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Local opinion columnists

We face a taxing situation and must act

By From page A8 | April 07, 2012

They tell me all politics winds up being local. It’s true. The actions of politicians at every level wind up affecting us here locally in some way. Take spending and the resulting fees and taxes, for example.

In a little more than a week, on April 16, Californians will celebrate “Tax Freedom Day.” Only five states pay taxes greater than California. Make you proud? The Tax Freedom Day in Texas is nine days earlier. Any wonder that folks are moving there?

There are other undefined taxes we pay that the city and other government organizations call rate adjustments. Like the proposed 4 percent automatic adjustment in water rates here in Fairfield. They don’t need the money now but at some point they think they will. Of course all Fairfield water ratepayers have so much extra money they can afford to advance some of it to the city for some future project.

Kudos to the Fairfield City Council. We should send them our thanks for recognizing our pain and refusing to go along with the staff’s “business as usual” proposal. Find a way to let them know you appreciate their courage. It will make a difference next time as well.

Sir Winston Churchill said, “We contend for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself by the handle.” Isn’t that what we’re doing here in America and in California? I think they have us standing in a bucket and the bucket doesn’t even have a handle. Call it what you like, taxes, debt or rate adjustments. All are taxes in some form. Usually not honestly represented. And governments are not above stealing to make themselves look better (they can never make themselves look good.)

Here is some awful truth: Government debt is nothing more than deferred taxes plus interest. Someone is going to have to pay, one way or another. What are the options and consequences? Greater taxes and higher interest paid over the lifetimes of our children?

With our national debt, we are fast approaching the point where it may be impossible for us to pay it off, or even pay the interest. The only solution then would be the Zimbabwe solution: Allow hyperinflation to reduce the purchasing power of the dollar so that we pay off our debts with money worth pennies on the current dollar, or less. It’s beginning to happen right now. That may sound attractive in some ways until we see how it would affect you and me. Social Security and Medicare are major debt holders (not by choice). If we wind up with a currency worth one cent on the current dollar, the value of the debt used to pay benefits is reduced by 99 percent. The value of payments would be reduced by 99 percent if the government could still make payments.

Most government pension plans are what is called defined benefit. That is, after a specified period of service you are promised a certain dollar amount in pension benefits. With hyperinflation, you would still get your benefits but might have trouble having enough money to buy a loaf of bread with your monthly check.

Exaggerating? It happened in Zimbabwe with an inflation rate of 11.2 million percent. They still do not have a currency of their own. That’s where we’re headed. Money won’t be worth anything so we will be forced into a barter system. Every day I receive emails telling me what items I should hoard in order to survive. Some folks are thinking ahead.

Have you noticed that the Federal Reserve has reduced interest rates to almost nothing? The interest you have been counting on to supplement your pension is no longer there. You have to spend your principal instead. Will your $100,000 nest egg one day buy a $1,000 worth of goods? It is happening now. We are headed that way.

People in government at the federal level continue to talk out of both sides of their mouths. They talk about creating jobs, but their policies have the opposite effect. Regulations most believe are unnecessary are stifling the economy. Their solutions to problems are far worse than the effects of the problems themselves, even if the problems were real.

Our local representatives recently held a series of town hall meetings where they offered encouraging words about jobs. Just words, nothing else. The truth is our congressional representatives and senators have only added to our problems by accelerating the parasite welfare and illegal immigrant spending while they jawbone about jobs. We are represented by people who it seems have gone to Washington to leave fundamental problems unsolved and to spend our way into bankruptcy.

It is also true of our representatives in Sacramento. They are not above taking money from the helpless and the cities in order to avoid facing their problem of personnel bloat.

So what can we do about it? The first step, a prerequisite to everything else, is to stand up and defend ourselves. That’s not an easy thing to do. For some of us it has been so long since we even have paid attention, we hardly know where to start. Start by learning how to say, “No,” to the politicians. We can’t change things with a “do nothing” attitude.

One thing is certain: We can’t solve our problems with our current “do nothing” representatives in Washington. We can’t do anything with the “protect the establishment” Assembly members and state senators in Sacramento. We have to find people who have common sense, will stop spending our money foolishly and who will protect our interests.

