Taxing Situation

By Montecito Journal   |   December 14, 2017

I would like to recommend to Bob Hazard, who wrote the recent Guest Editorial (“California Screaming,” MJ #23/48), that the Los Angeles Times of Tuesday, December 5, published a brief letter from a Godfrey Harris under the subject of “Why we pay taxes”. From Mr. Harris’s point of you, which I agree with, Americans are supposed to pay taxes for the “goods and services that the government provides – roads, schools, health, defense, and more.”

He goes on to suggest that real tax reform “would look at the costs of government and then figure out how we can best meet those costs as fairly as possible with a tax regime that stops favoring one sector over another.”

After just concluding almost 60 years of practice as a CPA helping businesses in doing the same with how they determined how to use their revenue and still earn a profit, I can tell you that this makes common sense. I have practiced through three major tax law revisions since 1952, and I can tell you that in all cases when a tax revision was made, there are always winners and losers. Really significant steps taken in tax reform are both determining our national objectives and providing the revenue to accomplish them.

I’m glad to see Mr. Hazard willing to pay higher taxes to provide for his list of improvements in roads, schooling, and reducing health costs. Perhaps there are a few other national objectives that he might be willing to pay for with his taxes that might benefit the nation and remove some of the existential – yes, existential – threats to our country, as we have known it, like affordable housing, health coverage for all like in all modern developed countries, and reducing the distorted asset and income spreads between the extremely wealthy and the “others.”

I can remember President Eisenhower warning of these threats as existential and recently the same warning from retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, our own Californian admiral Michael Mullen.

Robert L. Turner

(Editor’s note: Many of us who resent high taxation do so because of the apparent mis-spending by government agencies at every level and in the face of bloated bureaucracies and padded pensions by public “servants” who are bleeding us dry. – J.B.)

Looking Good

I spent Thanksgiving with my sister at Casa Dorinda, where we ate our meal of thanks in their newly completed dining room. I secretly hoped we would be in the temporary tent that had been set up while under construction, so I could pretend I was on safari in Africa with Abercrombie & Kent, but it was not to be. I was most impressed with the result of the project. I had earlier that day given my sibling a copy of the new Montecito Journal semi-annual glossy edition that contains a terrific article about the history of Casa Dorinda written by Hattie Beresford, which inspired an after-dinner tour of the Casa Dorinda main house, a truly exceptional dessert treat.

According to my elder, the article was most accurate and entertaining. This, along with the other fine articles and interviews contained within, prompts me to give a thumbs up for your latest.

I look forward to the next issue.

Michael Edwards

Free People, Free Business

The issue is not freedom of speech or religion, but property rights. Property by definition is something that can be acquired, used, and/or disposed of. Part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, public accommodation should have been declared unconstitutional. Of course, it has been the law of the land since 1964, but only because the Supreme Court said so. However, the court often gives up on foolish consistencies such as slavery. A cake business is private property, and If I am fool enough to refuse to sell to someone because of race, gender, or whatever, that should be my right. Otherwise, the government is taking from us the right to use our property the way we want.

Free people will quickly punish businesses that engage in racist or bigoted behavior. If a gay couple wants to build an apartment complex and only rent to other gay couples, that should be their right. Yes, we have a right to be a racist or bigot in our private lives. For a very long time, our government has been little by little eating away at our Constitution, and if we do not stop its encroachment, it will consume us.

There are not many among us so stupid as to destroy our businesses by being bigots. Private property is the foundation of liberty, and if our government wants to take it or part of it, let it follow the last clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” Our past history of racism was based on government laws supporting slavery and later Jim Crow laws, and looking the other way when private organizations such as the KKK violated laws against violence. Affirmative Action is another example of government racism, favoring one group over another based on race or gender. Government must leave us ordinary people alone!

Bob Reingold

They Call Santa Barbara Streets “Home”

Regarding the recent letter about the homeless on State Street “Down on Downtown”, MJ #23/47). I thought your reply dismissed her point, and it’s been my experience that I side with her.

I live a half-block from the 7-Eleven at Castillo and Montecito streets. It’s a haven for homeless, hobos, street people, and campers. The last two I know well, since they live here. Not in homes like you, or apartments like me, but they do live here like we do.

On Thanksgiving Day before sunrise, when I walked over to 7-Eleven for coffee, I thought they might have put out some fake snow, but no, a deranged homeless guy busted out all three windows. The manager told me she watched the video and recognized him as a regular. These people are not homeless, State Street is their home.

Dan Seibert
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: It really is sad to see so many down-and-outers wandering aimlessly up and down State Street and elsewhere, but they’re the smart ones. They’ve moved to a city with one of the most pleasant climates in the country and a reasonably welcoming citizenry. The first time I visited Paris (too many years ago), I was struck by the number of poorly clad residents who migrated to the banks of the Seine with their blankets and belongings as night fell. Their sad state, however, took nothing away from the romance and beauty of the City of Light. I don’t mean to be callous and do wish there were a way of helping Santa Barbara’s homeless, but politics seems to have gotten in the way of true charity and real solutions; until that situation rights itself, we will just have to become accustomed to this – borrowing a phrase from Governor Brown concerning California wildfires – as “the new normal.” In the meantime, Santa Barbara has its delights, with or without the homeless. – J.B.)

Ray Winn Responds

First, to Mr. Justin M. Ruhge (“Breaking the Climate Deadlock,” MJ #23/49): My failure to talk about population in my weather series was not by inadvertent omission, but was a conscious act… fearing the repercussions of possibly being called racist, “Hitler-like”, mass murderer, or some other nonsensical name by a far-leaning group. I really wanted to get across some of the basic scientific factors… and some opinions… rather than deal with social issues.

