Put more Americans to work
I have an idea for our congressmen and senators to think about. We should not be talking about immigration reform until we bring unemployment down below 4 percent.
We have more than 90 million Americans who are able to work but either choose not to or cannot find a job. The real unemployment rate is 13.8 percent.
Congress is wasting time and money on finding ways to make 11 million illegal immigrants work-eligible and legal. How would that help the unemployment problem in America?
Fix the economy first, then talk about the immigration problem.
Marv Dorsey, Omaha
Tax law too complex to succeed
I am one of the 11 percent of Americans who still file a paper tax return. While I know that computer tax programs have made the job easier, I question why the rules have to be so complicated.
According to an Associated Press article, the voluminous tax code is influenced by some 6,503 tax lobbyists and the 2,221 corporations and other organizations that pay lobbyists to gain favorable tax breaks from Congress. This develops a large, complicated code, barely understood by anyone, which results in mendacious and obfuscatory tax filings.
Corporations enjoyed tax breaks in 2011 of $181 billion. A flat tax would help eliminate most of the loopholes, reduce the amount of paperwork and reduce the number of fraudulent tax claims. Just this tax season, the IRS had detected 220,821 fraudulent claims by March 9.
A flat tax would most likely put a bunch of tax lobbyists, tax professionals and a large portion of the IRS out of work, saving even more money while treating everyone on an equal basis.
Terrence F. Schlaht, Omaha
Tax evasion costs United States
Every year people and companies cheat on their taxes through questionable deductions and offshore bank accounts, among the tax practices that cost the U.S. government about $400 billion a year in uncollected taxes.
These tax evasions put cheaters in the same category as Al Capone, who met his downfall through the IRS.
All of this means less money for important functions of our government. About $20 trillion to $30 trillion in cash is stashed offshore in banks, from businesses and individuals from the United States and about 190 other countries as well.
Because of these offshore accounts and other tax evasion tactics, an estimated 8.6 percent of the gross domestic product is not being taxed, according to the World Bank. However, in other countries — such as Greece, which loses taxes on 27.5 percent of its GDP — tax evasion has been so big that it has led to major economic woes.
The other major countries in this boat are South Korea, Italy and Mexico, which helps explain why they have such huge revenue shortfalls.
The only remedy for this will be for these offshore tax evasion countries to come clean to reduce these abuses.
Kay Bowling Alchu, Omaha
Don’t add guns to teachers’ load
I have read many articles and letters in support of teachers being trained and armed with guns in the classroom. Has anyone asked teachers if this would be a good idea?
Along with many of my teaching colleagues, I feel it is not a good idea. My day would be spent thinking about that gun and who could get a hold of it. If the gun were locked up, would I get it in time? In a time of panic, would I be able to shoot it and hit the right person? Am I capable of shooting?
We have in place lockdown procedures that are practiced and effective. Bringing more guns into it is not a better solution.
Kara Di Lorenzo, Omaha
Freedom at peril in Scout issue
An article in the April 10 World-Herald chilled me to the bone. A California lawmaker has proposed a bill that would strip the Boy Scouts of their tax-exempt status because the organization bans gay Scouts and troop leaders.
Neither the article nor the lawmakers say that the Boy Scouts did anything in violation of the rules that govern tax-exempt organizations. The only offense of the Boy Scouts of America is their values do not agree with the lawmaker’s.
Think about it: A private organization could be forced to accept values that are not its own, or risk financial penalties. Now consider how this precedent could be applied to other nonprofit organizations in this country, including churches, religious organizations, charities, service organizations, etc. Who decides what values are acceptable?
Freedom of religion is established in the Bill of Rights and is a cornerstone of our country. The California lawmakers are attempting to punish a private organization for not conforming to their views. Take a look at history; this situation has happened before — in Europe.
Are we going to stand by while history repeats itself?
Chris Koenig, Fort Calhoun, Neb.
Same-sex marriage immoral
This is in response to the Rev. Lowen Kruse’s April 14 letter, “It’s moral to back gay marriage.” He is right in saying that in Scripture there is not one word of objection to commitment in love.
But Rev. Kruse is wrong to include same-sex couples. God created man and woman in his image for fellowship with him and to bring glory to him.
Certainly God wouldn’t create in man and woman desires that he would declare an abomination to him. In his sovereignty, God decreed that man would have moral choice to choose between good and evil. The decree was not what choice man would make but that man was free to make that choice and to bear the consequences of that choice.
God declares homosexuality an abomination because it is contrary to his designed purpose for man and woman. It is a bad moral choice for which, in the end, there will be consequences.
Same-sex marriage is grossly immoral.
Al Fransen, Bellevue
Marriage not what it used to be
John D. Condon wrote in his April 15 letter that he agrees with the GOP in that there is no way we should redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.
I disagree with his idea that marriage has been around since the time of Jesus and the Bible. Marriage has been around for thousands of years before biblical times, with some estimates dating it back around 20,000 years ago.
I am a firm believer in the aspect of letting two grown consenting adults, regardless of sex, marry for whatever reason they want. No human on this planet should have the right to tell others who they can and cannot marry.
Condon’s letter raised the point that we shouldn’t change the definition of marriage. Doesn’t the fact that I cannot sell a future daughter of mine for three goats and a cow mean the definition has already been changed?
Cody Lyle, Omaha
Spraying weeds can harm bees
Every spring many people across the community do battle against the dandelion and other “weeds” by spraying herbicides across their lawns.
Unfortunately, the most common herbicide used, a chemical called 2,4-d, often ends up mixing in the air and then settling into our trees, where it can cause serious harm to tender young leaves. This harm is especially pronounced on oak trees.
Although dandelions and other weeds such as henbit may seem like a major concern, they actually cause no real harm other than looking out of place. And when you consider that these flowers help feed honeybees, which are struggling to survive from a myriad of problems, all of a sudden our assault on these plants seems a bit silly.
If spraying of chemicals is still desired to kill such weeds, then we should at least wait until the fall, when the potential harm to trees and bees is greatly reduced.
This spring, think about our trees and the bees and give dandelions a break.
Justin Evertson, Waverly, Neb.
Use caution around machinery
A young girl recently was killed when her long hair in a ponytail became entangled in the mechanism of an ATV. This reminds us to be careful around machinery when we have long hair or wear loose clothing, such as dangling straps or bulky sleeves.
Remember, a few years ago a man was nearly killed when he opened the hood to check his car engine and his necktie became caught in the fan belt, which pulled his face into the fan.
Please avoid loose clothing and gloves when around machinery, including lawn mowers and snowblowers.
J.F. Johnson, Omaha
Beef game crude, rude, lewd
My husband and I took our three children, ages 5, 10 and 11, to an Omaha Beef football game on April 6. We had recently purchased season tickets, so we drove to the Ralston Arena happily anticipating the first of many family trips there.
Our excitement built as the announcer pumped up the crowd and we clapped and chanted, “Beef! Beef! Beef!” However, our excitement turned to discomfort when the cheerleaders took the field wearing little more than glorified underwear and doing the kind of dancing one usually associates with a pole.
It got worse. The men around us were yelling obscenities, and only one of them stopped when asked. But the worst offense of all came from the players of the opposing team, the Sioux City Bandits. One player stood on a bench directly in front of us, made an obscene gesture and called the crowd an obscene name.
What was planned as a fun family outing was nothing more than a crude display of vulgarity. We will not return. I urge the people at the Ralston Arena to establish a code of conduct for their entertainers — all of them — or we won’t be the last family to never return.
Joanne Raymond, Crescent, Iowa