Lots of luck, you say? It has nothing to do with the Democrat or Republican parties. It does have to do with the values of each representative. We can’t be blinded to the truth by our own partisanship. If partisanship wins, we lose.

It is up to us. We can let it happen, or we can say “Stop! No more debt.” And we can find people who will represent our interests rather than their selfish interests or the interests of their parties.¬†What do you think?

Murray Bass can be reached at 427-0744 or [email protected]

Murray Bass


Discussion | 27 comments

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  • GeorgeApril 07, 2012 - 8:08 am

    Murray... I am not sure what you are talking about. The rich people of our country are doing fine. They have a greater percentage of all wealth then they have ever had. The top 400 people are worth $1,600,000,000,000 dollars...more then the bottom 150 million combined. They took 93% of all income gains the last few years and they are paying the lowest percentage of taxes they have paid in a long. Things are fine and you should stop complaining.

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  • murray bassApril 07, 2012 - 10:55 am

    This is my fourth effort to respond to you, George. You are either one of the 400 richest sople in America or Congressman George Miller. In either event, yu have no idea of what the other 300 million american citizens are going through or what their offspring will be facing. You should have read the whole article instead of just the headline.

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  • SavetheRepublicApril 07, 2012 - 11:17 am

    Good job, Murray Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts. I greatly admire your words.

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  • murray bassApril 07, 2012 - 11:30 am

    STR Thanks. You do well with words and comparisons. I just went over your shellacing of Mike on his to be column. Covered him up very well. Yes, vote for Ron Paul. I'll have a new post on Patriot Post Monday, Tell me what you think.

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  • SavetheRepublicApril 07, 2012 - 11:36 am

    But I do agree with Mike on many issues. I do not feel that people can "win hearts and minds" by insulting the other person with differing views. On any issue it is rare that one side is either totally right or totally wrong. Any one that has the guts to stand for something deserves some appreciation.

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  • SavetheRepublicApril 07, 2012 - 11:37 am

    Again my positon is that both sides Dem and Rep have been corrupted.

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  • murray bassApril 07, 2012 - 1:51 pm

    I, too, agree with Mike on some things. And I have given up partisanship for just being an American. It's amazing how that has clearred the air for me.What mike does is lose his credibility across the board by his extreme anti Republican postures. Thundershowers? It's those darned Republicans. Sun Spots Same. You get to the point that ytou feel you can't tbelieve anything. Andmore important, don't want to try to seperate the wheat from the bull. Too bad. If he didn't have such a bad case of Republicus Erectus, he could be a real contributor.

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  • mike kirchubelApril 07, 2012 - 2:36 pm

    Murray, please let me know if i say anything that's not true. I spend most of my time correcting errors that have been propagated over the years.

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  • murray bassApril 07, 2012 - 2:59 pm

    Mike, It isn't a question of what is true or not It's the blame game. and it dowsn't really matter whose fault it is. what we need now are solutions to problems that are destroying our nation. As STR says, both parties are corrupted. Both are cooperating to take us to financial Hell. Solutions can't be found in the policies or plans of either party. I don't want to hear aout what the Democrats did or the Republicans did. I want to know what we are going to do about it to get our Republic back . Being in the blame game is just getting in the way. A major distraction. Very few legislators or top bureaucrats respect ther oaths of office. Both parties . Fire 'em. What are the solutions you suggest?

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  • mike kirchubelApril 07, 2012 - 3:11 pm

    I gave you a copy of the book. If you read it, i have three simple solutions which will lower our annual expenses by $600 billion per year without causing any pain. I wrote a column on how we can cut $2. Trillion off our national debt in one day.

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  • Danny BuntinApril 07, 2012 - 3:23 pm

    "Regulations most believe are unnecessary are stifling the economy." I am assuming that you are saying that regulation is not the answer. Deregulation, is what put us in this mess. The "most believe", are the ones who want to regulate themselves, so they can run a muck and be out of dodge when the spit hits the fan.

