Get real

To the Editor:

I'm a flatlander trying to escape to the hills. As such, I read, with interest, the Caledonia-Record every chance I get. I see so many conflicting reports and was just taken back this past Friday, the 28th.

First, in the opinions, I read that the original intention of our government was to have citizen politicians, not professional politicians. Which, I highly agree with. There becomes a certain distance from reality when one spends too much time away from it.

So, then I see a Bernie Sanders article. (Oh, that was an opinion, too) I agree with him to a point that there is a broadening gap in the class structure of the USA. In reality, perhaps a good way to solve a portion of that would be a flat tax? I don't think that would reduce the incentive to become wealthy. Perhaps the politicians (most politicians seem to be wealthy) should more seriously consider revamping the tax structure. (KISS -- keep it simple stupid)

But, then he says we should extend the "emergency" unemployment benefits which (by itself?) would create 240,000 jobs by the end of the year. How does one explain that? Let people not look for a job until the end of the year and that'll result in more jobs? Don't think so. And don't try to tell me that the vast majority of humans are not procrastinators. If their benefits are coming in, why not wait till the last minute to end them. I'll take "free" money anytime. And, I'd most likely vote for anyone who would give me those freebies. Who wouldn't?

Automatically increasing the minimum wage. Now, there's a good one. Bring 900,000 out of poverty so that they can now begin paying taxes. (I'm all for improving entry level wage earners chances of success, but the old-fashioned way was to earn success.) Have the politicians thought of what the psychological impact will be on those people who've worked hard at other jobs to attain pay above the minimum wage? Consider someone who's worked at say a state job for 10-15 years and finally gotten to earn close to $20/hour. Right now, there is success in that effort. Raise the "do you want fries with that" job (no offense meant) to within spitting distance of that state job and what are you saying? Do you then give the state worker a comparable percentage raise so that their continued effort is rewarded? Or do you let them feel that their effort has been largely wasted. What impact would that have on town and state budgets if their jobs were brought in line with the new minimum wage jobs? How do your taxes feel now? I see a lot of people struggling to make a living in the woods. Will the prices for wood products see a large percentage increase? Farmers, what about their products?

Then I saw that the Vermont House has rejected the idea of increasing taxes on the wealthy (remember those wealthy politicians?) and have instead thought of raising the money by increasing taxes on "e-cigarettes" and other tobacco products. I am sure someone out there has done a study on percentages of people who use tobacco products, wealthy versus lower income. I'd put money that there are many more people using tobacco products in the lower income bracket than the wealthy bracket. So, who's going to get hit the most by those specific tax increases. The lower income wage earners. Bravo, you professional politicians, you've now increased that gap even further between the wealthy and the poor.

I keep seeing references to the Federal Government when politicians address various splinter groups in an effort to hope for earmarking funding. Apparently, they have forgotten who the Federal Government is. The Federal Government is not a separate entity unto itself. It is not some mystical thing out there floating around in space. The Federal Government is all of us. Created by all of us and sustained by all of us.

Remember as kids we thought that bigger was better? I think we should have substituted 'quality' for 'bigger'. I am at the tale end part of a large generation who is not seeing much hope for our children. I think the politicians need to get real in their effort to change the system. Create incentive for effort and a desire and capability for success through hard work. We need to force the politicians to accept our realities, ignore their own greed for a while and consider what reality to common people is.

Irving Priest

Concord, Vt. & Dover, Mass.


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