Letters to the editor (02/25/12)

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Where is the justice in estate taxes?
Editor:
I don’t want to get in the middle of the religious debate between Mr.’s Mehaffey and Mower, but I do think it is necessary to comment on Mr. Mehaffey’s position on the estate taxes.
While supporting the preservation of a country, which was created for the purpose of securing our inalienable rights certainly is a privilege, clearly there must be a limit to the price that country can exact for the opportunity it affords.
If the government requires too much, then it’s really not opportunity at all, it’s an illusion of opportunity.  The more of our efforts that go to providing for the government, especially governmental programs that do not benefit the person making the effort, the less of that person’s effort can go towards exercising his own liberty.
While some will say a desire to exercise one’s own liberty is selfish, I contend that the selfishness lies on the side of those seeking to benefit for themselves through looting from the dead.
Everyone who is a part of a community trades a little liberty for a little security (sorry Mr. Franklin), but the purpose of gaining security is to protect life and property.
Mr. Mehaffey, in proclaiming the virtues of the estate tax, forgets (or more likely never has understood) that everything that a person earns is their property, not property of the state or society — at least not yet.
The earnings which establish an estate have already been taxed. The person who is developing an estate has already paid the price to build the value of the estate. They have the right, or should have, to do as they will with their property.
Whether they spend it, have it buried with them, lose it gambling, give the estate away while they are living, or give it away at the time of their death, it should be their choice  — it is their property.
Where is the justice of an estate tax? Their estate has already been taxed. Why take more from them, or even from their heirs?
By the way Mr. Mehaffey, you are wrong concerning who is being taxed by estate tax. The tax is on the estate, not the heirs. The heirs do not receive their inheritance then pay the tax. That tax is an inheritance tax, which is a state not federal tax, but one which is also wrong.
It is the purpose of the owner of the estate which is being thwarted by an estate tax, just like the gift tax thwarts the purpose of the giver by taxing them.
I know statists like to claim that no one is being injured because the dead person can’t be hurt (they’re dead), and their heirs are really only benefitting because they get something they didn’t earn.
But that ignores the fact that when personal property rights are violated, two of our inalienable rights (liberty and pursuit of happiness) are violated. In fact, according to John Locke, who is one of the philosophical grandfathers of the American Revolution, the right to property is, itself, an inalienable right. A right that, without which Locke points out, liberty is compromised because underlying freedom is the ability of an individual to direct their own affairs.
If a person does not own the fruit of their labors, then they are laboring for others without personal benefit or control of those labors. There is a word that describes that state, but it seems to be escaping me right now.
Likely, I will never have enough of an estate to be subject to an estate tax. Well, that is until Mr. Mehaffey gets his way and the government just confiscates everything.
But, because I recognize the value of families, the worth of establishing strongholds of the convictions in which I believe and the need to help provide heirs the resources they might need to combat the creeping onslaught of collectivism — the economic system favored by those who wish to benefit, without effort themselves, from the labors of others who have managed their finances responsibly — I would want all of my estate to go to whomsoever I directed.
If Mr. Mehaffey wants to give every penny of his income or his estate to the government — great. It seems that, according to his expressed regard for the government, the U.S. government is an excellent choice as a benefactor.
But, being as I don’t always see eye-to-eye with the powers that be — a condition that just keeps getting worse — I do not want them to be one of mine.
I hope to use my estate to work towards ending the type of plundering Mr. Mehaffey espouses. And, if we can keep Mr. Mehaffey’s aged, informed hands out of my pockets once I’m dead, I hope that my estate can continue to be used to do that work as long as it is needed.

