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Opinion Letters

The State of North Carolina has been blessed in many ways. One of her blessings, in spite of her rugged, dangerous coastline, is that she has never had to attempt to survive a tsunami sweeping in from the sea and destroying all in its path.

However, she has been subjected to a tsunami of newly-elected young (and old) Turks who have systematically staged and produced a greatly devastating wave of what they determine to be economically inspired changes. They believe this will make the state a domain in which they believe their party and their programs will prosper. But they forget about the people who do not have incomes, or voices, on the level of senators and representatives. These mostly silent people form the underlying cushion for so many of the activities in which all of us participate.

They have seriously damaged the entire system of education in North Carolina which had heretofore been a source of great pride to the people of this state, and which has been formed over many years of struggle and sacrifice. Those years produced the Community College System, tops in the nation; schools of math and science which turned out students highly proficient and capable of leading the way in our nation today; health care systems, including Medicaid and Women’s Services which have stood as models for other states. In the days ahead, we will know for sure that these proud accomplishments are in the past.

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We North Carolinians are very fortunate people! Our Republican majority state legislature had the courage to make the necessary cuts in the state budget to close a $2.5 billion deficit. By reducing spending by more than $1 billion, North Carolina’s government will live within its means preventing the bankruptcy that threatened our state and continues to threaten our nation and states and counties throughout the country.

However, ever since the budget debate began and the legislature overrode governor Purdue’s veto, numerous naysayers have been critical of the spending cuts but especially those in education. You would think that the education budget was reduced to $0! What is actually true is that the legislature trimmed bloated areas in education in favor of increasing funding for K-12 programs. The budget fully funds classroom teachers and teaching assistants, makes important education reforms, while also protecting other core state services. The education reforms will lower class sizes by hiring 1,100 additional teachers, pay teachers based on merit, and ensure students can read.

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President George Bush Sr., once called the Reagan tax cut, supply-side economics, “Voodoo economics.” Bush did not believe that if you showered money on the wealthiest individuals and the biggest corporations, that the benefits would “trickle” down to the masses. In the intervening 30 years we have learned that President Bush, the senior, was correct, Reaganomics, or trickle down economics was a disaster for the vast majority of Americans.

Here are just a few facts to expose the trickle down voodoo: Between 1980 and 1989, the Reagan years, the average wage in the US increased 3%, but for the top 1% income bracket, the increase was 80%. The average family income growth during that time barely rose at all, and for the poorest, it actually dropped by 10%. But for the richest 1%, their family income increased by a whopping 74%. Looks like trickle UP to me.

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The appointment of Daylon Plemens as Macon County’s Veterans Affairs representative is well deserved.

Mrs. Plemens has paid her dues as a volunteer with the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) since its inception. In this capacity she has helped many veterans claim their rightful benefits for service to this country. Due to past indifference by the VA to their claims, many of these veterans had all but given up getting any help for their request for assistance before Mrs. Plemens encouraged them to pursue their claims and helped them with the mountains of paperwork required.

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