Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
Vote for medical marijuana
The official policy of the U.S. government regarding marijuana is that it has no acceptable medical use. However, in 2003 the U.S. Patent Office issued patent No. 6,630,507 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a compound that extols the use of cannabinoids for a wide variety of medical uses including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, stroke, autoimmune diseases, and HIV dementia. The patent also identifies powerful antioxidant properties in this compound. Researchers in Europe and Canada have recently published results of tests using this compound (CBD) to cure cancer of the prostate, breast and brain.
Since the U.S. government holds the patent on this compound and U.S. policy is that marijuana has no medical benefit, it is extremely difficult even for researchers to obtain it for testing.
The formula for the compound is public information in the patent and individuals can make it themselves, providing they do not market or distribute it.
Please join me in voting for the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act on Nov. 6. If this law passes, individuals in Arkansas can join the residents of 17 other states in being able to legally obtain medical marijuana and formulate this compound for themselves or their loved ones who may be suffering from a vast number of debilitating or deadly diseases.
Dr. Thomas Douglas
I am following the situation with Lt. Gov. Mark Darr's failure to make four payments on his home loans with a great deal of amazement. How does one not know he has missed four home loan payments? How does someone who makes only $42,219 afford to live in a home worth $275,800? Here is a message for Mr. Darr: If your credits do not exceed your debits, your asset's in the street.
The 47 percent
Mitt Romney's comments at the May fundraiser were inaccurate or misleading in so many ways that the mind boggles.
He was correct only in saying that 47 percent of households pay no federal income taxes. His claim that those folks are dependent on government, believe they are victims, and believe they are entitled to health care, housing, and food was grotesquely misleading, as has been pointed out in the responsible press. Twenty-two percent of the 47 percent are elderly folks drawing Social Security retirement benefits to which they contributed. Social Security recipients who earn sufficient income from other sources will pay taxes on their income and their Social Security benefits, but the elderly Romney disdained are those who have no other income or very little and live primarily or solely on Social Security. Shame on you, Gov. Romney. Another 61 percent of those who paid no federal income taxes were working folks who paid payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare. Those payroll taxes were 15.3 percent of their income, a higher percentage of their income than the 13.9 percent Gov. Romney paid in the two years for which we have returns that show he paid taxes. The others who did not pay federal income taxes are largely unemployed.
What Gov. Romney intended to convey was his contempt for the poor and to claim that his supporters are the good folks who work hard and pay taxes. What is insane about his comment that the 47 percent are folks who will never support him is that many of them do, as is obvious when we know who those 47 percent are. He certainly has support among retirees and also among the middle-income folks who pay no federal taxes.
So how did it happen that so many people do not pay federal income taxes? Surprisingly to some but not to anyone who has paid attention the last 40 years, tax cuts begun under Republican presidents are the cause. The Earned Income Tax Credit, begun in 1975 when Ford was president and expanded significantly in 1986 under Reagan and again in 1993 under Clinton, provides a tax credit for working people that increases if they have dependent children. The credit can serve to offset taxpayers' tax liability or even provide for a payment to the taxpayers, akin to the negative income tax advocated for years by liberals. The bigger driver is the child tax credit enacted in 2001 as part of the Bush tax cuts and expanded in 2003. The credit does phase out for payers with incomes above $75,000 or $110,000 under different conditions, but it is arguable that it provides a benefit to folks near those limits who do not need it. It is inarguable that it has served to increase dramatically the number of folks who do not pay federal income taxes. Romney should be complaining about Ford and Reagan and Bush.
The country should discuss taxes. My preference is to increase the taxes paid by those who can best afford to pay, which would include my family. But Romney does not want a serious discussion. He wants to divide and demean.
What a contrast there is between Romney's comments and Franklin Roosevelt's articulation in his 1941 State of the Union address of the Four Freedoms — freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear, which inspired Eleanor Roosevelt to get those freedoms incorporated in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
Of course, as the economy continues to recover from the Bush recession and folks' income rises, the percentage of working folks not paying federal income taxes will rise. The counter-cyclical support of folks during bad times pays dividends when times are good. The 1940 Census is now available, and in it I found personal proof of that belief. My parents' families struggled during the Depression, and although they did not receive direct benefits from the New Deal, they benefited from what it did for the country, so that I was reared to revere FDR. And in the 1940 Census my grandfathers were able to report that they had had a full year of work in 1939, and one of them even got 10 hours of overtime in the week in 1940 when the Census taker came calling.
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