I’m a concerned Nashvillian getting my education in hell, (ahem) I mean, Memphis. But, I’ve been an avid reader of the Scene for about two years now, and the one thing missing from this wonderful magazine is diversity.... Hello! Hello! Are there any minorities who live in Nashville? Hmm.... There are a couple. [The way] you guys tell it, the only minorities who live in Nashville either can’t speak English or live on Trinity Lane killing themselves and “Coming Together” to litter the park. Don’t get me wrong: I like the Scene, but it could be [made] better by putting a little more diversity in its content.... Hey, at least you guys aren’t as bad as the Memphis Flyer, which totally ignores the majority of the city of Memphis.
Now tackle taxes
Thanks for your review of The Tennessean. Thankfully, it’s over and done. I knew it was no longer a serious paper when the top of the Sunday front page was taken up with a Mayberry RFD convention a few years back. Further evidence came when someone called to ask me to subscribe; when I refused, she told me the main benefit of a subscription: You get more coupons. Nice.
Now that it’s over, how about turning your spyglass to the state’s revenue/spending “crisis.” I keep hearing arguments on each side of the issue, but they tend to be just arguments. Chants like “We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem,” don’t tell me much beyond the agenda of the speaker. What are the facts?
I noticed your recent editorial (“In Support of Bob and Tom,” May 24) seemed to support an income tax (or at least the sponsors). I’m assuming you’ve reviewed the data and concluded we really do have a revenue shortfall, and one that cannot be fixed by reducing spending. Care to elaborate?
Dave Pelton’s statement (Letters, May 31) regarding our current tax structure, “The more we play, the more we pay,” puzzles me. Sales tax is 8.25 cents on most every dollar spent. Buying things like bread and diapers is “playing”? These are necessities. It’s appalling when families who spend most of their incomes to survive pay a higher proportion in taxes than those whose incomes let them save or invest. This is regressive. It’s also an unpredictable revenue source, considering that many Tennessee counties border states with lower sales taxes.
Characterizing an income tax as “work more, pay more” is highly subjective. Many people work hard at miminum wage jobs. Are wealthier people working “more”? A day has 24 hours, whether you’re a Wal-Mart associate or a downtown attorney. One can certainly oppose an income tax, but let’s be clear on what is taxedhow much you make, not how much you work.
I don’t look forward to higher taxes. But I don’t want Tennessee to fall further behind other states in basic quality-of-life measures. If we have to pay more for Cheerios to stay solvent, we will lose another opportunity to bring fairness to our tax code and a steady revenue source to Tennessee. And we will put a heavier burden on working families, who might end up paying less under an income tax than they are paying now.
Learning from history
Right on, comrade Barry! Power to the people! I think that Mr. Barry’s “Passing the Buck” (May 24) would be worth $9.40 an hour for the time he spent on it. Quote: “The result is a pay structure that forces low-wage workers to earn submarket wages for as long as four years....” In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, freedom equals slavery. Anyone in this country is free to take the best job they are qualified for, take the skills learned there, and market them for more.
I really have a problem with his whole premise. When I contract a remodeling job, I don’t go to the customer’s house with a list of my problems, “truck needs brakes, wife wants a sofa, kids need shoes, and I could use a vacation.” The price is based on the services I can provide to them and governed by what others would be willing to do the same work for.
Mr. Barry’s method has been triedin the [former] Soviet Union. “Let the government run the economy” led to collapse.
Patricia L. Gunter
Bill Carey, who knows more about Nashville’s business history than any other working journalist, begins work at the Scene this week. Author of the recent Fortunes, Fiddles & Fried Chicken, Carey will concentrate on breaking business news from Nashville, but given that he’s covered a variety of beats for The Tennessean and other local publications, we expect he’ll ramble far afield. This week, he offers readers dispatches from the Legislature.
He is so Cute......Thanks for the reading material....
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