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Letters to the Editor: December 15, 2017

It’s about time

With the recent action by the current administration this past week to finally recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move the U.S. embassy accordingly, I have seen news sites and social media become saturated with both criticism and praise.

A common trend I have noticed with the commentary generated from the critical crowd is the word “complicated” or “complex” being used to describe the Israel-Palestine conflict. This description seems to pertain not to the conflict itself, but to the apparent difficulty outside entities should face when choosing a side.

However, I fail to see the issue as being complex. In fact, I would say that the Western world’s inability to take a position in this matter is an inconceivable failure. This issue is not complex in the slightest. It is a Western democracy formed by the most persecuted group of people on the planet, having its sovereignty challenged by an organization which openly calls for the extermination of a whole people.

It is a country that has accepted terms of peace on multiple occasions only to have their challengers walk away from the table. Most notably, it is a country which shares the values of the Western world being challenged by a group who detest those same values.

So, no, this was not some brash, irresponsible decision destabilizing a complex situation. The recognition of the capital and the move of the embassy is a statement which is both long overdue and not nearly enough.

Colt D. Freitas

McMinnville

 

Lower taxes (for me)

In spite of the fact that I disagree with Donald Trump and congressional Republicans on almost everything, they seem determined to give me a Christmas present in the form of a huge tax cut.

I guess they decided that because I make more money that 99 percent of other Americans, I need even more money. Somehow, I am missing the logic.
I own three businesses, and under current law, I pay a marginal rate up to 39.5 percent on profits from those businesses. This is called “pass-through” money because it passes through onto my 1040 tax form like any wage income.

The tax bills working through Congress will reportedly drop the pass-through profits to 25 percent.That’s nice and all. I mean, who doesn’t like free money? I didn’t even have to hire a lobbyist to line the pockets of various congressmen. Apparently someone did that for me.

But I am bothered by the fact that Congress wants to borrow the money for my tax break and leave it to future generations to pay off. I guess they figure that if we have to borrow now to widen the income gap, that’s a sacrifice they are willing to let your grandkids pay for later.

I’m also bothered by the fact that people who don’t own companies pay a higher rate than I do. But I suppose it’s their own fault for not inheriting wisely.

Republicans are predicting that I will hire more employees with my extra money, but I don’t need more employees, so that ain’t happening. Maybe instead I’ll do some traveling. I can use the money the government borrowed from the Chinese to pay a safari guide in Kenya. That ought to make America great again.

Scott Gibson

Amity

 

Drug costs too high

Why are pharmaceutical drugs so costly in our country, much more than anywhere else in the world?

The industry says it costs a lot to do the research and test the drugs. Yet we taxpayers pay for about 80 percent of basic research with our tax dollars. And the vast majority of new medications are small tweaks of the old ones, with no proof of being better.

Other countries have formularies, lists of standard medications and their cost. Not so here. Medicare is prohibited by law to negotiate drug charges. Drug companies have no restrictions on what they charge. Does this have anything to do with the four drug lobbyists for every member of Congress? What will it take for us to demand fair medication pricing?

For more information on this, watch the documentary Big Pharma, available online. Whether the Affordable Care Act is dismantled by the current party in power or not, this issue will not go away and is driving up the cost of health care to an immoral level.

Surely fixing this is something all of us (except for drug companies and those they make wealthy) can agree needs to be fixed.

Lynn Crowell

McMinnville

 

No more Riverbend

The McMinnville City Council approved an ordinance to annually divert nearly 20,000 tons of waste from Riverbend Landfill to a more suitable site.

This site, unlike Waste Management’s proposed expansion of Riverbend onto more high-value farmland, has 100 years of capacity. The council’s action is a strong statement in support of both our local economy and livability. Both of these have been threatened for years by the presence of Riverbend in our midst. Now McMinnville has spoken and “dumped the dump.”