Dana Davis
Los Lunas

Pelosicare will have impact on everyone
Editor:
Health care reform has been and continues to be a contentious topic in America.
Attempts by various administrations to reform the system in order to make it more affordable and accessible for all have failed miserably.
The Clintons, in particular, did a poor job in their effort, largely, because of the secrecy that shrouded the process.
Clearly, prior to 2010, reform efforts failed because health care is a very complex system and because there were too many big players that wouldn’t buy into it if their turf was going to be disturbed.
As well, there was a large number of Americans who believed our system was the best and only needed some adjustments, particularly in how costs were calculated and how non-compensated care should be paid.
In my opinion, the main reason why health care reform was finally passed and adopted in 2010 was because Speaker Pelosi and her lieutenant in the Senate, Harry Reid, saw to it that dissension was kept to a minimum, sometimes with assistance from the White House via financial support (pork) and the power of executive orders.
The trio, under Pelosi’s leadership, or “mommy” as Rahm Emanuel used to call her, worked in concert and were, obviously, very effective.  Thus, today, we have Pelosicare, not Obamacare, as the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act is commonly referred to. Yes folks, you heard right, Pelosicare!
According to Rochelle Schweizer’s book, “She’s The Boss,” on March 26, 1940, a girl was born in Baltimore to Tommy (Tomaso) Jr. and Anunciata (Nancy) D’Alessandro. These good Catholics named the baby Anunciata, which came from the Feast of the Annunciation.
Tommy Jr. and Anunciata were descendants of parents who had been born in Central Italy and immigrated to America in the late 1800s. The families joined other Italian immigrants and settled in what became known as Little Italy in the city of Baltimore.
Tomaso Sr. worked as at various jobs throughout his life and never really dabbled in politics.
Tommy Jr., on the other hand, was destined to become a powerful “boss” in the Baltimore political machine much like Daley in Chicago and Tweed at Tammany Hall in New York.
Tommy quit school at age 14, and went to work as a collector for an insurance agency.  Following that stint, he held various jobs in and out of Little Italy which, some speculate included work for the mafia.
Combined, these experiences formed the springboard that catapulted him into the thick of Baltimore politics.
Although he was still too young to vote, he was able to go to work for the Democratic Party. Thus began his political career that would ultimately land him in the boss’s position, enabling him to become a U.S. Congressman and later mayor of Baltimore.
The ruthless political know-how he learned on his march to the top was extensive. And, as fate would have it, the knowledge would be passed on to little Anunciata (Nancy).
Nancy’s journey into politics was accelerated when she met Paul Pelosi of San Francisco while they were taking courses at Georgetown University.  They fell in love and later married and moved to San Francisco, Paul’s hometown.
The knowledge she had learned from her father, coupled with the enormous wealth and important connections the Pelosi family had, helped her get established in the San Francisco political scene.
Through hook and crook, she managed to get recommended as the replacement for a dying congresswoman.  Consequently, she was appointed, was elected in her own right, and went on to become the Speaker of the House in Washington, one of the most powerful women in America.
Now, even before becoming Speaker, Nancy Pelosi’s left wing liberal agenda included, amongst other things, health care for all. This is eye catching because Pelosi is one of the wealthiest representatives in the US Congress.
The Pelosis have amassed incredible wealth much of it through questionable political wheeling and dealing. Pelosi definitely belongs to the l percent referred to by Occupy Wall Street and is set for the rest of her life.
Furthermore, as a representative, she is currently covered by a 24-hour “Cadillac” health plan, and, incredibly, will likely receive Medicare benefits once she retires, if she ever does.
Consequently, when Obama became president, it was by no coincidence that health care reform surfaced as a topic of mutual interest. At last, the opportunity to fulfill one of the items on her agenda presented itself.
Pelosi jumped into the task with all her might, and with assistance from Reid in the Senate and her overflowing war chest, which enabled her to reward or punish senators and representatives in order to keep them in line, she forcibly, sometimes, was successful in garnering the necessary votes to pass her legislation. Tommy Jr. had, indeed, taught her well.
On March 23, 2010, after a year of extensive and contentious haggling, debate and back room deals by Speaker Pelosi and President Obama, a law that would revolutionize the American health care system and force various mandates on providers, consumers, the insurance industry, pharmaceutical companies and other vendors, the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act was signed into law, never mind that a majority of Americans were opposed.
What is really a sad commentary on our political system was the manner in which such an important law was forced on senators and representatives, for the most part without the benefit of a lubricant, by the leadership, many casting their vote with little or no knowledge of the contents.
In fact, Speaker Pelosi was quoted as saying that the law first had to be passed in order for lawmakers and the public to read it and find out what it contained. This to me was the height of hypocrisy.
In all fairness, however, I must admit that a handful of lawmakers questioned specific parts that directly affected their constituents but, only because they were brought to their attention by staff or lobbyists, and not because they read the 1,000 plus pages.
As a result, the impression was made that they were aware of the contents when, in fact, they were not, i.e. Nebraska, Louisiana, Michigan. These states were the beneficiaries of the gifts that were handed out to win votes.
Regardless, in my eyes, Pelosicare, not Obamacare, is the law of the land. Soon the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on questions that have been raised by state attorneys general.
In the meantime, other problems are beginning to surface, the most recent one being a tax on firms that produce medical devices. The tax was included in the law to help pay the additional costs the act will impose and, likely, will be passed on to consumers.
I personally have serious doubts that the act in its entirety will be repealed. Republicans would do it if they were to gain control of both chambers.  Short of that, the only actions the public can expect are piecemeal deletions or amendments.
Adjust your seats folks and enjoy the ride. Pelosicare is here to stay!
Pelosi may not have the Speaker’s gavel, but she still carries a big stick and, with her overflowing war chest will continue to be a force to be reckoned with. Let there be no question that, as I write, she is working on officially regaining the Speaker’s job and, with the help of New Mexico’s representatives, will succeed. In the meantime, clearly, she is still the boss.

John Lopez
Bosque Farms