who selectively cull information, distort it for maximum dramatic effect and then proclaimed it as proof positive of whatever point of view they espouse.n n nWhen the U.S. Postal Service increases its single-letter stamp rate to 39 cents wouldn’t it be “symmetrical” if they honored Jack Benny with his own stamp? Think about it.n n nWith all the hype about H5N1, aka the bird flu, people will look to the federal government for the answers. But if and when the bird flu becomes a pandemic, the crisis will need to be managed on a local, not a national, level. It’s local government that will have to manage the distribution of vaccines, communication with the neighboring populace, organizing and implementing quarantines if necessary, coordinating hospital and health care availability and restricting travel and transit. Americans should remember that for all the federal government’s failures after Hurricane Katrina, the problems in New Orleans actually began with the breakdown of local government, which was then exacerbated by a lack of initiative and personal responsibility. Those truly concerned about H5N1 might want to ask themselves, if they have stocked their homes with the necessary provisions to see their families through for a couple of weeks, thereby eliminating the need for those who are infected to carry the virus outside the home and potentially infect others.n n nShould prom night continue to be a weekend extravaganza for 17-year-olds with small fortunes spent on stretch limos, rented motel rooms, ostentatious and sometimes brazen attire and unchaperoned all-night parties?We needn’t be prudes or overly inhibit what should be a fun event for teens, but what lessons do we teach our kids when Mom and Dad are more interested in being their teen’s friend than a parent, and therefore tacitly participate in this pseudo hip bacchanalia? While we’re on the subject of teens, you may agree or disagree, but I find it interesting that a parent or guardian must accompany a youngster under 17 to an “R” rated movie, yet those same parents and guardians are in many cases legally excluded from the loop should that youngster chooses to have an abortion.n n nThe international treaties designed to limit nuclear proliferation were created for a world far different than the one we live in. All existing treaties focus on nations and do not contemplate the notion of terrorist groups trying to buy, build or steal a bomb. Some nuclear nations – most notably India, Pakistan, and Israel – haven’t even signed the non-proliferation treaty, and that doesn’t take into account the clandestine programs of Iran and North Korea.The reality is that there is no way to stop nuclear proliferation without a legitimate global effort, which sad to say is not going to happen as long as the United Nations continues to dither on the matter. It is a dangerous myth to believe that the world’s most dangerous weapons will forever be kept from the hands of terrorists.n n nIt’s axiomatic that whatever we tax we will get less of and whatever we do not tax we will get more of, right? If Congress eliminated the payroll tax, it would provide an incentive for job creation while at the same time increasing the take-home pay of the people who need it most – low and middle-income workers,.To make up for the lost revenue Congress could implement a progressive consumption tax predicated on the difference between income and savings. This replacement tax would further protect lower-income families by exempting consumption below $20,000 but progressively tax consumption upward of $20,000 – an additional benefit would be the incentives for personal savings such a tax would create.Concomitantly, why not penalize inefficient energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions with excessive usage and pollution taxes? The devil is always in the details, but considering the voluminous Internal Revenue Tax Code, it seems to me that modifying our tax system to one that induces job creation, savings and protection of the environment would be a worthy goal for the Congress.n n n Do we really need Election Day ballots, driver’s license tests and the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish? In our effort to become a “most politically correct society,” are we really doing a disservice to the millions of immigrants who come to our shores?Teddy Roosevelt said it succinctly: “The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities. We have but one flag. We must also learn one language and that language is English.”Numerous studies have demonstrated conclusively that in the United States, mastery the English language is the surest determinant of socio-economic success. There are many aspects of our lives we can conceal. We can dress in the latest fashion or drive the finest car. But the moment we open our mouths, we reveal volumes about ourselves.More than any other measurable characteristic, knowledge and usage of the exact meaning of a large number of words accompany achievement in this country.We should welcome our legal immigrants with open arms. But we do them a great disservice when we make it easy for them not to learn our language, because that not only deprives them of the opportunity to succeed, but it also plants the seeds for disharmony and conflict. History has shown repeatedly that no nation can survive the tension and antagonism of competing cultures and languages.Butch Mazzuca, a local Realtor and ski instructor, writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at bmazz68@earthlink.netVail, Colorado

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