Hazel Alexis

My Voice

About the author

Hazel Alexis lives in La Grande. My Voice columns reflect the views of the author only. My Voice columns should be no longer than 750 words. Submissions generally include a portrait-type photograph of the author along with the author’s name, age, occupation and relevant organizational memberships. The Observer edits submissions for brevity, grammar, taste and legal reasons. We do not fact check. We reject those published elsewhere. Send columns to La Grande Observer, 1406 5th St., La Grande 97850, fax them to 541-963-7804 or email them to news@lagrandeobserver.com .

I was curious enough to do some research on some of the “facts” that Mary McCracken wrote in her recent My Voice column.

With just a little effort I was able to find quite a lot of information on the current practices of reforestation here in the United States. Her comments about timber harvests are far from what is happening today in our forests.

Today, the United States has roughly the same amount of forested land as it did 100 years ago.

There are more than 745 million acres of forest today; 72 percent of the original forest is still covered; and 57 percent is privately owned by corporations and investment funds as well as 10 million family forest landowners. The rest is owned by public entities such as national, state and regional governments. In the past 50 years, less than 2 percent of the standing tree inventory was harvested each year while net tree growth was 3 percent.

Modern forestry practices have resulted in better forests that produce more trees than are harvested annually. If timber could be harvested, the income raised would mean private enterprise could provide the needed funds for schools. But timber harvest has been severely restricted due to environmentalists who felt the spotted owl had more rights than did the people who derived their livelihoods from the timber industry. I guess someone forgot to tell all those spotted owls making nests in Walmart signs that they were only to build nests in “old-growth trees.”

According to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, a non-partisan research and educational organization dedicated to showing us how taxes, government spending and regulation affect us (not the Washington Post and Huffington Post, which are biased sources), the top 50 percent of wage earners pay 97.17 percent of income taxes. The income break is $39,275 earned annually. Below that wage, the income tax collected is only 2.83 percent. The top 25 percent is paying almost 87 percent of the tax burden.

Tax cuts allow everyone to have more income available for their life expenses. The taxes raised increase as people and businesses are able to invest and create more income, which means more taxes are paid.

The redistribution of wealth is best done by the American work ethic of getting a job to earn the income needed to support yourself and a family if you have one. Taking from “the rich” to give to “the poor” does not create a society that will continue to work and grow. It creates a society that feels “entitled” to the wealth earned by someone else. There are third-generation families who have been on welfare all their lives. That is their method of “earning.” Ask an “A” student to share the grade with an “F” student. They’ll both have a “C” grade, which is passing, but is that equitable? It IS redistribution.

Regulations are needed, that is true, but not when they become tyrannical and power grabbing. The formation of a duck pond on private property should not be regulated by the federal government. That is overreaching by bureaucrats far beyond the intent of regulation.

Yes, there are regulations that need to be rescinded or removed. That is not being done with a heavy hand as McCracken implies.

Finally, the Vets Ice Cream Patrol members have been bringing cheer and friendship to local veterans for more than four years. Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden made the rounds with the guys a couple of years ago. He had his crew there shooting photos throughout the visit. He didn’t notify constituents he was there — but he did like the publicity.

Alluding to U.S. Rep. Greg Walden slipping into town and slithering away plainly shows McCracken’s thoughts regarding our representative. Not very fair minded.

The dedicated men of the Vets Ice Cream Patrol deserve the honors and acknowledgments they received from both Walden and Wyden.

By the way, how are the mosquitoes out your way?