News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Don't feds have to urinate, too?

Regarding the much-publicized article in the July 25 DECATUR DAILY, "Minister, 26 others snared," etc.

I have a question. If there were federal agents "all over the place," as the article states, just where did these agents go to "relieve" themselves?

Oh, I forgot — they were "camouflaged," right? I presume that makes it OK?

THE DECATUR DAILY has committed an extreme injustice to the minister in question, just to make a shocking headline. Unfortunately, much damage has been done to the minister and his family.

Chris Paschenko and THE DAILY owe the Rev. Grad Tanner a very large apology.

Gayle Strider


Newspaper owes minister apology

I would like to commend THE DECATUR DAILY for the Aug. 1 editorial, "Being good citizen requires more than passive morality."

Then I, and all the people with whom I have talked, would curse THE DAILY for the sensational way the situation with the Rev. Grad Tanner was handled.

We all agree that you owe him an apology on the front page, in bold print.

I do not know the Rev. Tanner personally, but I do know his reputation and feel that you have done him irreparable damage (to those who don't know him). I do know the fine family from which he comes.

To paraphrase your good editorial, "Being a good newspaper requires more than sensational stories."

Mildred Stephenson


Sales-tax holiday not much of a deal for shoppers

Even though we're in sore need of some rain, I hate to pour any on the state's back-to-school tax holiday set for this weekend. But, the savings for each family who purchases supplies will be meager. Assuming that all local sales taxes on eligible items are also suspended statewide, the "holiday" is the rough equivalent of a very limited 10-percent-off sale. Every little bit helps, but the state's marketing of the event is a bit too exuberant for the scope of the benefit.

What Alabama needs most is the elimination of all sales taxes on groceries. That will put some real money back into the pocket of every tax-paying family to spend on the most essential purchasing power of all — food. Our sales tax on groceries punishes the working poor disproportionately, since everyone eats.

Property tax increases are the political third rail in this state. Eliminating the grocery sales tax and replacing the lost revenue with a more stable, predictable revenue base from property taxes would abound to the good of all of us. The slippery slope of property tax increases is a legitimate fear, though; once started, it is hard to imagine an Alabama with legislators disciplined enough to control the desire to tax and spend. That's why the unjust sales tax on groceries will always be with us. And, that's why the same Legislature that lacks self-control can keep a straight face while it pats itself on the back for granting a three-day break on school-supply sales taxes. But, memo to Montgomery: We voters know this really isn't a deal at all.

Tim Shelton


Postal 'service' is a misnomer

Our founding fathers would be appalled by the low standards to which their creation, the United States Postal Service, has fallen. On July 10, I was admitted to Decatur General Hospital and remained there until July 21. During my absence from my residence, my mail was not delivered. It seems that my car was parked in front of my mailbox.

My car is a subcompact model, and only a few steps would have been necessary to put the mail in my box. I suppose that is just too difficult for some of our mail "passers." At any rate, relatives occasionally checked on my residence during my hospitalizations, and a simple note would have been sufficient for the car's removal from the problem spot. Again, I suppose this would have been too much of a hardship, since it would have involved actually stepping out of the mail truck.

While I served in the military, I had the responsibility of handling the mail. I knew that this mail was invaluable to its recipients, often containing letters from loved ones or important financial information. I considered my duty to be a serious one, and I accepted it with honor. I realize that perhaps one-tenth of today's mail consists of meaningful correspondence, but it should still be diligently delivered because of the often-crucial importance of that one-tenth. In my case, the undelivered mail contained my temporary disability and current bills, and I now face significant hardships trying to straighten out my finances.

Just whom does the Postal Service "serve" anymore?

Dennis Raths


Bush, proposed secrecy laws should be rejected

The legislation, H.R. 3282 and H.R. 5766, should be stopped dead in its tracks. The idea of establishing commissions that operate without public oversight and yet have the power to shut down programs that protect the public good is anathema to the political and social ideals of the U.S. Constitution and the American public.

This is another attempt by Bush's fascist regime to bypass our constitutional government through secrecy. Americans need to rise up and cast this abomination and his henchmen from office.

Carl Golden


Minimum wage hike would harm poor, young

This is in response to an editorial written about raising the minimum wage.

It is nice to see Congress doing something that would help the American worker for a change. If Congress were to raise the minimum wage, it would do more harm than good. Minimum wages are nothing more than price floors in the labor market. If the person who had written the editorial understood a little about microeconomics, he might not have ever written the piece. Price floors have potential to disrupt the market, actually causing unemployment.

Here is a simple example that shows the effects of a minimum wage. Let us say, for example, that a local grocery store wants to pay someone $5.15 an hour. There are certainly many people who would be willing to accept this wage: high school students, the unemployed, etc. However, the government decides to raise the minimum wage to $7.50 an hour. With the new wage requirements, the store no longer sees justification in hiring a new stock clerk, believing it cannot get its money's worth out of the employee. So what are the effects? A person who would have been employed is not. In turn this means that his wages cannot re-enter the economy through his spending, thus no economic growth.

This phenomenon of not hiring a new employee, or in some cases laying off marginal, low-wage employees, is the result of an increased minimum wage. People will lose their jobs and the overall net effect of an increased wage will be negative. Many adults clamor for higher minimum wages when they won't ever be impacted by such legislation. Even most Wal-Mart employees would never feel the effects, as the average employee there makes about $7 an hour. The minimum wage hurts the poor and the young.

Carl Kitchens


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