A4 THE HAYS DAILY NEWS OPINION TUESDAY, JUNE 20,2006 Volunteerism Volunteers are always needed, and citizens should rise to challenge M any Americans volunteer their time for charity work — some 65 million last year. But many more don't step forward. While the number of Americans volunteering is up by nearly 6 million since 2002, the total computes to just 29 percent of all Americans. We can do better. The numbers come from the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that promotes volunteerism and administers such volunteer programs as AmeriCorps and Senior Corps. That the volunteerism rate has not budged is something of a disappointment for the Bush administration. The president challenged the agency to increase volunteerism in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, said that holding the rate steady is an achievement because of the predominance of baby boomers and the growth of the Latino population, two demographics that statistically do not volunteer at high rates. People decline to volunteer for many reasons. One surely is busier lifestyles. Women volunteer more than men — 32 percent compared to 25. And mothers with children at home volunteer the most of any group — nearly 40 percent. They are the ones putting in the time at school and church, which depend heavily on them. Eisner's agency found that the likeliest volunteer "is a white female who gives 50 hours per year volunteering through a religious organization as a tutor, mentor, coach or referee." "Too busy" is an oft-heard excuse for not stepping up to the plate. It doesn't wash. Everyone is busy. We all live overscheduled lives. It is time we made tune for what is important. Doing charity work is important. Doing something for a cause beyond our personal needs is important. Spending tune assisting in tile classroom or helping chaperone a field trip for our children is a natural. Church volunteerism is, too. And coaching. But many more opportunities exist. Opportunities to raise money for a good cause. Opportunities to mentor at-risk kids, to collect food for the underprivileged, to build houses, to build playgrounds and clean up parks. The list is lengthy. Writing a check to a charity is good. But everyone also should carve out a little time in the week to volunteer. Little else is more rewarding than donating one's time to help others, and expecting nothing in return except for feeling good. Why doesn't everyone volunteer? We like to think it is not so much about being self-centered as it is not knowing how. Those who volunteer once tend to volunteer again. Maybe volunteering is a little intimidating to those who never have. Or maybe it is one of those items on the to-do list that we just never get to. At least once a week in this newspaper, on the Community page, we publish a list of volunteer opportunities. Volunteering is as easy as picking up the phone. Everyone should be able to carve out an hour a week to volunteer in some way. Editorial by John D. Montgomery Jmont9dallynewa.net The editorials represent the opinion and institutional voice of The Hays Dally News but are signed by the author for the reader's information. Guest editorials are from other newspapers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Hays Daily News. Other content on this page represents the views of the signed columnist, cartoonist or letter-writer. The Opinton Page is intended to be a community forum. Guest editorials and syndicated columnists are selected to present a variety of opinion. Reader Forum Former sheriff treated unfairly by newspaper, Smith County officials After all the headlines, half-truths, sensationalism and outright character assassination, I'd like to add one final word before the powers-that-be in Smith County start their inevitable targeting of the upcoming successor to Ellsworth Murphy as sheriff of Smith County. I, personally, am very proud of my brother for standing up to that same power structure that drove the former sheriff out of office. Incidentally, they did such a good job of diverting the attention away from the fact and directing it to replaying his 1990 conviction on a misdemeanor charge, that no one remembers County Attorney Sheldon's promise to divulge the results of his "inquisition" about the reasons the former sheriff and his whole staff resigned after saying publicly that they weren't allowed to do their job in Smith County. And, if he's had a recent change of heart, why did he wait until Murphy was gone to announce the results? Oh well, a little sleight of hand never hurt anyone, least of all the residents of Smith County. Totally buried among the news flashes that emanate from that sewer of journalistic integrity that serves as a news source in Smith County are the facts about how Murphy rebuilt a sheriff's department and restored it to a fully staffed, professional department with trained deputies who could competently take over as sheriff. That is, if they will be permitted to do so by a county attorney who pledged publicly to not prosecute anyone brought before him by this department. He lived up to that pledge when he dropped charges against a 16- year-old girl who was clocked in excess of 95 mph in the city limits of Smith Center. In a strange set of "coincidences," her parents were the leaders of a recall petition against Murphy. Gee, I wonder if there was a connection. In the end, the distortions, innuendoes and lies took their toll and, since there is no free press in Smith County, those in power controlled the information, distorting most of it. A new low in insensitivity and integrity must have inspired the Pioneer to put out a special edition carrying the screaming headlines about Murphy's loss of office in the same edition as the death notice showing the loss of his father-in-law, a prominent Smith County resident. Nearly 300 people gave Murphy a "Thank-You" with their votes against ..the recall. Ithink;heReserved far better ., than that, but ppnsjdering the^new&epv-.,, erage, that in itself was a small miracle. The residents of Smith County, unfortunately, are the real losers in this whole scenario. Unless the Republican Committee picks a replacement who will stand up to the