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  • mike kirchubelApril 07, 2012 - 3:47 pm

    Bingo. I'm sure we can get rid of some regulations, but we need to keep corporations in check and only govt. Can do that. Anybody here ild enough to remember Love Canal or the recession of 2008?

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  • SavetheRepublicApril 07, 2012 - 4:19 pm

    Getting rid of Glass-Steagall is a good example of a regulation that should have been kept in place. http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/09/19/shattering-the-glass-steagall-act/

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  • murray bassApril 07, 2012 - 5:16 pm

    Mike, what haave you done to make those things hapen? And did you happen t mention Republicans in that column? Whose fault is it hat we aren't saving the $600billion and cutting th 2trilion (in one day? Truth is that there isn't anyone in either party who has the gonads to get us out of trouble. Yes, Glss-Steagal should have remained. Easy qualifying for mortagages folks couldn't afford helped to put us where we are. and we're doing it again. So what? Just what are we going to do now. I don't think it can happen with the people we have in Wahington now. Does that mean we have no hope? Vote for Ron Paul? He seems to be the only one interested in returning to enumerated powers, limited government fiscal responsibility and (relatively) free trade. Mike you can be the critic if that'sthe role you wish to play. I respect your decision to do that. I spend my time actively trying to promote solutions..Gotta do it. Naive and as unlikely as it is.

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  • SavetheRepublicApril 07, 2012 - 5:29 pm

    Bill Still who is running for the Libertarian nomination is also worth checking out. You tube "Bill Still" or "The Still Report" He is also very solution oriented.

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  • SavetheRepublicApril 07, 2012 - 5:35 pm

    Mr. Still could really use some money for his campaign right now. Even if he does not win, we need to "educate" and spread his ideas on solutions. So if anyone can contribute to the Bill Still campaign, please do so. http://still2012.com/pledge/

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  • Rick WoodApril 07, 2012 - 8:57 pm

    One correction: Water rates are not taxes. They are fees or charges for services. In many communities, private, profit-making companies, called investor-owned utilities (IOUs), provide and charge for water service. Would we call those charges taxes? No. Because they are not taxes, made obvious by a non-governmental entity providing the service. It's the same when the city provides the service, with one significant difference. By law, the city can't send any water utility revenue to the general fund. So the city, despite the risks it takes in owning and running the water utility, has nothing comparable to the profit an IOU may charge. The city does have financial exposure, however, if revenues are not adequate. It doesn't really make much sense, but that's the way it is, thanks, I believe, to government animus. Calling water rates taxes is just one sign of that. It's fair to criticize water rates, but it's not correct, or fair, to call them taxes.

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  • murray bassApril 08, 2012 - 6:35 am

    Rick, ,For a dozen years the City of Fairfield illegally transferred portions of water revenues to the General Fund_-someone calulated it to be about $25million in all. The Central Solano Citizen/Txpayer Group Called them on it and effectively stopped the practice. Essentially stole from the people. My feeling was that somebody should have gone to jail, But, my point now is that the motives of the City are legitimately suspect because of their history. Feeshis that are not used are in efffedt taxes.. As you can tell, I am still PO'ed . . But that issue was settled. you are correct. those fees can't be used for General fund [urposes. But , if they go into soe sort of Water Departm,ent Slush Fund. the people can't use their wn money either.. How are you. Hope al is well with you.

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  • Rick WoodApril 08, 2012 - 1:23 pm

    I'm getting by Murray. Thanks for asking. I hope you're doing so as well. That's right, I'm talking about now. Since the state supreme court finally clarified what the law requires (specifically, Prop 218 of 1996), no city or county can divert utility money to it's general fund. It was disputed for years because Prop 218 was not clearly drafted. The court did not require any funds to be returned. I didn't see the practice as objectionable as long as the transfers were limited and reasonable; it was comparable to profits a private business would be allowed--taking risk entitles an owner to profit. I thought Fairfield met that standard. Now cities and counties are left with the risk but no return. That's what doesn't make sense to me. You may not recall that when the law was settled, Fairfield not only stopped the practice, but it also lowered its water rates by an amount equal to the transfer, so there is no "Slush Fund." The rate reduction was something like 12%, if I recall correctly, and resulted in a loss of $3 million to the general fund. Back to now: Loss of the previously planned rate increase this year will either require a larger increase later or a cut in something, probably planned system improvements. It's the Council's choice, but it's not without consequences.

