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Dare Inquire Representatives Truth


DIRT PLEADS GUILTY UPFRONT TO PILFERING LETTERS TO THE EDITOR OF OTHER PUBLICATIONS

Economic development or dependency?
Dear Editor:
Fay-Penn created a job in March - a new staff member called Federal Enterprise Community (FEC) manager, employed to manage taxpayer money a.k.a., the FEC grant. Portions of Fayette County consisting of Redstone Township, Menallen and Dunbar townships and parts of both Connellsville and Uniontown are to receive a $250,000 annual grant for 10 years. As reported, Fay-Penn will administer the grant and will take $100,000 of the $250,000 as its first- and second-year administration fee. Elected officials, Fay-Penn and county agencies look on this with pride. As a resident of Redstone Township and a taxpayer, I do not.

At a July meeting, Fay-Penn stated how our tax dollars will be spent and listed the proposed FEC projects for Redstone Township. While some of the projects are proper roles of government, others are not, such as, involvement in child day care; school to career grants; 0 percent interest loans; low-interest loan programs and establishing a credit union. The Fay-Penn employee actually said that people getting off welfare should not have to buy a $600 clunker to go to work and that they would like to teach people to open savings accounts. I question whether Fay-Penn and similar agencies are interested in economic development or are they just another a quasi-governmental agency striving to become larger and powerful using taxpayer money. Tax dollars earmarked for economic development should be used for economic development not for social welfare dependency programs.

I am disgusted that our elected officials and economic development agencies base their economic policies on failed programs. Public dependence on social welfare has placed Fayette County near the top in the social problem list throughout the state. Congress recognized the failure of these programs and attempted to reform the welfare program; many programs still exist but are now under the name of economic development. These types of programs and designations will keep Fayette County from developing and assume that Fayette County cannot develop without federal assistance. Throwing taxpayer money at ill-conceived economic and social programs are based on the premise that if $1,000 is good, than $2,000 is better. This type of political and social thinking has put Fayette County where it is today. Politicians and bureaucrats point to the number of jobs they create with our tax dollars, however, they fail to mention the amount of lost jobs because their programs create the need for higher taxes, low economic freedom and government dependency.

The way to promote economic growth is to decrease taxes and keep the government and quasi-government agencies out of our business. Lower our taxes, allow more economic freedom and the people of Fayette County will create their own economic growth ... but if that is done, where will the private economic development agencies, bureaucrats and the politicians go?
Tom Zimmerlink Jr. Allison

Letters to the Editor

From the Tribune-Review
September 11, 1999
Income taxes
Your editorial ``Income taxes, illegal?'' (July 16) questioned whether the 16th Amendment had really been ratified. This issue has been raised previously. It came before the Supreme Court and those nine Quakers (in their boots) ducked the bullet by ruling that, ``This was not a legal issue but a political issue.'' They may as well have ruled, ``We are not a legal court, but a political court.'' Let us return to your editorial - are income taxes illegal? Let's assume momentarily that the 16th Amendment is valid and legal. The U.S. Supreme Court has on four or more occasions defined income as ``The gain or profit derived from an investment.'' Therefore, income taxes are illegal when imposed upon salaries or wages, which are personal property!
The real travesty in our nation's current scheme of taxation is that our citizens are misled and coerced into filing confessions that are misidentified by innocuous terms such as ``returns'' or ``1040s,'' etc. If I may provide an analogy: Suppose a married couple jointly earns $100,000 annually. They save 10 percent, i.e. $10,000. Half of this amount is in a bank savings account and earns $200 interest. The other half they invest in the stock market, and it earns $500. The last two items, (i.e. $200 and $ 500 totaling $700) is/are their only income. Their earnings totaling $100,000 are personal property, which can only constitutionally be subjected to federal taxation via apportionment. However, the act of filing makes them liable for taxes!
Walter A. Connor Jr. Gibsonia

Creationism
In the Aug. 29 letter, "Not disproved," Mary Stickel challenged us to "think about" three issues that in her mind support the teaching of creationism. Now one of the last things I feel like doing is to shoot down creationism on my Sabbath, but since Ms. Stickel in her promotion of creationism took the position of attempting to find faults in science, I felt it would only be Christian to respectfully correct her.
First, scientists do not take their valuable time to disprove creationism because there is barely any true scientific evidence to test. Second, any interesting archaeological evidence she may cite would refer to events further on in the Bible than the creation of humankind. Besides, where is the anthropological, biological or zoological evidence? Finally, scientific minds of Columbus' time did not think the earth was flat but rather the many nonscientific commoners believed the earth was flat. Furthermore, has Ms. Stickel considered the Asian cultures outside of Europe, which knew the world was round?
This final point leads me to the important reason why the debate concerning the teaching of creationism is not simply a scientific one but rather a cultural one. Our diverse public schools represent students from many different cultures and religions, so whose creationism do we fairly teach, anyway? Evolution is the most accepted theory on how humans made it physically and mentally to this point. If someone wants to read more into it, I wish them the best, but just read it at home or church.
Gerome Domenic Spino Greensburg

