THE WEEK IN COMMENTS: Class warfare, parking meters and gas prices

Sunday, October 2, 2011 | 8:31 p.m. CDT

Commenters flocked to J. Karl Miller’s article on the White House’s push to raise taxes on the rich and debated Miller’s claims of “class warfare” but also made suggestions about paying for parking downtown and offered their opinion on a hike on tobacco taxes. Here’s a select few of the best comments from last week.

J. KARL MILLER: Taxing the rich is not the solution

Comments: 109 / Commenters: 20

Columnist J. Karl Miller writes that the president’s push to raise taxes on the wealthy amounts to class warfare. Readers wondered if the tax burden is being fairly shared.

Derrick Fogle said the government should stop giving the richest Americans more money.

“I'm OK with slashing discretionary federal spending, and some non-discretionary spending as well. … It's the wealthiest 1% who capture 20-25% of all income that will see the biggest decline in their incomes and fortunes if federal spending is slashed. Turning the Pentagon into a triangle will knock these guys off their feet. Stopping Bernake's printing presses will absolutely kill them. If we can't soak 'em, let's hammer 'em instead.”

“If Mr. Buffett is so distraught over unfairness, he can probably google US Treasury and find the address to send them bigger checks,” commenter Tony Robertson wrote. “Or, re-route the charitable contributions, which reduced his taxable income, to the bureaucratic behemoth run by the HopeyChangey guy. Progressivism may appreciate his benevolence more than his demagoguery on their behalf. Naw, probably not.”

Michael Williams feels no sympathy for the middle class.

“The middle class did NOT purchase assets ... an asset is something that makes you money. Plasma TVs, a car you look good in, your home, leisure purchases, etc., are decidedly NOT assets. The middle class would have been so much better off if it had purchased assets ... so much so that I maintain that if it HAD purchased true assets, the disparity would not exist.

But, the middle class did not purchase assets. And now the piper is being paid.”

Downtown Parking Task Force explores parking technologies to maximize revenue

Comments: 9 / Commenters: 8

Columbia is looking for new ways to raise money from downtown parking. The Missourian asked our readers to tell us what they think Columbia should do.

“I think that Paymobile could work if used in conjunction with the current coin meters, especially if installation is paid for by the company. Not everyone carries a phone, so a multi-pay scheme would be a necessity,” commenter Ryan Macker wrote. “I've also used the EZ Park card before, and found it to be cheap and full of bugs. Sometimes the meters or pay machines don't let the card into the slot, and MU meters don't accept them. Not long ago, when trying to refund the time back to my EZ Park card, the meter froze up and I lost all the remaining value to the meter. Not so EZ then, is it? Then again, nor is finding a solution to downtown parking.”

Allison Seibel thinks the city should focus on taking advantage of new technology.

“I think the Pay by Phone option would be PHENOMENAL. Especially for students, I don't know anyone who has $5 worth of coins to put in meters while they're on campus for class, including myself. That would be so convenient and helpful...everywhere I look students have iPhones and so I think it would benefit a majority of the student body. It would save me a lot of money on parking tickets.”

BRAD CLEMONS: The perils of teaching seem more obvious every year

Comments: 8 / Commenters: 6

Columnist Brad Clemons suggested that teachers must “become one part bully and two parts cheerleader” in his most recent article. Readers discussed the merits of his views on education.

Derrick Fogel contested Clemons’ assertion that kids minds are covered in “Teflon.”

“Kid's brains are like sponges, they soak up almost everything. Except, of course, anything to do with anyone else's agenda. There, it's like an impenetrable force field. That exception includes 110% of anything that's presented in school. It seems like it should be easy to capitalize on children's natural curiosity, but in practice it's difficult. It's like a game of whack-a-mole, except your mallet is only allowed to move at half the speed the moles do.”

Allan Sharrock offered his advice on education.

“Some kids are self motivated and of course others must be motivated. I found that it was best to have a selection of things that meet the school learning objectives for the kids. Then the kids picked what they wanted to learn that was still a school objective. Then they have ownership. It also motivated other kids to learn the material faster so they could do the "cool" projects that the advanced kids were working on.”

Gas prices dip under $3, still higher than a year ago

Comments: 6 / Commenters: 3

Gas prices dipped below $3 a gallon last week. Readers criticized and praised President Barack Obama for the change in prices.

Corey Parks sarcastically thanked Obama for opening the Strategic Oil Reserve this summer.

“If you remember correctly back in June the President authorized the release of our Strategic Oil Reserves to help flood the market and lower the cost. … Genius I tell you. In reality though my belief is that the cost of crude is linked to supply and demand and a few X factors but when there is a world wide recession and less available money to the majority then less traveling and less fuel purchased. What good is a 140 dollar barrel of oil when people are not buying as much of it.”

“I will admit in hindsight that it was a good financial decision to sell a bit from the strategic reserve,” commenter Paul Allaire wrote. “It can be replenished at a lower rate with the government keeping the profit. If the reserve were larger and the advisers competent I would support doing that more often.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: Tobacco tax hike in Missouri should be an easy winner

Comments: 10 / Commenters: 9  

A St. Louis Post-Dispatch opinion piece reprinted by the Missourian argued that a tax hike on tobacco would be a slam dunk. Readers disagreed with the article, citing concerns that the taxes will be offset or misspent.

J. Karl Miller railed against the proposed “sin tax.”

“I find no justification for the government to regulate, control or punish behavior either by taxing a particular segment of society or by taxing a legally produced and marketed product out of existence. Raising taxes to compensate for faulty financial management procedures is a poor way to run a railroad but levying that penalty on some 20 percent of the people is beyond reprehensible.”

“What happens when smoking goes down as the article claims? Tax revenue will decline and lawmakers (or the ACS) will raise taxes again, but maybe on something other than just cigarettes,” commenter John Schultz wrote. “It is for the children, you know. I'm sure many of us also recall the talk of new funding for the school when gambling was allowed in Missouri, then people were surprised to hear the non-lottery funding sources were diverted elsewhere.”

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