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Front Page » Authors » Bio for Ken Poland » Archives for Ken Poland

By Ken Poland on December 26, 2016

Tax Reform ?
By Ken Poland
Opinion | December 26, 2016
Taxes is certainly on most everyone's mind, this time of year. Everyone seems to have a little difference of opinion on just how to 'reform' taxes. The issues vary by geography, financial position, priority of public needs, etc etc. Local, state, and national taxes must be included in the formulas and who benefits, who pays, and how it affects society is a very important part of the debate.

How much government do you want? What is the function of that government? Who will benefit from each function? Who will contribute to the tax and how will it be equitable in relation to benefits?

We are a diverse society and no single answer is appropriate for all. We have extreme wealth, extreme poverty. There is extreme differences in education, health, age, and culture (race & sexual identity).

The one thing we all have in common is 'humanity'. All humans deserve respect and compassion from their fellow sojourners in life. Government cannot force respect or compassion. Government cannot force responsibility on any individual. Governmant can reward actions that show respect and compassion. Government can reward those who take responsibility.

We tend to think we live in a "democracy". Do we? True democracy allows absolute control by majority, regardless of how it treats the minority. No society has ever been sustained by this kind of government. Rebellion erupts and coalitions form. Dictatorships have tried to surpress rebellions but when the inequities are severe enough rebellion occurs. Survival is an instinct and majority rule cannot take that instinct away. Survival is the core basis on which human relationships are formed. Family, community, and country are all vehicles by which we hope to insure our survival. Majority or dictatorial rule will eventually destroy any of those relationships if minority needs are not met.

We are fortunate to have had some wise fellows who got together and devised a set of quide lines to allow the colonists an opportunity to form a government with just the right amount of restrictions and authority to create an environment that would meet the needs of humanity, as they perceived those needs to be. Was the first plan successful? Not really! They discovered there had to be some give and take (compromise & cooperation). The next try, a few years later, has been astonishingly successful. Was it perfect and sufficient in all matters? No! But, they were wise enough to provide means by which challenges could be made and amendments and corrections could be made. They did not establish a pure democracy. But, instead devised a republic based on democratic principles that protected the rights of a minority. Those minorities included race, religion, gender, economic position, etc. They were a little ambivalent about race, gender and economics. But, they specifically denied any religious favor, advantage or dis-advantage. Slaves (most of them negro), women, and non property owners were not given equal rights and privileges in society. The original constitution was not actually validated until after the first ten amendments were adopted. Since then, many amendments have been adopted and some recinded. Legislatures have adopted new laws, re-written laws, and recinded laws. Administrations have administered and enforced laws. The Judicial Branch has ruled on constitutional and administrative authority. The system works! And, I, for one, think we are indeed the greatest nation and will remain so. That is, if we each avail ourselves the opportunity and responsibility of debating all issues and voting our conscience.

Back to the tax issue! Taxes must be levied equitably in terms of ability to generate the revenue for payment. They must be distributed equitably in terms of individual needs and societal needs. The tax base must be broad and sustainable. We don't all agree on priority or the order of priority on these matters. However, taxes should not be used to attempt to equalize wealth or remove individual responsibility for self.

Taxes (all sources), service charges, and licensce & registration fees are all means of providing funds to operate society. It is mine and your moral and ethical duty to participate and honor that duty.

Click here to see this author's archives and biography

By Ken Poland on April 30, 2016

It’s been awhile since I contributed to KFP or Citizens United. I’m submitting this to both venues.

Yep, I’m still a registered Democrat and identify with Christianity as my religious affiliation. I am actively interested and involved in both of those areas. Thus, I’m zealous. That doesn’t mean I’m a zealot. I try not to be belligerent, warlike or intolerant. I enjoy lively debate on the pros and cons of issues. I tune in on all the debates and town hall meetings, I have time for. I have studied many religions and try to understand their origin and basis. I research denominational variants of Christianity, and, believe me, there are many. I devote personal and group time to study the accepted Christian Bible and how it relates to our present times and issues.

We, in the United States. live in a diverse society that includes numerous religious groups and variants of all those groups. We have political and economic opinions that cover the spectrum from every conceivable extreme.

Read more of this post here ...

By Ken Poland on February 15, 2016

Yes, I'm still kicking. Just not very high or hard. But, I do keep abreast of the political scene.

It is deplorable that the Republicans can't put a better line up on the stage. They're like a bunch of teenage boys bandying over a girl. Bragadocio and bluster is their style. Calling each other names and liars is powerful content for their resumes. I guess I'd rather risk Kasick or Carson for president than any of the others, but they don't present any plausible solutions to the economy or social dilemma we are in.

