To the Editor:

If you ever wonder how this world has gotten quite so crazy, or how it seems we’re losing some sense of our humanity, then go see the movie “Wonder” (now playing locally) and let your heart be opened.

Hoyt Cory


Fair distribution

To the Editor:

Most wealthy people get that way through inheritance. Daddy leaves them a few million in stock, and they continue to reap the dividends or parlay it into greater wealth. These are the “idle rich,” the “free-lunchers.” None of this wealth is earned in the way a wage earner makes his income.

The stock market doesn’t “create” wealth, but channels money into the hands of stockholders. It is asset stripping. Companies reduce costs, mostly by downsizing and outsourcing jobs and depressing wages by threatening to do so, which raises dividends, which in turn raises stock prices, both of which benefit stockholders. All of this comes at the expense of the workers who really do create the wealth through their labor and productivity. The stock market, rather than a measure of national wealth, is a measure of national misery. This development needs reversal for the sake of our economy and our society.

Relevant issues are pre-distribution and redistribution. The former means keeping the money out of the hands of the grabbers by making sure, for example, that they don’t exploit their workers through layoffs and outsourcing. This can be furthered through elimination of unfavorable trade agreements (like NAFTA), and fostering union protection of workers’ rights and income.

Redistribution, as I suggested in an earlier letter, involves progressive taxation that assures that the wealth of our nation, the people’s money (even if “channeled” into the hands of a few), is distributed in a fashion that allows everyone to have the basics necessary to achieve our constitutional goal of promotion of the general welfare.

Phil Nichols


To tax or not to tax

To the Editor:

It is quite interesting to follow the opinions of people, may it be on radio, TV or in the printed news media about the current debate in the U.S. Congress about the tax law rewrite. So many people appear to have made up their mind that it is a scheme of the rich getting richer on account of the not so wealthy when only one proposal has passed the house of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate is still debating the issue, let alone a consensus between the two bodies, which has not yet been reached. It is not law until the president signs the proposed tax law.

We all benefit from our federal government, so why does everybody not have some skin in the game? May it be 1/2 percent or 1 percent up to $10,000 it could be a starting point for the debate of what is fair. Some of us do get a free ride, and is that fair?

Letters to The Union Democrat decry the proposed tax issue in the U.S. Congress without looking at the taxing effects of our California legislature, which has enacted higher gasoline taxes, high income taxes and high property taxes. Instead of supporting the Jefferson State proposal, urge your elected officials to support the “One State Senator for each County” scheme instead. Rural counties have been underrepresented for too long. Los Angeles County has numerous state senators when Tuolumne County has to share a state senator with several other counties. If you object to that approach, look at the precedent on the federal level where each state, no matter what size or population, has two U.S. senators. Urban areas get slick freeways, and we have to suffer from pothole derby on our rural roads.

Peter Jelito


Bus service

To the Editor:

I think I’ll switch my allegiance to the Republicans. I now believe that private business is more efficient than anything government could possibly do. Here is the story.

Yesterday I took my car to the shop, and a cab brought me home. I knew that the county, run by dyed-in-the-wool conservatives, does have some inclination toward what they might otherwise call socialism. They run a system of mini-buses. If you are handicapped or a senior it even offers door-to-door service.

They might consider my life-long history of voting on the left-leaning side of the ballot a mental handicap, but I won’t rely on that. Being in my 70s, I qualify for a three-dollar fare. Good deal, so I scheduled it for the next morning. But not so fast.

It took many minutes and more phone calls to get me “into the system.” Until the three-dollar problem came up. Checking my wallet, I only had Jacksons ($20 bills). But the drivers don’t carry change. So I asked to be dropped off at a grocery store, buy something and pay. No way, I was told. The fare has to be paid in advance.

But there is a solution: I could put the three dollars on my credit or debit card. Modern times. Great, I said, here is my card number. No, no — again. We will call you in the morning, just before the ride. Then we will take your card number.

One more thing. I believe the county long ago outsourced the mini-bus service to a private business. That business will charge me three dollars and big bucks to the county. Socialism is really damnable — when orchestrated by Republicans.

By the way, the cab fare was $8.

Klaus Kraemer


Data rich, information poor

To the Editor:

Government is a major buyer of business data. Millions are spent every year on surveys, questionnaires, outreach programs and alike, collecting everything from rising housing cost to unsustainable government benefits. Most of the data just ends up sitting in massive redundant databases that is rich with data but of not much use if not integrated towards timely, practical and measurable outcomes.

Over the past several years, many of our own local organizations have been busy collecting business and economic data through questionnaires, membership drives, seminars, phone surveys and sponsored events - all trying to find ways to help local businesses grow, entrepreneurs succeed and new ways to create jobs. The challenge now, and has always been, finding ways to integrate all this data into coherent, long-term economic development strategies that adds tangible and measurable value to the community.

Since the data is available everywhere (just Google it), why did TCEDA (www.tceda.net) feel the need to issue an RFP (Request for Proposals) for an outside consultant to collect more economic and business data? Much of which, IMO, will end up essentially putting old wine into new bottles since this data already exist ad-nauseam. Why spend $10,000 for yet again for more consultants when this data has already been collected and published in CSEDD’s 2016 five-year Economic Development Strategy report (www.csedd.org/ceds.) There are also many other local organizations that collect business and economic data such as the various Chamber of Commerce’s, SCORE (www.score.org) and Motherlode Job Training (www.mljt.org,) just to name a few.

I have a recommendation. Someone get the list of all businesses in the City and County, past and present, collect all readily available Federal, State and local business and economic development data published to date, then begin formulating a cure for the Data Rich, Information Poor Syndrome that seems to plague TCEDA.

Ken Perkins