entrenched power structure that exists in Smith County, the residents there will again have a sheriff in name only. Elaine Murphy Schroeter Lyndon Nothing wrong with scaring teenagers into abstinence At the top of the front page in The Hays Daily News, you printed an article dealing with the policy adopted by our State Board of Education requiring the "promotion" of abstinence until marriage in human sexuality classes, "while still giving students complete and medically accurate information about birth control and preventing sexually transmitted diseases." And you state further that some advocates still worried about "scaring students out of having sex." I practiced as an obstetrician/gynecologist in this community for over 30 years. Speaking purely from personal experience, and strictly from a medical standpoint, I wish to state that scaring students out of having sex makes good sense, from medical, sociological and psychiatric points of view. I cared for too many young ladies suffering from sexually transmitted diseases — HIV and cervical cancer, both life-threatening — human papilloma virus, genital herpes and hepatitis, all incurable — as well as gonorrhea, syphilis, tri- chomonas and others, potentially causing sterility. I have said nothing about those young ladies who found themselves pregnant, and faced with the always unpleasant choices of abortion, adoption, or trying to raise a child alone. Surely, it is essential that students be informed as to the methods of trying to prevent these problems if they choose to be sexually active. But it also makes sense to inform them, as well, that all these problems can be avoided totally by abstinence. Please, let us not consider this as a religious war, but try to do the best we can to protect our young people. William M. Kane, M.D. 209 Cast/Ulan Blvd. Whore to write E-mail addresses for city of Hays department heads: City Manager Randy Gustafson — email@example.com Assistant City Manager Toby Dougherty — firstname.lastname@example.org Public Works, Brenda Herrman — email@example.com Airport, Terry Urban, manager — firstname.lastname@example.org Convention and Visitors Bureau, Jana Jordan — email@example.com Fire, Gary Brown, chief — firstname.lastname@example.org Police, Jim Braun, chief — email@example.com Human Resources, Susie Billinger firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Finance/City Clerk, Mark Loughry — email@example.com Parks Department, Jeff Boyle — firstname.lastname@example.org Republicans just keep on clicking, sort of AUSTIN, Texas — Gee, the Republicans seem to have lost their moral compass since Tom DeLay quit. Who knew it could get worse without that pillar of rectitude from Texas? What a snakes' nest of corruption and nastiness. The latest involves Speaker Denny Hastert and a land deal. Hastert had sold to a developer a 69- acre portion of a 195-acre farm that had been purchased in his wife's name. The developer also purchased an adjacent plot of roughly equal size owned in trust by Hastert and two of his "longtime supporters." The area west of Chicago is growing madly, and Hastert — through an earmark appropriation process — dedicated $207 million in taxpayer dollars as the first appropriation on the Prairie Parkway, which will run 5.5 miles from the Hastert land. That went through hi fall 2005. Three months later, Hastert and his partners sold the land for a $3 million total profit, $1.8 million to Hastert. In a staggering display of brass-faced gall, Hastert is now claiming a freeway running 5.5 miles from his land is not close enough to affect the price of the farm. Then what did the developer pay the extra $3 million for? Hastert is said to be furious with the Sunlight Foundation, which broke the story, and the Chicago newspapers, which pounced on it gleefully. This is what I don't get about Republicans. Apparently they think they are genuinely entitled to get these special deals. Also making news is California Rep. Jerry Lewis, who is in deep with a lobbying firm that is El Stinko. This wouldn't matter so much if Lewis were just another congressman, but he is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, the one that hands out the money. Lewis' family and friends have profited nicely from contractors and lobbyists who court his favor. Such cozy arrangements. Just for example, one Lewis aide, who COMMENTARY had gone to work for the lobbying firm and then returned to the congressman's staff, was paid $2 million by the firm in 2004 while on the public payroll. With a fine sense of ethical behavior, members of the House have voted to continue earmarking, including $500,000 for a swimming pool in Lewis' district (bringing the total federal money allotted for this pool to $1 million). Meanwhile, back on the Jack Abramoff-and-related fronts (lest we forget good old Dusty Foggo, ex-No. 3 at the CIA), a letter had been found, despite initial denials by the Department of Homeland Security, from the now-convicted ex- Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham recommending that the government use the limo firm that allegedly ferried whores to the poker parties given by defense contractors who were paying off Cunningham. Don't Democrats have scandals, too? Yes, Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana is in deep doo-doo. Among other things, the Fibbies found $90,000 in cash in his freezer. So the Democratic caucus kicked him off his important seat on the Ways and Means Committee. Republicans just keep on trucking. Meanwhile, the entire Department of Homeland Security is beginning to look like a Republican playground. According to The New York Tunes, over 90 former officials at DHS or the White House Office of Homeland Security are now "executives, consultants or lobbyists for companies that collectively do billions of dollars' worth of domestic security business." Now isn't that a dainty dish to set before the king? Can Republicans run anything right? Where is the CEO administration that was supposed to straighten out government? It might be that President George Bush deserves credit for having initially opposed a DHS, knowing that Republicans would make a giant new federal agency. But he later