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Letters to the Editor

True socialist countries pay much more in taxes than the US currently does

Ms. Delamare, Thank you for your recent letter in the PV Times (June 4, 2021 ) in reply to Mr. Stevens’ earlier letter in which he seemed to attempt to explain the apparent advantages of “democratic socialism” (not “true” socialism). I did a little research, and this is what I learned about various countries that espouse the democratic socialist form of government.

Vermont is one of the bluest states in the nation, exemplified by our junior senator, who proudly characterizes himself as a “democratic socialist”.

I doubt that young people, or even Sen. Sanders, support” true socialism, with the government owning most of the key industries in the economy. Most of the world has moved away from that concept, and not just the countries that used to be behind the Iron Curtain. Over the last three decades, privatization, deregulation and market reforms have been the order of the day in Western Europe, Latin America and Asia, with a few exceptions.

Vermont’s Progressive Party, and many young people who claim to support socialism, most likely think of the “democratic socialism” of the Nordic countries. That is, a government that does not own the productive resources in an economy, but one that provides a strong safety net for the poor and generous social benefits for the middle class.

Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and other northern European nations do provide more social and economic benefits to their citizens than the U.S. does. Free child care, paid parental leave for mothers and fathers, extended sick leave, generous unemployment benefits, shorter work hours and longer vacations , universal health care, free college tuition, higher retirement benefits than in the U.S., and the list goes on and on.

So just how do those countries pay for all those benefits?

Start with “Consumption Taxes.” Most European countries don’t levy sales taxes, but they do have National “Value Added Taxes” which are similar to sales taxes but are less transparent. In the Nordic countries they average a little over 20 percent, three times Vermont’s sales tax..

Denmark has a 100 percent tax on cars, which means a $30,000 Toyota Camry costs $60,000. Filling up the car is expensive, with Nordic gasoline taxes over $3.00 per gallon putting gas prices at $7-plus per gallon.

The most important source of funds to pay for these “free” benefits is by taxing everyone’s income – a lot. In the U.S., the average family faces about a 15 percent income tax rate while in the Nordic countries income taxes are twice that.

The highest U.S. income tax rate is about 40 percent, and you have to earn about eight times the average salary, or about $500,000 to pay that much while the income tax rates are 47 percent in Norway, 56 percent in Denmark, and 60 percent in Sweden, and those rates are for families earning about one and a half times the median family income. That means a family earning about $80,000 pays a tax rate higher than a U.S. family earning a half million dollars.

Essentially, income taxes are about half your income if you earn around an average income. Tax rates that high and paid by a lot of families bring in a lot of money.

Basically, everyone gets generous benefits, and everyone pays for them. The Nordic countries have learned that the Social Welfare State that we think of when we think of “democratic socialism” can only be funded by a growing, competitive economy because there just isn’t enough money in taxes to support those benefits by only taxing corporations, or the rich. Trying to squeeze that amount of taxes from those groups will inflict long-term damage to the economy.

Could the U.S. adopt the Nordic model? Perhaps, but it’s worth remembering that small, homogenous countries are different from large, heterogeneous ones like the U.S. The Nordic countries are small — Sweden has only 10 million people, and Norway and Denmark half that. And they are old societies where people have a lot more trust in each other and in the government than we do here in the U.S.

Politicians and others who envy the benefits people in those countries receive should remember that the benefits of democratic socialism have a cost, and that cost is borne by everyone, not just the rich.

And then I found this letter from (a)Mr. Frank Cullen: “I just returned from two weeks in the Scandinavian countries, which the democratic socialists (and my adult children) tout as the role model of how the United States should run things — the ‘free’ health care, free higher education, longer vacations, higher retirement , etc.

“In every country, I asked locals what they paid in taxes. Our German college student tour guide: 60 percent tax. Also, Germany had a 19 percent sales tax. Our taxi driver in Copenhagen: 60 percent, and also when he bought his taxi, he paid a sales tax of 180 percent of the car’s sale price. (That is not a misprint). In Stockholm, our bartender: 40 percent income tax with a minimum tax rate of 30 percent for what our bartender called the ‘low income workers.’