Having come from a nuclear background, I agree that if we start switching from hydrocarbon-based energy supplies, the only “heavy hitter” for the future is nuclear. Nuclear has come a long way from the reactors of old and the new types are inherently safe… and run 24 hours a day, rain or shine, and even if there is no wind. And they don’t muck up the countryside as much as miles of solar panels, and forests of windmills – about half of which don’t operate at any given time. The new French reactor types are especially efficient and very safe. The plus side is that there is a huge natural supply of fissile materials available. In terms of energy, about 30 billion times more than fossil. There is a pollution aspect as to spent nuclear material, but some breeder type reactors make almost as much fuel as they consume. 

Building millions of tons of batteries to store electricity generated at the whim of wind or sunshine seems illogical, at least from a value-added engineering sense. The ecological mess created after the end-of-life of all those millions of tons of batteries, either by replacement or recycling, will make nuclear fuel containment look like a Sunday picnic. Pardon the cliché. Currently, as a place marker, the carbon footprint of building the battery for a Tesla is almost identical to the carbon footprint of the gasoline it takes to drive a mid-size vehicle about 65,000 to 75,000 miles.

Thanks for your thoughtful input.

To Kathi King

Thank you for your scientific and insightful comments (“Believe it Or Not,” MJ #23/48) on my series on the weather. I really don’t know what 97% of all climate scientists you are talking about. Certainly, 100% of all the “scientists” at the UN who receive very large sums of money for marching to the tune of the UN agree. I know three of them at the UN. One has a degree in philosophy, one claims to have a degree in “social science” – whatever that is or worth. Another has a degree in accounting. All three pillars of the scientific endeavor were also “scientific” signatories to the letter of which you speak. The accountant, by the way, is a world-renowned NYC Uber driver. I’m told he has a winning personality.

Certainly, all of the “scientists” who are paid large fees for coming up with data to support preconceived notions on the subject by their patrons agree. However, to put it in perspective, I was approached by the very group of which you speak to add my name to the list. If they think that I am an expert on climate, I have a bridge I would like to sell you them. The fact that they ask me to sign is a joke. The signatories are mostly liberal university types with little true knowledge other than what is taught by their professors, who many times get money in exchange for thought, and about half are undergraduate lackeys.

There are, of course, some heavy hitters. The American Physical Society gets gobs of money for toeing the line, and any member who does not… well, look what happened to Professor Lewis for just asking a question (“Hockey Stick Rebuttal,” MJ  #23/48). Can’t have people asking questions, can we? 

If you read my article(s), I said from the outset that the climate is changing… who in their right mind would not agree to that, as that is hardly an earth-shattering pronouncement? It has and will continue to change for all time and eternity long after both of us are gone. It has been much warmer on Earth, and much, much colder and that is not going to change. How much is caused by people… I don’t really know and doubt if you do either. If you do, then you are much smarter than I will ever be.

I did not suggest that we “cling” to fossil fuel. It is just that I don’t believe all the happy fairy tales coming from people who are ignorant of the science and base their thoughts like a bunch of lemmings on the latest Hollywood claptrap or Al Gore’s latest money-making scheme. I ask of you, just follow the money.

As far as Ian Plimer’s book not being peer reviewed, it depends on who you call a peer. His two greatest critics routinely publish junk science for money – lots of it from George Soros and that crowd. I will stick with Ian and ex-UCSB professor Dr. Harold Lewis, who was so eloquently quoted by Paul O’Keefe in the same issue as your comments, rather than child educators with only a cursory knowledge of science, trash blogs, and of all organizations like the UN. By the way, Dr. Lewis had a 95% approval by his students at UCSB, not 33%.

 I knew Lewis, and he was the penultimate scientist who would not bend scientific fact for money, fame, or anything else. I ran an environmental group of about 200 scientists, and he gave me his time and energy without looking for anything in return. He gave up an important part of his life and career to defend his principles. That is truly a rare thing of beauty and notably unknown these days. I humbly ask, would you do the same?

To Paul O’Keefe

Thank you for the truly memorable review of part of Dr. Lewis’s career, and an insight as to what is missing in today’s science: honesty, scientific integrity, and honor! I knew Professor Lewis as a young neophyte when I ran an environmental group of about 200 climate scientists and physicists for my former employer EG&G. We had an office in Santa Barbara, although my environmental group was based in Woods Hole, Denver, and Las Vegas.

Professor Lewis was a constant source of information and was more than giving to me and my staff of his deep knowledge of atmospheric science and of the subtle nuances of the subject. I also served with him for a short period of time – in 1966 if my memory serves me – on the Atomic Energy Reactor Safety committee as a non-government consultant for EG&G. I thank you for bringing the awful treatment of him by the APS (American Physical Society) to light. This, plus many other sins by the APS, have served to lower the respect of many in the serious scientific community.

All too often, scientific evidence is traded on an open exchange for money and power. Sad to see for such a formerly esteemed organization. Dr. Lewis, and James Killian, who was the first presidential science advisor, were both close friends of my boss, now-deceased MIT professor Harold Edgerton (the “E” In EG&G), and I had the pleasure of knowing all of them. We were doing measurements, as best we could in those days, of the upper atmospheric and ionospheric heating by charged particles and deep UV irradiance; particularly as it related to sunspot activity and geomagnetic variations and disturbances. 

Harold stood out as a giant among lesser souls.


You might also be interested in...