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Fletcher’s cavalier attitude rubs the wrong way

June 8, 2012
The Alpena News

The subject of economics is outside my favorite and familiar areas - the politics of both religion and public education.

I don't know, either, that city workers are leaning on their shovels overmuch, but some city council members, Stephen Fletcher writes in his May 22 column, have been "buffaloed" into thinking that employees will not have to be let go to balance the budget. Looking down his upper-middle class nose, Fletcher, who owns Alpena Power, writes that the question of laying off people should be re-phrased to benefit not those "receiving tax dollars," but for those "paying the tax dollars."

That would be he, of course, whose principal job, I think, is to manage his money. Not a column word about such things as corporate welfare, tax exemptions, or our wars. Or, U.S. industries moving manufacturing operations overseas. One is reminded of those company heads who, it is said, boasted that their stockholders never missed getting a dividend payment during the Great Depression.

Other civilized countries provide a "social umbrella" or a "safety net" for those citizens who for various reasons beyond their control and in changing times, land at the bottom of the economic barrel. It seems obvious to me that more tax revenue needs to come in.

The Fletcher fortune was amassed during the late 1800s. I do not mean to disparage the brains, creativity, and hard work, or resent the luck that went into building the historical Fletcher enterprises. Nor will I go "ballistic" suggesting application of magical thinking to today's economic problems. I do, however, look askance at one of unearned or inherited wealth so cavalierly offering no better solutions than to target the three "untouchable entitlement programs" with an attitude of let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may.

Elaine Thompson




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