Occupy Wall Street? How about Capitol Hill?

To the editor:

Occupy Wall Street protesters are demonstrating against only part of the problem facing our nation. What about our supposed "representatives" to Congress who have become career politicians?

The amount of money spent on campaigns is astounding. Let’s consider what those dollars could do to help mitigate the needs of the needy instead of buying votes. Consider the good that could be done if the tax dollars we pay for retirement, health care and travel expenses for members of Congress instead provided for the commoners they supposedly represent?

Perhaps it is also time to occupy Capitol Hill to bring the wrongs of both corporate and political waste and greed to the table. Only then will we just begin to hold the perpetrators of our economy’s decline accountable. Let’s get to the truth and get all the real culprits out of power.

Sherry Owczaezak

Las Vegas

Animal deaths

To the editor:

Wednesday’s tragic deaths of exotic wildlife from a farm in Zanesville, Ohio, is an urgent alarm that we need stronger regulations and a national data bank for all wild animals living in captivity.

Authorities in Ohio, although called to the farm to address numerous complaints over the years, have had little legal recourse to address these conditions. In America, many states, including Nevada, simply have no enforceable laws for private ownership of these beautiful but powerful wild animals.

We see the sad results in the few legitimate sanctuaries that take in abandoned exotics, great cats and other animals. (I volunteer for one of these sanctuaries, Lions Tigers & Bears, in Alpine, Calif.)

We need stricter laws and regulations, along with micro-chipping of all animals. This would go a long way to prevent heartbreaking episodes such as the one in Zanesville, and to save lives.

Jackie Smith

Las Vegas

Land of Lincoln?

To the editor:

Columnist Steve Sebelius writes on the problems we have in Nevada (Tuesday Review-Journal). He blames our state’s low taxes for our continuing struggles and argues we would better off with higher taxes. He gives us no example where higher taxes have brought about any astounding recovery in these past three years of sharing the wealth, but perhaps Mr. Sebelius had President Obama’s home state of Illinois in mind?

Illinois has a strong Democratic, progressively led and controlled state and city government with some of the best-paid public workers in the country. It was reported this month that a Chicago labor leader is expected to receive pension payments of nearly $500,000 a year, while another could get about $438,000 a year.

Illinois corporations have a 5 percent income tax and a 2.5 percent personal property tax. Individuals now have a 5 percent income tax, too — this was the result of a recent 60 percent increase. The state also has withholding of 5 percent on gambling wins and a sales tax up to 8.5 percent. In addition to the state taxes are the local, city and village taxes.

Some residents have seen their property taxes jump 27 percent this year.

Now, with all these tax advantages, one might think, "Problem solved." Not so. Illinois recently floated a $4.1 billion pension bond in an effort to shore up the state’s $13 billion to $15 billion pension fund deficit. Bond rating agencies have said Illinois continues to have one of the worst credit ratings in the nation, putting the state somewhere equal with Slovakia and Nicaragua and probably closing on Greece. And Illinois still has to borrow money to balance its general fund.

As for unemployment, BusinessWeek reports Illinois was at 9.1 percent but has shot up to 9.9 percent. Further, a 2009 report by the American Legislative Exchange Council reports that a decade’s worth of hard data suggest that states with no individual income tax created 89 percent more jobs and had 32 percent faster personal income growth than did states with the highest income tax rates.

Illinois is always looking to increase its tax base, so if Mr. Sebelius is inclined, I am sure Illinois can find room for him and gladly accept his tax contributions.

Alden E. Smith

Henderson

For Ron Paul

To the editor:

In response to the GOP presidential debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday evening:

The front-runners were acting like children. It was a case of playground bullying. Rep. Ron Paul was the adult on the stage.

We need an adult in the White House. Someone who is not impulsive but thinks before he or she acts, someone who is decisive and does what he or she says he or she is going to do. Rep. Paul is that person.

Alice Lillie

Las Vegas

Getting fat

To the editor:

I was impressed with the commentary "Five myths about healthy eating" in Wednesday’s edition. Finally, some common sense regarding the obesity problem we have in the United States. The piece stressed two forgotten words: personal responsibility.

The answer is simple math. Burn more calories than you take in and you will lose weight. No need to close all the McDonald’s. Lap-band surgery and liposuction treat the symptoms, not the cause. Let’s stop making it complicated.

Joe Molinaro

Las Vegas

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