Oil shenanigans
The petroleum industry is telling us the price of gasoline is up because of crude oil production cuts and refinery loss. This is a lot of bunk.
The oil production cuts have been in effect for months, and the refinery explosion was months passed. When we had the oil embargo in 1974, the cost of crude oil was $34 per barrel, and the price of gas went from $1.26 to $1.45 a gallon (depending on the type of gas used). The cost of a barrel of crude eventually went down to around $11, and the oil industry lowered the price of a gallon of gasoline to as low as 89.9 cents. No oil companies went bankrupt. They were saving $23 on the price of crude and were still in business.
Now the price of crude is up to $20.95, and the petroleum industry has jacked up the price of a gallon of gas to the days of the oil embargo. With these prices and the savings of $13 on the price of a barrel of crude oil, there has to be some shenanigans going on.
I predict we will probably never see a gallon of gas below $1.20 again. When are our government officials going to step in to see the collusion going on in the petroleum industry? When one oil company raises prices a couple of pennies a gallon, the rest of the oil companies follow suit. It's time for these shenanigans to end.
Darl Poorman Clairton

Open-minded
On Sept. 3, the Tribune-Review published a rebuttal written by two professors from St. Vincent College on the subject of evolution. I would like to commend you on your open mind on this issue! I thought the theory of evolution, which by definition is a random, mindless process that excludes any possibility of a superior being, would be in direct opposition to the belief of an Almighty God who is the creator of all. Being able to accept both those ideas without conflict is obviously the result of higher thinking skills unique to college professors.
I was also relieved to read that no valid scientist denies evidence for biological evolution.
Before reading this article by the intellectuals at St. Vincent, I was under the impression, obviously wrong, that maybe some truths in life could not be explained by science, and perhaps the people in Kansas were on to something when they determined that non-science theories be given some intellectual credibility in the classroom. It's a good thing these ``valid'' scientists want to protect us from those confusing creationists.
I just have one question: How do these guys sleep at night?
Corky Semler McCandless

Heinz deal
I have been reading about the Heinz-Pittsburgh Wool saga. Let me see if I got it right:
Heinz gets the property, all cleared, for $1.5 million.
The Kumers (owners of the wool company) get their $5 million, plus a $2.5 million building, plus URA-paid relocation costs and that of all their tenants, plus a place in history at Sen. John Heinz History Center at the cost of $100,000.
Taxpayers of the pothole capital of the United States, with its rusting bridges, again get the shaft to the tune of $10 million.
And everybody cheers!
What a beautifully choreographed ballet. What a farce.
Georges Pardo Fox Chapel

Economics
I would like to defend the Tribune-Review and Ronald Rosenberger against the attack of Stanley J. Penkala ("Misguided," Aug. 24). It is difficult to solve the economic problems of the world in 100 words or less.
Mr. Rosenberger should not be dismissed lightly. His writing is based on a book, ``Progress and Poverty'' by Henry George, who offers an inquiry into the causes of industrial depression and the increase of want with increase of wealth.
George's book has been printed millions of times in 15 languages. Henry George has many distinguished advocates, including presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.
Leo Tolstoy wrote, ``People do not argue with the teachings of George, they simply do not know them.'' And the American professor wrote, ``No man can consider himself educated in economics unless he has an intimate knowledge of this great American thinker.''
Fred S. Karn Ohio Township

GOP scrutiny
If we elect a Republican president next year, the American people can get ready for a resurgence of that good-old spirit of investigative journalism that the news media lost during the Clinton administration. Reporters throughout the country will wake up, yawn, stretch and once again begin to ask the White House tough, probing questions about government corruption.
I wonder if they still remember how.
Robert G. Kleber Baldwin Boro
Images and text copyright 1999 by The Tribune-Review Publishing Co. Reproduction or reuse prohibited without written consent from PittsburghLIVE.

I don't know about you, but I think that this edition of the letters-to the editor should be given an award. Informative, savvy writers.


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