published Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Letters to the Editors

Tax rate for rich doesn't matter

Garrett Gruener of Alta Partners, founder of Ask.com (formerly AskJeeves), chief executive of Nanomix, says:

"Congress should let the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans and use the additional tax revenues that are generated to invest in infrastructure and research.

"I'm a venture capitalist and an entrepreneur. Over the past three decades, I've made both good and bad investments. I've created successful companies and ones that didn't do so well. Overall, I'm proud that my investments have created jobs and led to some interesting innovations. And I've done well financially; I'm one of the fortunate few who are in the top echelon of American earners.

"For nearly the last decade, I've paid income taxes at the lowest rates of my professional career. Before that, I paid at higher rates. And if you want the simple, honest truth, from my perspective as an entrepreneur, the fluctuation didn't affect what I did with my money. None of my investments has ever been motivated by the rate at which I would have to pay personal income tax."

As history demonstrates, modest changes in the tax rate for wealthy taxpayers don't make much difference.

ANN BENTON

Signal Mountain



Restrict campaign gifts to candidates

I believe that we need two constitutional amendments.

1: To require that all laws passed also apply to Congress, both the House and Senate.

Currently, elected officials and their staff can use information gathered in closed-door sessions to play the stock market and engage in other activities to make money that if others did it would land them in jail. (Insider trading.)

2: Require that funds used in campaigns must be raised only from the area which, if elected, they will represent, i.e., running for the House only from that House district, for the Senate only from that state, and for president only from this country.

This amendment should also outlaw the so-called Super Pacs, donations from corporations, and limit the amount of funds that an individual can donate to a candidate.

This should result in the elected officials representing those they were elected to represent and not special interests.

ROGER THOMPSON

Coffee County



Fox provides what viewers want

The challenge was posted to prove inaccuracies and misinformation from Fox News.

I knew this was going to be easy, so I googled "Fox News misinformation." The link that was most prominent was "Fox News Misinformation and Lies." I clicked on it and got 1.3 million hits and examples. I knew this was going to be easy, but wow, that easy?

After reading through a few, I decided that there just wasn't enough room to print them in your paper.

I also came to this conclusion: Your informed readers could fill these pages for weeks and weeks with real examples of the misinformation that spews from Fox News, but what difference would it make? Those who rely solely on Fox for their news are not going to care nor will they stop watching Fox News.

They don't watch Fox because Fox reports the news, they watch Fox because Fox reports what they want to hear.

TIMOTHY WRIGHT

Georgetown, Tenn.



Why do capital gains get lower rate?

I understand that direct capital investment in a new or ongoing business (i.e., money invested when a company goes public or issues additional stock or when capital is invested in a private business) benefits overall economic growth.

What escapes me, however, is why a transaction between buyers and sellers of long-existing stock contributes more to real economic growth and warrants a lower (capital gains) tax rate than the labor of America's workers.

Additionally, I don't have statistics to prove it, but my suspicion is that most middle-income Americans hold their stocks (if they own any at all) as I do -- in a retirement account. When we receive a normal distribution from these previously untaxed contributions, it is taxed at our usual rate, not a special reduced capital gains rate.

Our investments are subject to the same risks as the wealthy, who, in many instances, received their original investment money in the form of untaxed gifts or inheritances from their wealthy families.

I posed this to one of your financial editors but have yet to receive a reply, so I thought I would re-submit it in the form of a letter to the editor.

MARY ANN CROWE

Crossville, Tenn.



EPB not making dent in large loan

An article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press (Business front, Feb. 18) declares that "Strong fiber optic sign-ups will speed EPB debt payback."

The article is misleading. The debt referred to is merely an interdepartment loan EPB power made to EPB fiber optics of $51 million. This was to fund the startup of EPB fiber, and this loan was made from the proceeds of the real loan received via Electric Revenue Bonds of $226.8 million to build the fiber optic network.

This kind of accounting is very similar to how the federal government accounts for "off-budget" items like Social Security liabilities.

The fact is that EPB's net assets have fallen in the last year by $17.733 million.

Ratepayers in Chattanooga and any other areas served by EPB are ultimately responsible for the payback of this vast amount of borrowing. No other project in Chattanooga has been so costly, including the construction of schools.

In spite of ever-increasing electric rates, EPB ratepayers are still not making a dent on the borrowed $226.8 million, even after EPB was "given" another $111.6 million of federal dollars to complete their fiber network.

All of this information is in the publicly available annual report on EPB's website.

DAVID SYNDER

Dayton, Tenn.



Santorum needs to get facts straight

Mr. Rick Santorum claims that Obama's "health care overhaul encourages abortions.

"Because insurance companies will be required to pay for prenatal testing, more pregnant women will be having more procedures such as amniocentesis. And since amniocentesis is used to identify deformities, the customary procedure is to encourage abortion."

How does he know this to be true?

The March of Dimes website (marchofdimes.com) states that "the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that all pregnant women should have the option of having prenatal tests like amniocentesis."

If deformities are detected, there are inutero surgeries that can be done or planned for once the baby is born. There are other reasons given supporting why certain pregnant women should have the option to have amniocentesis. Check it out. The Affordable Health Care Act will provide the insurance coverage necessary for this to be an option for all pregnant women whose doctor advises the procedure.

I wish Mr. Santorum would get his facts straight!

ANNE CURTIS



Haynes is best person for District 3

As the election season is here, I ask you to vote for Marty Haynes for County Commission, District 3.

Marty is a lifelong Hixson resident and has been involved in a variety of community and school-related activities over the years. He is president of the Hixson Kiwanis Club and the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club. He has been heavily involved in volunteer activities benefiting our public schools and families in need.

Marty is a member of the Hixson High Hall of Fame for his community service and is an active member of Stuart Heights Baptist Church, and serves as campus director at SHBC's Chattanooga Campus.

Despite what others have said, Marty is strongly against annexation of unincorporated areas of District 3 into the city of Chattanooga. He is for holding the line on county taxes while streamlining government spending. Marty wants to have regular interaction with residents. He will actively work to recruit new businesses to the Hixson area and will work to improve student achievement and facilities in our school system.

Vote for Marty Haynes. He is clearly the best person to represent District 3 on the Hamilton County Commission.

ETHAN ANDERSON

Hixson

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