Tell the governor about West Maui traffic
I recently wrote about the unbelievable traffic jam that occurs every afternoon when people are attempting to leave Lahaina for Central Maui.
What should normally take five minutes takes an unbelievable 45 minutes to travel from Lahainaluna Road to Launiupoko. I suggested anyone experiencing this mess write the governor to demand action. I took my advice and sent a letter.
I received a reply from Edwin Sniffen, deputy director, Highways Division. He commiserates with the poor drivers of West Maui and goes on to say the state doesn't have enough money for congestion relief while catching up with aging infrastructure.
He also states a study was done to improve capacity between Maalaea and Launiupoko, but it was shelved to focus on shoreline safety improvements.
If there's a bad vehicle collision or a fire that maims multiple people, how does Mr. Sniffen propose to get the injured out of West Maui between 3 and 7 p.m. Helicopter? They only carry one person.
West Maui needs a four-lane, all weather highway from Maalaea to Lahaina. Please take a few moments to write the governor today.
Politicians only respond to multiple loud voices.
MIKE SOWERS, Kaanapali
Immigration policy threatened
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has provided hard-working young people and their families with a measure of stability. This policy protects foreign-born individuals who came to this country as children from deportation and allows them to apply for employment authorization.
After DACA was passed, recipients' hourly wages increased by 42 percent. Six percent started their own business (compared to a national average of 3.1 percent), 21 percent purchased their first car, and 12 percent purchased their first home. They are a critical part of our country's social and economic fabric.
In many small towns, immigrants are keeping shops open and breathing fresh life into main streets.
Now, their future is uncertain.
Nearly 750,000 young people fear losing everything they have worked for. The majority came to this country at the age of ten or younger. Today, the average DACA recipient is 22 years old, employed, in pursuit of higher education, and makes $17 an hour.
To enact a law that would impair these individuals' capacity to learn, earn and live would be counterproductive and harmful to the country as a whole.
Legislation promoting safety, well-being and welcoming will continue to uplift the many young people who want to put their talents to use and give back to the only country they have ever known as home.
JORDAN FEYERHERM, Center for Rural Affairs
Make the system fair with a flat tax
As we file our income tax returns, we are all reminded that our income tax system needs to be simple, understandable and fair. The current complex system requires many Americans to hire tax preparers while giving an advantage to those wealthy enough to hire the most skilled and knowledgeable preparers.
America needs a flat rate income tax, eliminating most current deductions. Such a fair and simple tax would free up the time and money now spent filling out a stack of complicated forms, and would ensure that everyone paid his fair share. These resources could be used by taxpayers for economically sound investments, especially since the tax code would no longer provide incentives for less productive investments.
Congress is now about to begin considering tax reform. Their goal should not be modest reform, but a bold change to scrap the current system and replace it with a flat tax.
PETER J. THOMAS, Americans for Constitutional Liberty
Income tax would be better spent by citizens
As a nation under the U.S. Constitution, we are 228 years old. It may surprise readers to learn that for the first 124 of these years, we had no federal income tax and handled our expenses quite well. Today, those paying may be assessed a fifth to a fourth of their income. Prior to 1913, one kept what is now taken from them.
What would you spend it on were it not taken? Not on the basics such as food, housing and utilities, for they are covered in what you are allowed to retain. You would spend the extra fourth of your salary on thousands of items that are made by others as well as services you might like. This not only would enrich your life, but it would provide jobs for others making those items or providing those services. Many middle class folks could purchase a new car every year with what they are forced to give to the federal government.
Would you spend it more wisely than the federal government? Certainly! Most of the money taken from you by the federal government is spent on perpetual war, foreign aid, grants to privileged portions of our society and endless unconstitutional subsidized programs - the last two of which basically take the money of those who produce and redistribute it to those who do not. Even some non-taxpayers get income tax refunds (so corrupt is the system).
Of course, those receiving and benefiting from these programs will defend them. But the fact remains that tax monies provide largely government jobs, which are almost entirely consumption jobs (jobs that consume the production of society but produce little consumable). Such jobs cannot produce for public consumption a potato, a carton of milk or even a can of hairspray. They bring another guy to the table to eat, but not another to produce something to eat.
What largely brought about the giveaway programs of the 20th Century was the now 104-year-old 16th Amendment - the federal income tax. All three 1912 presidential candidates, Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson, and their respective parties wanted this financial water faucet that they could turn on at will. They could purchase anything - even people.
Prior to 1913, the federal government remained mostly faithful to her grants of power in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which left them with only four powers: to tax, pay the debts, provide for the general welfare and provide for the common defense. Because the federal government has the inclination to maximize their authority the last two power grants, general welfare and common defense, each had eight qualifiers to harness them more fully. Outside these qualifiers, the federal government had no power to tax or spend. Politicians soon learned that the more they promised to the people, from the money of others, the easier it was to get elected and stay elected.
The problem with the federal government going off the list and funding things clearly not on it was that each time they did so, the stronger the inclination to do so again. One minor departure begets another until one notices that what the federal government does has little or no relationship to the list.
So why does the government now need a fourth of everything you make, and it is still not enough? Answer: because we went off the listed powers of the Constitution, and every departure required more taxpayer funding. The solution to less tax is less government. A side benefit is more freedom. The productive classes would not be hurt as might be supposed. Seldom do they qualify for the federally subsidized programs anyway. The fourth taken from the productive classes would be spent by them, creating a haven of jobs for those who wished to work and give them no excuse not to. The cycle of dependency would be drastically reduced. The federal government would no longer be an enabler to those not working. States would decide for themselves what assistance programs they could afford, with some states offering more and others less as the Tenth Amendment mandates.
So, how did we cover the expenses of the federal government - even wars - our first 124 years? Products coming into the country were assessed a fee to market in the U.S. called a tariff. We got product producers in other countries to cover our national expenses, and thus we were able to spend on ourselves every cent of what the federal government now takes, which inadvertently stimulated the economy. No one should be able to argue that our approaching $20 trillion national debt is fair, has really worked for any of us and is a better plan. I personally like the idea of being able to purchase a new car every year.
DR. HAROLD PEASE