I like much of Sanders idea on economics and regulation of the economy. He's quite right on the fact that taxes has accelerated the inequity of wealth going to the upper (extreme) echelon. His 'Democratic Socialism' is in no ways close to the USSR or China's communism. And, it certainly isn't fascist. Unlimited or unregulated capitalism will ultimately lead to a feudalistic society, and finally revolution. Dictatorship by virtue of wealth will never consistently guarantee equity for all in terms of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

The truth is that our nation has leaned toward his 'socialistic' philosophy from the very beginning. Government funding is socialistic, from the most local levels on up to the natiional level.

From local law enforcement, State Highway Patrol, State National Guard, right on up through our Federal Military systems are all 'socialistic' in funding and service. The limits of jurisdiction have always been subject to debate.

The transportation infrastructcher from local township, county, state, and national are all based on social control and funding. I live in a sparsely populated county with township and county road systems. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that individuals do not have to try maintaining private roads beyond their own premises. We have county maintained roads that stretch through areas that have little benefit to some local residents in a particular township, but they facilitate transportation from other locales. Local townships have problems coordinating systems determining level of maintenance needed. When you take this on up through State and Federal Systems you can see the same advantages or disadvantages, but the benefit to society in general is quite evident. Can you imagine the problems for todays mobile society and freight transportation systems with out the Federal highway systems? Could all states or local communities afford or justify the cost on the basis of their own little economic situation?

We hear so much about regulation by government, either local, state, or national. Some regulations maybe are overreaching, but do you want to go back to no regulations on health care? No licensing requirements for practitioners, drugs and other pharmaceuticals? No regulations on building codes, appliances, etc.? No regulations on environmental practices? No regulation on food handling or preparation?

With no organized regulatory system you would be open to dangers in nearly all areas of your life. I can't give proper credit to who said it, but someone said, 'No man is an island unto himself'. That is more true today than ever before. No nation can exist in isolation from the rest of the world. Technoligy in communication and transportation has made someone on the other side of the world more accesable to me, today, than someone on the other side of the county, when I was a kid. That means they have access to me and my property, too.

I grew up with seven siblings with a mom and dad. No single one of us could exercise absolute control over everyone else, not even mom or dad. How do some politicians think the United States can dictate to the rest of the world. I grew up a minority of nine. The United States is a minority of some three hundred million people in a world of seven or eight billion. Oh yes, the United States is the most powerful and richest nation in the world. Dad was the most powerful and held complete control of the spendable resources in our family, but that by itself did not enable him to have absolute control of the rest of the family. Our parents were able to maintain a stable family because every member of the family knew that at times they gave up individual wants or pleasures of their own or single members for the benefit of the whole family. Can the United States give up any of its own wants and pleasures for the benefit of the world?

Read more of this post here ...

By Ken Poland on January 8, 2015

What has happened to all our contributors to Everyday Citizen?

Angelo, you are doing a great job, don't give up! We need more progressive (Democrat or Liberal) writers to start contributing. We don't have all the answers and we don't always agree on all issues. But, everyone should have a chance to offer their take on things. The reading public is entitled to your opinion, so share it.

Sorry to say this old fellow is getting older and just can't put much together anymore. But I do enjoy reading other's contributions and thoughts.

I'm not sure who is supposed to be managing this sight, but I wish they would get the 'comment' feature fixed.

By Ken Poland on November 30, 2014

Thank you, Angelo, for a very good summary of Old Testament scriptures that don't seem very popular in society today. None of those references you give recind the ten commandments. Some folks need to take note of the account of Jesus' encounter with the 'rich young ruler'. That young man declared that he had kept all the commandments, but he still felt something was missing. What did Jesus suggest to him? He didn't accuse him of breaking any commandments. He only suggested that he could give away some of his wealth. Share a little of what he had in material blessings with those less fortunate than himself. Piety (perfection in the law) is no substitute for showing compassion and love.

It is amazing to me how so many of the fundamental religious right folks can ignore those parts of scripture that don't fit their modern concept of humanity and equality.

Man's nature hasn't changed. We still have selective hearing and understanding. Taking blame for inequities isn't easy for anyone, rich or poor. We all like to blame someone or something other than ourselves for our status or station in life, especially if we are not where we'd like to be.

By Ken Poland on September 29, 2014

I receive 30 or 40 emails declaring all is lost if I don’t send in $3 to $5 immediately. Disaster is just around the corner and if I can send in a dollar it will be matched. If I sent in $3 for every email it would add up to several hundred dollars pretty quickly.

I might experience a real disaster if at the end of the season i can’t pay all my current bills and satisfy my operating loan repayment at the bank. My operation will cease to exist. Government seems to survive and recover, in spite of the fact that it doesn’t always respect or reflect by priorities or standards.

I can’t help but wonder if they are selling chances on a dead horse, when you read the alarming news that disaster will strike if they miss their deadline of midnight tonight.