“When cornered, our democratic socialists never admit that taxes will have to go up for everyone to pay for their programs, not just on the rich. But they never say how much. Now that I’ve been there, I know how much. I hope my kids, and my bartender son-in-law, are ready for a cut in their lifestyle when they have to pay these taxes instead of the minimal taxes they pay now.”

Frank Cullen St. Simons Island

So I ask you, Mr. Stevens: In what world does this “democratic socialism” form of government make sense or sound better than what we have now?

Ray Waldhauser

United States is both a democracy AND a republic

I beg to differ with Ms. Delamare: our county IS a democracy! The United States is BOTH a democracy and a republic. You can say we are a republic, and you can say we are a democracy – both are correct. As a democracy we elect our government officials, and we vote on issues – that’s democracy. Perhaps you just do not like anything resembling “democrat” but prefer it if it sounds more “republican.” So, please do not lecture me on which one we are when you clearly stated, “The U.S. is not a democracy.” Wrong, totally wrong, again.

If you had further read my letter, you would have seen where I explained more about democratic socialism than you claimed I said. You seem to have overlooked me saying that “Democratic socialists also believe in a strong democracy and are against authoritarian government systems…” and “Democratic socialists do not want to create an all-powerful government bureaucracy. But we do not want big corporate bureaucracies to control our society either.” Does that help you understand the differences from socialism? Probably not since you insist on omitting or twisting my words – a typical tactic of Trumpers who are afraid of the truth and continue to believe the Big Lie.

Good for you that you get Social Security and Medicare because it is a “distribution” of the money you’ve paid into them. But that’s only part of the story and it is inaccurate. Your contributions to SS while you worked are NOT set aside just for you. That money is put into a big pot for many to draw from regardless of how much they put into the pot. Once your SS payments equal what you put in, your SS does not stop. In fact, The Urban Institute, a non-partisan research institute, and AARP both state that we get more back from Social Security than we paid in (unless we die early into your retirement). SS is NOT a distribution of YOUR payments into SS that is just for you. OMG I cannot believe I am having to point this out. I thought everyone knew this. Did you even know that at a certain income level in a year, SS stops being taken from peoples’ paycheck for the rest of that year? And those are the richer people out there, yet they will get to draw from SS for their entire life after 62/65. Please read up on how Social Security works as your explanation it completely wrong. This is a typical example of not doing the simple research and thus to avoid the truth.

You made a very, biased statement when you say the poor do not pay taxes. If they have a job, they pay taxes. And just because they have a job, they are not taken out of the “poor” category. Many poor people work but do not make a living wage. In fact, illegal immigrants pay taxes too. Research backed by the nonpartisan congressional Budget Office indicates that between 50% and 75% of unauthorized immigrants pay federal, state, and local taxes. Illegal immigrants are estimated to pay about $7 billion per year into SS yet most are never able to collect SS payments. You could not be more uneducated to not know how SS works or the role of the poor and immigrants in funding our government. So, now I have answered your question on why the poor can benefit from tax cuts.

I am glad you were able to help out your sons – although it was the government who helped when they issued you a Covid check and the ones your sons also got. Government handouts is what they got and one that you clearly did not need – but you took it anyhow, didn’t you? Do not tell me or others that democratic socialism is not is helping people in this country. And, by the way, my daughter donated her check to a charity to help the less fortunate in this country – she didn’t need it either.

“Hard-headed conservatives” do NOT believe in “helping other who are hungry, unwell or otherwise in need.” If they did then why would the Republican Party, in 2017 (as one of many examples), submit a budget which included these cuts:

• $2 trillion from Medicaid

• $887 billion from discretionary funding, putting a broad array of programs serving low-income populations such as housing assistance, WIC, job training, and others at risk of deep funding cuts.

