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9/21/2005 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson

We can all rest easy. President Bush has vowed not to increase taxes to take care of the devastation in Louisiana and Mississippi.
As a matter of fact, he’s calling for more tax breaks for the super-wealthy in the form of getting rid of the inheritance tax (death tax, he calls it) and making permanent the huge tax cuts he instituted for the most wealthy among us.
He’s calling for cuts in other government programs to pay for rebuilding.
The man is totally detached from reality. That kind of money can’t be found in current government spending.
There won’t be any tax increase for his war in Iraq. His administration is simply borrowing that money. Our grandchildren will be stuck with the bill.
Oh, there are some conservative groups who claim the government wastes virtually everything it spends except the military budget. Citizens Against Government Waste is a right-wing outfit that wants to close something like 90 percent of the post offices in North Dakota. Conservative groups like this can find all kinds of government expenditures and label them as "waste."
The highway bill is "loaded with pork," they like to say. But that money is going for roads and bridges that are important for the people who use them.
It isn’t necessarily waste.
There’s bound to be some waste in the billions spent by the federal government. But it isn’t all waste, as the conservatives would have you believe.
George W. Bush claims to be a compassionate conservative. He’s also the biggest big borrower of all time. Since he’s been president the national debt has increased by $2 trillion.
Let’s go back to the so-called "death tax." President Bush wants to remove about a trillion dollars from federal income over the next two decades by getting rid of the tax. With the expenses the federal government faces, that’s simply irresponsible.
At present, with some planning small business owners can pass on $5 million to their descendants tax-free. For farms that figure is $8 million. People who have more money than that in their estates are the ones who will benefit from George W. Bush’s plans.
The estate tax puts a small dent in further concentration of wealth in a few hands.
I hate to be so critical of President Bush, but the criticism is certainly warranted. His policies are not good for the vast majority of Americans.
His judgment has been proven to be poor and his abilities fall far short of what is needed in the Oval Office. We’ve got about three more years of his reign to endure. Good health to President Bush. Cheney would be worse.
Roger and Eris Smith of Minot passed on this wisdom concerning the Constitution from funnyman George Carlin:
Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that our government can track a cow born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she sleeps in the state of Washington; and they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give all of them a cow.
They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don’t we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it’s worked for over 200 years and we’re not using it any more.
The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse:
You cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery"
and "Thou Shalt Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment!
George Carlin said it best about Martha Stewart . . . "Boy, I feel a lot safer now that she’s behind bars. O.J. Simpson and Kobe Bryant are still walking around; Osama bin Laden too, but they take the one woman in America willing to cook, clean, and work in the yard and haul her off to jail."
Last week I had the pleasure of taking a bus tour of the area, mostly in Benson County. The approximately 80 tourists were guests of the North Dakota Water Education Foundation.
We toured the Kenner Slough area, gardendwellers Farm in Churchs Ferry, the BTR Farmers Co-op and the Devils Lake Joint Water Management Board’s experimental irrigation project near Leeds. Lunch at Trinity Free Lutheran Church in Minnewaukan featured a talk by retired state geologist John Bluemle. The afternoon concluded with a tour of the state’s outlet to Devils Lake.
Dr. Bluemle has been studying Devils Lake for many years. He stated that his research leads him to the conclusion that Devils Lake last overflowed into the Sheyenne about 1800 years ago. Devils Lake has flowed into Stump Lake on countless occasions, but Bluemle believes the lake has risen high enough to flow into the Sheyenne only about six times. Will the lake’s rise cease before it flows into the Sheyenne this time? Nobody knows.

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