I'm constantly amazed by Republicans' ability to keep speaking the same mantra of "cut taxes and watch the wealth follow," despite all evidence to the contrary. Since when has the Republicans' "trickle-down effect" ever freaking worked? In America during the 1950s and 1960s, the tax rate on the wealthy (those making over $400,000 a year) was 91 percent, and somehow those people managed to stay wealthy and prosper. Manufacturing was strong. Everyone in the world wanted our goods and dad could work a job that allowed his family not only a home and three square meals but health care and education as well.
These days, the maximum tax rate is only 35 percent on those making over $373,000 — and the only ones doing well are the wealthy. Incomes for the middle- and lower-income classes are not only stagnant, they're falling and have been for years. Cutting taxes on the rich and then asking them to bail us out by spending more isn't the damn answer and never has been.
It's high time for the American people to stop being duped and realize that they're being sold snake oil again and again, despite the fact that it never has worked and never will.
Good on You, Memphis
As an Australian newcomer to Memphis, I would like to congratulate you on a fine and enchanting city. I believe Memphis is at the cusp of a renaissance. To those of you who have weathered the U.S. financial storm over the past few years, I would like to point out the attractions that I perceive, coming from the other side of the globe.
Your downtown area, with its beautiful architecture overlooking the mighty Mississippi, quaint trolley cars, and horse-drawn carriages, enables walkers to take back the city. The Peabody hotel should be world-famous, joining Raffles, the Dorchester, and the Ritz. We spent a delightful few days there before moving into our new home near Overton Park.
The historic areas of Central Gardens, Overton Park, Chickasaw Gardens, and the bohemian area of Cooper-Young feature classic homes with gracious tree-lined streets. My congratulations go to the new mayor, who has a vision and the backbone to knock the city back into shape and flush out the slum landlords.
While the metamorphosis is still incomplete, I see a great future, in which I have chosen to participate. I look forward to spending quality time in Memphis at my new home in Evergreen.
MATA: "New and Improved"
On November 9th, MATA kicked off its "new and improved" answer line. Now, MATA customers can pick up the phone and find out when a bus is supposed to arrive at a particular bus stop. The new line replaces the old line, which dispensed the same information, only much more efficiently and accurately.
For example, with the new line, in order to find out that a MATA bus running the Poplar route arrives at the downtown terminal at 11:39 a.m., you must respond to 36 prompts on your phone. With the old system, you could get the same information by responding to six prompts. With the old line, the time actually spent on the phone to get the information was a third of what is required with the new system.
The new line only gives information on buses running inbound to the downtown terminal. With the old system, information was available for buses running both inbound and outbound to destinations throughout the city.
As a taxpayer, I am appalled at the waste of money that was spent to change something that worked just fine and replace it with a disaster. I have complained both to MATA and the mayor's office. In both cases, I was told that they would return my call. I'm still waiting.
A week ago Saturday, I drove by Tobey Park on Central and saw a sea of Tennessee fans tailgating before the game with the University of Memphis. My wife and I often drive by the park on Sunday and in the past have been impressed how U of M fans and fans of other colleges have cleaned up the park after a Saturday game. Not so with the Tennessee fans. They left the park in a horrible mess, lots of litter all over the place. Tennessee may have the better football team, but their fans should show some respect by cleaning up their mess after the partying is done.
Correction: Councilman Bill Morrison was misidentified in last week's cover story, "Can Raleigh Spring Back?"
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