Riverbend had already lost its two largest customers, SP Newsprint and Portland Metro, and now McMinnville. Soon we hope that Yamhill County as well as other surrounding cities and towns will take the same steps to eliminate their waste going to Riverbend. It is very clear there are other options for waste disposal and consequently we no longer need Riverbend.

In spite of this situation, a Waste Management spokeswoman suggested that the city council’s decision will enable Riverbend to operate 30 more years. However, she gave limited acknowledgment to a critical fact. The county and Waste Management have not yet won the legal right for the expansion required for Riverbend to operate after it reaches capacity in two years.

Therefore, Riverbend’s lifespan depends on the ruling in the legal case currently pending in the Oregon Supreme Court, a case they must win. Until the legal case has been finalized, it is impossible, and misleading, to state any timeline for Riverbend.

Susan Meredith

McMinnville

 

Council showed wisdom

I disagree with your negative Dec. 1 editorial regarding the city council decision to discontinue dumping at Riverbend.

By saying the decision was “symbolic,” you denigrate the many citizens, farmers and business owners who are committed to sound environmental practices. These practices include education, increasing the number of recycling containers in public spaces, prohibiting single-use plastic bags, cooperating with local businesses and Linfield to audit and improve our trash disposal practices, cooperating with Tillamook County to recycle Styrofoam and supporting Recology’s efforts to help people save on their trash service costs.

These efforts enhance McMinnville’s reputation as a beautiful, livable town that attracts tourists internationally, which, in turn, helps our economy. Hardly “symbolic.”

It is disappointing to hear the editors of the News-Register take such a negative, fatalistic view. The garbage mountain is an eyesore. It is poorly sited in a flood-prone area, attracts nuisance birds that contaminate crops with E-coli and destroys crops, releases greenhouse gases into our air and absolutely stinks.

Waste Management takes the lion’s share of the profits back to Houston and leaves the environmental damage to us. Such a deal.

Our city council is to be commended for studying and supporting responsible, viable alternatives that improve our city. I rather like representatives who solve problems instead of just coveting a quick (dirty) buck with no thought to the future.

Margaret Cross

McMinnville

Comments

Mudstump

Dr. Gibson what is more concerning is when they increase the deficit with this tax bill, republicans will claim they MUST cut Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid to bring the deficit down. Brilliant...create a tax system that drives up the deficit and then scream that we must cut to bring the deficit down. Now that they control everything we hear crickets about the deficit. What a disingenuous con!

Don Dix

The most bothersome situation is the fact that our government cannot live within any form of budget. Money seems to have little value to those in charge (it's easy spending other's cash), and oversight is spotty at best.

Example -- Published on Dec 16, 2017

The New York Times reported on Saturday, The Pentagon quietly ran a $22 million program to study unidentified flying objects from 2008 to 2012. This at the behest of former Senator Harry Reid after considering numerous accounts of unexplained phenomena that could involve advanced technology developed by foreign governments.
The unclassified but secretive Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program was funded $22 million from 2008 to 2011. The vast majority of the funding went to Bigelow Airspace. That’s a company owned by one of Reid’s friends and donors, Robert Bigelow.

Government money (your money) and contracts given away to donors as rewards, which in turn, protects the status quo. The 'business as usual' attitude has no boundaries and the public is kept out of the loop. There, in my opinion, is the con that creates such unnecessary deficits.

Airman

Scott, if you really want to write a bigger tax check to the government than what is required, I'm surely not going to stop you. Write away!

gophergrabber

Scott Gibson...LOL

Joel2828

Our local lefty gadfly Scott Gibson strikes again!
Mr Gibson, If you don't want the money, put it in an envelope and send it back to the federal government...Or better yet, give it to the person in front of you at WinCo who is paying for their groceries with their "Oregon Trail Card" (food stamps) while talking on their $900 smartphone. Problem solved.

tagup

So Joel.... do you care about any of the points Dr Gibson made?...... Rather than broad (and generally incorrect) generalizations about SNAP recipients......how about giving us your opinion about increasing the debt to give tax breaks or business paying less of a percentage of earnings than wage earners?

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