Flat tax may be right idea

To the editor:

They're talking about tax reform now, so here's my idea. Get rid of all tax laws now and enact a flat tax, if you make a dollar, you owe the government 10 cents. Companies that make a dollar, owe the government 20 or 25 cents. No ifs, ands or buts. Stop all deductibles, tax credits or foreign tax credits. It will stop citizens having to pay taxes, while big companies pay next to nothing in taxes. Everyone will have to pay their fair share.

Michael Bauman

Sugar Creek

 

There needs to be dialogue on monuments

To the editor:

I have been giving the monument issue a lot of thought lately. How can you avoid it when it is in every media outlet? I don't have an answer. I certainly could never think of a solution that would satisfy all. However, I do have some random thoughts on the issue.

To those who view the monuments as celebrating a time of oppression, I say this: Don't view the Civil War and its history as a time of oppression; rather choose to view it as a source of strength. Remember the past to remember what your ancestors overcame so you can be what you have become today.

Don't tear down someone else's story. Build your own. Tell your history so people can understand and appreciate the great contributions that have been given to our country. It is a great story.

Instead of tearing down a history story, my wish is that this same energy to destroy would be used to create a tangible evidence of history so often overlooked or underappreciated. Use your energy to teach.

To those who wish the monuments to remain, study both sides of Civil War history. Learn why what you revere may offend another.

Violence is not the answer. Tearing down or hiding history is not the answer. The answer may be in true meaningful dialogue. You don't have to win the argument. You only have to respect the other person's opinion and agree to continue a meaningful, sincere search for understanding.

Mike Calvert

President, Civil War Round Table of Western Missouri

 

Changes needed to make MPERS math work for state

To the editor:

This is a follow up letter to the editor that was printed earlier this year in The Examiner in regards to the underfunded status of MPERS, the retirement plans for the Missouri State Highway Patrol employees and Department of Transportation employees. In the minutes of the pension board meeting on Feb. 23, Scott Simons, MPERS executive director, “indicated it is unclear to him what precipitated Mr. Osborne’s editorial.”

In the meeting, the pension has hired a consulting team named NEPC that has come up with a dreamlike estimation that the fund will return 7.65 percent over the next 30 years. Later in the meeting, it was reported that “Throughout the second half of 2016, MPERS positioned the portfolio very defensively due to relatively high equity market valuations, the uncertainty surrounding the U.S. Presidential election, and a Federal Reserve that seemed ready to raise interest rates.”

So my question is this – if the 10-year Treasury yields 2.231 percent and the fund’s target allocation for fixed income is 25 percent, how much do the other investments have to return to average 7.65 percent? I know that I’m picking on MPERS. In reality, most public pension funds are underfunded, MOSERS included.

We are lying to our state employees by making them think they will have a monthly income that simply won’t be there. We need to bring the actuarial return to 4 percent so we will have realistic unfunded numbers, increase the employees’ contributions, and increase the state’s contributions if we have any interest in making the math work.

Holmes Osborne, CFA

Independence