Read more of this post here ...

By Ken Poland on September 15, 2014

Angelo, thank you for your observations on NAFTA.

The lobbying of Pres. Clinton for NAFTA was never one of his stellar accomplishments.

I'm an agricultural producer of corn and that agreement benefited me some. But the loss of domestic buying power of the factory and assembly workers in the U.S. cost us dearly.

Corporations started exporting unfinished products to Mexico, where non unionized workers assembled them at slave labor compensation and then imported those finished products back and sold them at the same prices they would have needed if produced totally in the U.S. This produced a double whammy on the working class and agricultural producers here at home.

This created disparity in the Mexican economy as well as the U.S. economy. Big business and their stockholders were the major beneficiaries of the NAFTA agreement. Small independent companies and consumers never benefited. Mom and Pop businesses and small farmers seldom benefit from, so called, open trade and unregulated economies.

By Ken Poland on June 20, 2014

Thomas Sowell’s contribution to the Salina Journal editorial page on Friday, June 20, is an example of poor memory and illogical thinking

“Wrong from the beginning” for the major headline and then “Obama has been wrong on Iraq, Afghanistan, and the world will suffer for it” in bold print.

President Bush defied his Dad, former President Bush, and others, who advised against entering a sovereign nation to overthrow its government. It is one thing to chase an invading army out of their neighboring country, but quite another thing to attack a country on their own turf to facilitate overthrowing its leadership.

President Bush declared mission accomplished as soon as Saddam was deposed and then we spent years trying to put a government in place. You can’t establish a government ‘of the people and for the people’ when the people aren’t willing to take on the responsibility of governing themselves, democratically.

Enough is enough. We can’t govern the whole world from Washington D.C.

Read more of this post here ...

By Ken Poland on June 15, 2014

Pope Francis and many other Christian leaders have joined with other religious leaders, Christian or not, on social issues and economic equality.

With few exceptions, most all world religions profess to believe they are responsible to a higher power than themselves. True, we don't all address our petitions or worship the same higher power. Some acknowledge the God of the Orthodox Jews, some The Christ of the New Testament and others give their allegiance and honor to various and sundry other gods, idols, etc. And some have a mixed up muddle of pagan, Christian, and mythical faiths.

But we all have somethings in common, the welfare of mankind and this world, as we know it. Why can't we work together on those things instead of warring between ourselves over our differences? You may worship the Sun in the sky and I worship the Son of God. But, does that mean we can't work together on world issues for the benefit of all mankind?

There are radical extremists and bigots in all religions. Why must we let those extremists set the agenda for everyone?

By Ken Poland on May 23, 2014

Both "Women's Lib" and "feminist" have somewhat negative identifications for me. Both of those terms have been used to justify attitudes and actions that I consider not becoming to the female species. That doesn't mean that women should not be liberated from being 2nd class and subservient to men.

I am all for women having freedom to be themselves without having to get prior approval from men. If they want to smoke, drink, cuss, spit like an inconsiderate male then it is only themselves they are demeaning. I don't consider females who imitate males in this way to be appealing nor ladylike. Neither do I consider men who do these things to be gentlemen. I don't think holding women to higher standards than men is proper, either. Nor the other way around.

Equal pay for equal work is fair and equitable. Some women can do manual labor as well as some men, but the difference in structure and anatomy is that men usually are stronger physically. I'd have paid a girl equal pay with the boys in hauling baled hay, if they threw as many bales. I'd have paid the girl more than the boy if she outworked him. Some girls are more mechanically inclined than boys. If so, then reward them for their abilities. There are few occupations anymore that require brute strength. If the girls can out think the boys or out pace them in whatever the task, they should be recognized and rewarded. If the boys show better aptitude at some of the jobs that used to be considered 'women's' work, then reward them for it. Neither 'Sissie' nor 'Tom Boy' were ever popular labels in our family.

I grew up in a family of 4 boys and 3 girls. There was never a gender connotation to what work either were to do. Mother or Dad determined who was best qualified for the job and you did it. Mother worked side by side with dad at what ever the job was, until one of the boys became bigger and stronger than Mom. She still helped, if needed. We all washed dishes and swept floors when asked to. We all worked in the field, did chores, etc. There were no job distinctions between men's work or women's work. Ability to do the job is all that mattered and we were encouraged to develop the ability for all jobs. We never got by with complaining that other kids didn't have to do those things. We were simply told, "You are not other, you are you."

Dad never gave birth to a baby or breast fed one, but that's about only thing I know of that was exclusively Mom's job. The only thing I know of that Mom never did that I saw Dad do, was wield the knife when neutering male animals. But, i'll bet she could have if it had been necessary.

Today's political flap about gender and orientation is simply a struggle for dominance and control.

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