• $185 billion from federal college aid for low-income students

• $157 billion from the SNAP (food stamps) program

• $0.6 trillion from other programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, child nutrition, Supplemental Security Income for the aged and disabled, Unemployment Insurance, refundable tax credits for low-income workers, and child care.

You have no clue what you are talking about and how to characterize the Republican party. There are more examples of cuts in programs for the poor, programs for veterans and other needy people but they would take several issues of the PVTs to list them. Your, and many other Republicans’ ignorance of reality and the belief in the spoon-fed rhetoric of Faux news is destroying the values not only of this county but of the Republican Party. A party imploding before our eyes. To that I say “hurrah” as this party is not the Republican party you grew up with. It is the party of Trump: a scam artist, conman, liar, cheater, and quite frankly, a totally uneducated man – just like his followers. I will rejoice in the day he is hauled off to prison. And I will rejoice of the return of the GOP as it was.

I am tired of trying to get the truth out to people who could not care less about the truth and only want to hear what works for them (via Trump and Faux) – even if it is a lie. And, yes, Biden won fair and square. If you do not believe that then you do not believe in our Constitution and our democratic country – you believe in and have been brainwashed by the Cult of Trump.

CJ Stevens

Liberalism’s roots go back to founding of country

Anyone paying attention knows definitions of words, terms, and statements have changed at times and still do today. For example, the word liberal in its original meaning and still for the most part in Europe is not the same as it has been used in the U.S. from about the 1930s until today.

Up until about the turn of the 20th century most of our founding fathers were considered “liberal”, then people like Woodrow Wilson, Margret Sanger, and others adopted the word “progress” as a noun to identify themselves. Who could possibly be against progress?

The problem came when many of the progressive policies being enacted were rejected by most in the U.S., so about the 1930s, those with progressive ideas started calling themselves liberals and early on embraced many liberal ideas like the importance of freedom of speech, choice, and individual rights to some extent. Then for a while, an attempt was being made to label themselves as modern-day progressives, but that started fizzling when more people began learning about progressive policies on things like race.

So today we’ve moved into the “Woke” label and its parents’ theorists, race, gender, and etc. that are diametrically opposed to real liberalism. Where liberalism openly invites discussion, debate, individual thought, ideas, and rights, in the “woke” theoretical realm, no debate or opposition is allowed if even questioning ideas and beliefs of the woke, the perpetrator must be silenced and or destroyed. Even those who were at one time members or supporters of the chosen victims’ groups that do not tow the given line can be silenced or destroyed. And being a member of good standings in one of the preferred victim groups, with wealth, power, and fame gives you a leeway to say and do things that most others would find outrageous.

These attitudes may hopefully be only a temporary flash but much damage can be done while it’s active, particularly with state support, even on some level, and there is evidence of that. Joseph Goebbels said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it often enough people will eventually believe it. The lie can be maintained for only such time as the state can shield the people from political, economic, and military consequences of the lie. It becomes vitally important to suppress descent based on the truth, the mortal enemy of the lie and by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the state.”

The question is, are there more in power on the side of the lie or the truth?

David Jaronik

New bills could destroy our American way of life

Re Laura Martin of the Progressive Alliance of Nevada, don’t you find it amazing how the Democratic progressive’s left put such nice names to bills that want to destroy the American way of life? Ms. Martin politely states that the last election results have caused some policymakers to restrict voters from their ballots in certain communities. She goes on to say that other state governments are introducing bills that as she puts it, are harmful and racially biased policies. This could not be further from the truth.

Ms. Martin then states there is a pending bill, backed by Nevada Democrat progressive left Senators Masto and Rosen, named, “For the People Act.” Doesn’t that sound nice, something to protect the people. I have seen the ads on TV, which show the Democratic Socialist’s Senators Masto and Rosen touting this bill, HR-1. When listening to the ad when they say this, For the People Act, is to restrict money donations to politics and other misleading information. I thought, hey, that sounds so nice. But when you actually find what the bill is, you find it is not what it seems to be.

