Category: Viewpoints

Balancing Out the Lobbyists

by Lee H. Hamilton One of the quirks of life in Washington, D.C., is that pretty much the only people who don’t refer to lobbyists by that name are, well, lobbyists. They’re “policy advisors,” or “strategic counsel,” or “public relations advisors,” or lawyers, or even just “consultants.” Whatever they’re called, though, they play a huge role in making policy. For the most part, they are able, well-informed, and skillful at what they do. Their aim is to develop a cordial relationship with policy-makers — whether elected to Congress or serving in some federal agency — so that they can advance their points of view. And policy-makers rely on them: for information, for research and writing, for persuasive arguments, and, of course, for political support. Though there are members of the influence industry who aren’t especially well-heeled, there are plenty who are. As a whole, they spend a lot of money: $3.15 billion in 2016, according to the Center on Responsive Politics, which tracks lobbying and lobbyists. Some industries — among them pharmaceuticals, communications, insurance, and oil and gas — employ hundreds of people whose sole mission is to influence federal policy-making. They write checks to politicians for speeches, dole out campaign contributions, pay for travel. They work hard to get their favored politicians elected and to rally their members at important moments. They are extremely sophisticated in the use...

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It’s Time for a 21st Century Tax Code

Our current tax code is over 30 years old; it is complicated and full of loopholes for special interests. It is estimated that in 2016 Americans spent 8.9 billion hours preparing and filing their taxes. We can do better. Hardworking American families deserve a tax code that is fair and simple while allowing them to keep more of their money to save for the future, educate their children and feel economically secure. With the recent House passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), I voted to change the status quo by putting in place a bold, pro-growth tax system for the 21st century that helps working-class families and catapults our nation back to a leadership position in an increasingly competitive global economy. Hardworking American families and businesses benefit from a tax code that provides an economic tailwind versus headwinds from the current “swamp” tax code. The TCJA improves the lives of hardworking Americans by creating five simplified tax brackets. Our plan lowers tax rates for working-class Americans to four simple rates of 0%, 12%, 25%, and 35% while maintaining the current 39.6% for the highest one percent of taxpayers. We further simplify tax filing by nearly doubling the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and to $24,000 for married couples. This means that millions of families will be able to keep more money by simply claiming the...

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Dear Editor – FMC Volunteer Program

Dear Editor, I, Sherry Brackens, make an appeal to the residents of our county, city and surrounding communities. Freestone Medical Center is working on developing a Volunteer Program. Some of the duties will be assisting patients to and from lab/x-ray, passing out newspapers or other reading material to the inpatients, and helping in any way that may arise to better serve the visitors and patients. A meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 4th, 2017 at 2pm in the Dining Room of Freestone Medical Center. Discussion will include short and long term goals for the program. If you have an hour or two a week to spare, please consider volunteering with us at Freestone Medical Center. Open to anyone who is interested; male, female, young, seniors or young at heart. For more information please call Freestone Medical Center Administration, 903-389-1612. Hope to see you at the meeting. Sherry Brackens FMC Volunteer...

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Nine Ways to Kill a Good Town

Pirated from As I Was Saying, 1957 by Boyce House Author and Publicist 1. Don’t attend any civic meetings; but if you do, arrive late. 2. Never accept an office. It is easier to criticize than to do things 3. Do nothing more than absolutely necessary, but when others use their ability to help matters along, howl that the town is being run by a clique. 4. If you have a suggestion to offer, do not think of going to the authorities in charge – just yell to the world at large. 5. Get “sore” if you are not appointed to a committee such as the park board, cemetery board, or public relations committee, but if you are appointed, do not attend committee meetings. 6. Get good and mad at some members of the organization. 7. Be pessimistic about every proposal to expand trade and promote the interest of the town. 8. Watch the proceedings of the local school board and town council, and point out the error of their ways to everyone who will stop long enough to listen. 9. Encourage your wife and relatives to do their shopping out of town....

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Dear Editor – Where, oh where, did our money go?

Dear Editor, In October 2015 the City of Fairfield had 3.5 million dollars. October 2016 we had 2.4 million dollars. When you do the math that leaves a deficit of 1 million 100 thousand dollars. I would like to know where all of this money went. When I have looked into this situation, my findings were that a decrease in income, very loose spending, habits and unauthorized spending was the cause of this. I was able to account for around 600 thousand dollars. That leaves a large amount of monies unaccounted for. I would like to see our City Council put on the agenda to have a forensic audit to find out about our money On October 10 at our City Council meeting the City Administrator was evaluated. It is my understanding to replace the City Administrator, 4 out of 5 have to vote that way. I understand that 3 City Councilmen were for replacement. On the City Council meeting on October 24, the mayor convinced the City Council to approve 4,600.00 to be spent on the new soccer field. In these figures, the Mayor was wanting a temporary electrical pole to be installed so they could take electrical extension cords to run the electricity for the little concession stand at a cost of 1,500.00. As usual, it was very muchly over killed. This pole has not been set...

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