changed his mind and supported the thing. The rest of us thought we were getting an agency that would provide homeland security, but what an endless saga of misspent money, stupid decisions, waste, fraud, abuse and political logrolling — and still no port protection. It seems to me there is a direct connection between the Republicans' inability to run anything governmental ("Heck- uva job, Brownie") and the fact that they don't believe in government. The simplest purposes of government have long been defined for us — to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. It is, or should be, a benign enterprise, making life better for citizens. I carry no special brief for government — many years of studying the Texas Legislature will disenchant anyone. But if you are put in charge of government, the least you can do is run it well. Bill Clinton took government seriously — he was interested in how to make it work better, interested in government policy. Clinton declared the era of Big Government over and indeed pruned the federal structure and finished with a surplus. Bush is giving us fat, bloated, inefficient, corrupt government, all of it running on a huge deficit — not counting the expense and growing body count in Iraq. As the man said — "2,500 is just a number." Molly Ivins is a columnist for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. -.)!,-.. ',< The wonder of voodoo economics Who says you can't cut taxes, increase spending and reduce the federal budget deficit all at the same time? That's what the Bush administration has managed to do. Two decades after then-presidential candidate George H.W. Bush characterized Ronald Reagan's idea that tax cuts would spur revenue-generating economic growth as "voodoo economics," the witch doctor is again at work. When President George W. Bush pledged in 2004 to cut the deficit in half by 2009, critics guffawed. The Boston Globe headlined a story, "Bush's plan to halve federal deficit seen as unlikely; higher spending, lower taxes don't mix, analysts say." "Fanciful," "laughable" and "all spin," said the critics. Well, it turns out that 2009 might be coming early this year. The 2004 deficit had been projected to hit $521 billion, or 4.5 percent of gross domestic product. Bush's goal was to cut it to 2.25 percent of GDP by 2009 — not exactly as stirring a national goal as putting a man on the moon, but one that was nonetheless pronounced unattainable. This year, the deficit could go as low as $300 billion, right around the 2009 goal of 2.5 percent of GDP. The key to the reduction is revenue growth, which has been stoked by economic growth. Government revenues are up 12.9 percent in the first eight months of this year over the same eight- month period last year — without any tax increases. When individuals, investors and corporations have more cash in a growing economy, they send A community is best served when residents are willing to discuss issues publicly. You can be part of the discussion by participating in the Reader Forum. Please limit your submissions to 600 words. They will be edited for length and clarity. They must be signed and In- COMMENTARY more to the federal government in tax payments. This, despite — or, more accurately, because of — a couple of rounds of Bush tax cuts that were supposed to have been fiscally ruinous. The Bush tax reductions played some role in the economic expansion and therefore are responsible, partly, for the increased revenues. This doesn't mean that tax cuts "pay for themselves," as their most fervent advocates say. But they certainly can offset some of their own cost. In 1999, the Congressional Budget Office was projecting 2006 total federal revenues of nearly $2.4 trillion, prior to anyone foreseeing Bush's tax cuts. This year, revenue could go as high as nearly $2.4 trillion, even after those tax cuts. In January 2003, prior to Bush's second round of tax cuts in that year, the CBO guessed revenues would be close to $2.4 trillion this year — again, in the ballpark of where they could be this year, According to Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation, if annual spending increases in the Bush years had been limited to the rate of the Clinton years, roughly 3.3 percent, there would be a federal surplus now. Instead, spending has been growing at 8 percent a year. dude a name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. We reserve the right not to print a submission. We do not accept for publication on the editorial page poems, consumer complaints, business testimonials or That demonstrates that the formula for deficit reduction from the 1990s — moderate-spending restraint coupled with higher-than-expected growth-generated revenues — would work again today, if only someone could manage the moderate-spending restraint. Another similarity from the 1990s is that the revenue surge is driven by high- end earners and corporations. Liberals always rue it when the rich get richer, but when they don't, the federal fisc tends to be ruined because they are the ones who pay most of the taxes. The deficit climbed unexpectedly hi the early Bush years and is declining unexpectedly now, not because the projections for economic growth were wildly off, but because the kind of people who pay the most taxes took a bath early in the decade and are recovering now. Almost 47 percent of income taxes are paid by those making more than $200,000 a year, and they are thriving again. A chunk of the current revenue surge is also from corporate income taxes, which are up 30 percent over last year. There are limits to voodoo. Today's fiscal improvements will be overwhelmed by the exploding costs of entitlements just over the horizon. In light of that, we should be maintaining a high-growth, low-tax economy to reap all the benefits of growth, but dutifully restraining entitlements. That's not sorcery, but just good sense. Rich Lowry Is editor of the National Review. comm0nti.lowry9natlonalnvl9W.com group letters. Mail them to Reader Forgm, The Hays Dally News, 507 Main, Hays KS 67601 .You also can send them by e-mail wi. Please include an address and daytime telephone number.
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