This bill, For the People Act, HR-1, would basically make voting ballots junk mail, mailed to any and everyone at all households. Take for instance Las Vegas, where trash cans were found full of voter ballots and boxes of ballots near apartment buildings. Ballots were mailed to all addresses regardless of who lives or does not live there. Then there are now dropboxes, where no one is watchful of them and open to any type of corruption. Mail-in ballots should be distributed to voters who cannot appear personally for a specific reason, they are called absentee voting ballots. These ballots should be time-sensitive so they can be counted by the end of Election Day. The winner should be known by the end of the day after election. The Democrat progressive left says this is somehow racist. The people who the progressives are referring to, who actually is anyone who is not white, should be terribly offended, as they make them out to be too stupid to know how to obtain a legal ID and register to vote. They also say that everyone has the right to vote. This is not true. Voting is a privilege as is driving and can be taken from you. It is incumbent upon each person if they wish to exercise their voting privilege, that they must first be a legal citizen of the U.S. and register to vote with proper identification. Then and only then, they may be part of the election process.

Other examples of bill name twisting are the Patriot Act. This bill did nothing more than make more layers of government ,adding more employees the taxpayers are paying for. It has also restricted certain banking operations, such as making bank accounts more restrictive, among other things. All this because of the nice sounding Patriot Act.

Now there is the new Infrastructure Bill. About 10% of the trillion or more they are asking for will actually go to bridges, roads, airports and harbors, which is what infrastructure is. The rest will go to social programs. They have given a new meaning to the word, infrastructure. We saw this with Governor Sisolak, as he linked a health crisis from Covid-19, to racism. This was nothing more than abusing his emergency powers to add more social programs. As our Congress comes up with new spending bills, they have not even spent all the billions from the last big spending bill. They have printed so much money they have to scramble for ways to be spent. This type of wasteful spending is just fine with our progressive Democrats, such as the Nevada senators.

America is being pummeled by many of the same entities such as Laura Martin’s, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada and it helps paves the way for the blueprint plan of Saul Alinsky and Cloward &Piven, to bring total chaos to America. Please do your own research and find where taxpayer dollars are wasted and fact-check these words.

Arnold Breitenbach

Firework enthusiasts, please follow rules, take care

Pahrump has fireworks stores who sell to anyone. Here in Nevada, firework sales are legal without the restrictions imposed by other cities and states. To keep others safe, the town of Pahrump created a fireworks launch pad that is open to the general public during various holiday weekends. All visitors who want to launch their own fireworks must have a special permit from one of the five fireworks stores: Area 51, Phantom Fireworks, Red Apple Fireworks, Black Jack Fireworks, or Outlaw Pyro. Launch permits are $5 each. The site is first-come, first-serve within a 30-minute limit. The site will be open to celebrate the Fourth of July on June 26-27 and then from July 1-4. No more than two participants can be at each site. All participants shooting off fireworks must be 18 or older. Residents are reminded that it is illegal for them to launch fireworks anywhere in the town of Pahrump with the exception of the Pahrump Fireworks Shoot Site. But even though residents can legally buy fireworks that are dangerous, it is illegal throughout Nevada to possess fireworks in schools, streets or sidewalks.

Residents do not follow this law. During holidays fireworks are exploding in every residential area of Pahrump. For instance for four nights during the last Fourth of July weekend fireworks boomed for hours in our neighborhood. A lot of these products scare our animals. My dog was terrified. She didn’t understand what was happening. She ran around in circles and quivered in my arms for hours. She didn’t even feel safe hiding in the closet. Even the cat who is normally quite mellow started howling because he couldn’t stand the boom.

So dear firework enthusiasts, please during the next few weeks be aware of these helpless animals. Keep fireworks out of neighborhoods and use them responsibly over at the launch site. Please remember that we are in the midst of an extreme drought and fire could destroy our town.

Firework displays should return over at the park and at the Nugget. So please enjoy your fireworks, but please stay safe and don’t be the cause of a fire or an injury. We are all here together and need to help each other by setting a good example.

Betty Cotner

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