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  • murray bassApril 08, 2012 - 9:40 am

    Mike, you are the acknowledged expert on banking. I don't want to be, 409 pages of research leads up to The Cure. That should be your message over and over again. Along with how we can accomplish the cure. What will it take in terms of changes in peole and policy and how do we make those changes. We clearly cannot do it wth the people and partisanship we now have. That is one of the reasopns I feel you diminissh your message with your partisanship. Go for the solutins and get rid of anyone, Republican or Democrat or Independent who is in the way. Easier said than done. My advice. Don't cover yur message with dung that doesn't really matter. Hope you are having a happy Easter

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  • murray bassApril 08, 2012 - 1:43 pm

    Hi Rick. thanks for the response. I wasn't confused with the langusge of Prop 218. Semed pretty plain to me. You are riught, that is in the past.. What it binlsdown to is one's perspective. . All things considered, we are doing pretty wel. Enjoying Easter and the interaction with friends and neighbors.. Tough days ahead. We will all need to be prepared. Take care. MB

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  • Rick WoodApril 08, 2012 - 5:55 pm

    I hope you felt the love today, sir. I did. It was good. Tough days ahead, indeed. I look forward to more discussions with serious, caring people about what we want our city to do, what it should cost, and how we pay for it. It's almost like we have to rebuild from scratch.

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  • SavetheRepublicApril 08, 2012 - 4:40 pm


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  • SavetheRepublicApril 08, 2012 - 4:47 pm


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  • SavetheRepublicApril 08, 2012 - 4:49 pm

    We should all "still" fight the good fight and resist, but the more I look at the world, I think everyone should read Revelation in the Bible and prepare for the tribulation.

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  • SavetheRepublicApril 08, 2012 - 5:06 pm

    Murray, I am supposed to be the one with the "split" personality. Sometimes I have trouble believing that you are the same person, all the time. I read many of your columns and they are gentle, touching and moving. Then I read some of your posts and I think is this the same person? You are doing the same thing you accuse Mike of, basically obscuring your message when you use language that is unnecessarily harsh, or puts a bad picture in people's minds like "d ng". You are better than that, we can all be so much better than that. I get when people do not believe what I am trying to tell them and occasionally break down from frustration (although sometimes my intent is just to be amusing). So I am working on the same issue. And keep in mind that I am just plain weird. Thank you for your intelligent message that we must concentrate on solutions. That is very good advice. That the partisanship must end, we have to work together. As I have said before it is dangerous to tell the truth. It can get you put on various government, corporate and private hit lists, so sometimes it is best to somewhat couch your message. You have to provide enough supporting evidence to get people to believe you and to motivate them to take action, You have to provide historical context. I admire that you are a seasoned citizen and still such a contributor. This is to be envied and appreciated by us all, a challenge to us all. Thank you Senior is Spicy ?????? and I like Mike !!!!

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  • murray bassApril 10, 2012 - 8:24 am

    STR I work in two diffferent environments. The Weekly column is addressed to Seniors and i am usually trying to get them to share their exerience. In the process I frequently share mine. I am basicacally a lover__ a person who cares about the people around me and in the world for that matter. . In the other environment, I am still myself but who I love is my country and I dislike or despise those who threaten her. I am in this circumstance and angry lover. I belive in this role it is totaly ineffetive to be sweet. You have to tell it the way it is no holds barred. Otherwise you are ignored. I don;t know what your experience iss , but that is mine.. The scope of your interests and knowledge__plus a biig sering of common sense has impressed me. and convinced me that you in many ways shae my concerns and anger. And feel the need to do more than criticize or blame. Solve the problem Solve the problem.Solve the problem. That is my recuring message.Thanks for the feedback. I will try t be more civil in my articles. And I think I may let the articles stand on their own merit. Usually comments of others dont address the basic theme anyway. What do you think>

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