Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Urge Walden to back tax hikes on wealthiest

The dust is beginning to settle from a hard-fought election, and I'm writing now to encourage my fellow readers, our state, and our great nation to come together to take vigorous and informed steps toward economic progress. The way I see it, we ALL dodged a bullet last Tuesday, as we turned back the politics of the wealthiest 1 percent, in favor of the rest of us: the 99 percent. But, some hard work lies ahead.

Republicans still have a majority in the House of Representatives (due primarily to skillful redistricting following the 2010 census). And almost all of them, including Greg Walden, have signed Grover Norquist's no-tax-increase pledge. Unless we intervene, it's already sounding like they will stiff-arm any attempt to raise taxes on the wealthy to promote economic expansion and debt reduction, even while claiming to support compromise. They will ignore the 1950s, when the wealthy paid a top marginal income tax rate of over 90 percent, the economy flourished, and we paid down the war debt. They will stick together and march us off the impending "fiscal cliff."

There are those who still say that trickle-down tax cuts for the wealthy would spur the economy, but tax rates are already at historic lows. The real problem with the economy is that the middle class has lost its buying power over the past 35 years, losing good-paying jobs to off-shoring/out-sourcing, computer automation, and union busting. The profits from this increased "productivity" have gone into the pockets of the top 1 percent, instead of growing the economy through needed investments in jobs for education, our streets and bridges, green energy and much more, while also reducing the national debt.

If enough of us intervene, we have the power to break the logjam in the House. Our calls and e-mails to Representative Walden, urging him to allow significant tax increases for the wealthy - even exceeding President Obama's modest proposals andndash; could help produce genuine compromise. I ask my fellow readers to learn about the real, positive relationship between higher taxes and economic growth, and then give Walden a call.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Casting votes for fictitious characters is costly

Many thanks to Tami Green and her staff for the hours spent in preparation for each election. Once an election is over, more work has to be done. I have the privilege of working on the Election Board. The Election Board, consisting of 10 members or more, must spend excess time hand-tallying all write-in votes cost - including fictitious characters. You are paying our extra wages for this process.

So the next time you are thinking about writing in a name, legitimate or fictitious, think about what a privilege it is to vote and not waste your taxpayers' dollars on casting a write-in vote that has no real meaning.

Suann Rush

Baker City