Madison County Opinion...

 March 15, 2000


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
March 15, 2000

Frankly Speaking
Tax the wealth out of this country?
Every time someone suggests giving part of our money back to us in the form of a reduction in taxes, the big spending liberals scream, "a tax break for the rich!"
Well, if that is their goal, to soak the rich, then we need to design a tax program that will do just that. I suggest an annual estate tax. Every person would be taxed a percentage of their personal wealth each year. This would make it possible to eliminate the income tax and make the rich pay the entire bill.
It can be made as progressive as you want. For example, if your net worth is less than $100,000, you own no taxes. From $100,000 to $1 million would cost you one percent of your fortune. The rate would increase by one percent per million. An estate of $10 million would pay 10 percent annually. The government would take all of your wealth over $100 million. Bill Gates, Ted Turner and Michael Jordan would give up enough to finance most of the government!
Of course the same plan, with a somewhat lower tax rate, would apply to corporations as well. Any company with assets of $1 billion or more would have their excess buildings, inventory and bank accounts taken as corporate tax.
Just think of the problems this would solve. No more mega-mergers because government would get most of it. No more obscene salaries paid to pro athletes. No more massive "soft money" donations to political candidates. No more rich candidates trying to buy the presidency.
Also, we would not have to worry about overcrowded freeways because so few of us would have jobs. We would never have to decide between the unlimited number of brands of toilet tissue, because our stores could only afford to stock one or two. We would no longer be concerned about gun control because no one could afford to buy one.
So, if the best way to run our country is to tax the rich, let's do it right. Quit fooling around with the tiny amounts we pay in income taxes. Let's tax the wealth of this nation out of existence. Then we would have what the left-wing radicals want, a country where the government owns everything. It is called SOCIALISM! Ask the Russians how well that idea works.
We do not need to tax the rich. We do not need to tax the middle class. We need to reduce government to the level authorized by the U.S. Constitution. The explosion of business in America would generate enough excise taxes, users fees and license charges to pay for the necessary government services.
As for individual wealth, a return to constitutional government would give all of us who are willing to make an effort the opportunity to become rich. No one has ever been taxed into wealth. But many of us have been taxed out of it!
Frank Gillispie founder of The Madison County Journal.


Letter
The Madison County Journal
March 15, 2000

Wrestler seeks help with trip to Australia
Dear editor:
My name is Matt Cleghorne. I am an eleventh grade student-athlete from Madison County High School and have been on the wrestling team for two years. I have recently been selected to travel to Australia as a member of the United States People to People Sports Ambassadors Program. I will be participating in the South Pacific Invitational, a special wrestling tournament for youth teams throughout the world, July 17-30.
The People to People Sports Ambassadors Program was founded by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956. Since that time the program has grown dramatically and has sent thousands of United States students overseas to achieve an international experience. Sports ambassadors are carefully interviewed and evaluated before their acceptance. Because of its balanced athletic and educational value, it also offers the opportunity to gain additional high school and college credits as well.
I personally would like to become a Sports Ambassador because it will not only give me an opportunity to meet people and experience other cultures from around the world but a chance to compete at a level at which most could only imagine. Representing one's country at my age is an experience of a lifetime. We intend to use this opportunity to share our culture in the spirit of competition and in the hope that we can ensure goodwill in future international relationships.
In order to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I need your help! I am requesting sponsorship and/or donations of any kind from individuals and businesses to help alleviate the financial costs. The program amount is $5,000, which includes transportation, accommodations and all other associated costs. The preparations for this opportunity are time sensitive. There are certain deadlines to meet and the date for full tuition is May 1, 2000. I realize this isn't much time, but any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.
All checks should be made payable to Matt Cleghorne, for People to People. An account has been set up for the sole purpose of my trip at Merchant & Farmers Bank in Comer. However, in order to keep accurate records on all contributions, please mail to my home address at 470 Gholston Street, Comer, Ga. 30629.
Please feel free to contact me or my family at (706) 783-5566 if you have further questions. My family and I thank you in advance for your gracious consideration and support.
Sincerely,
Matt Cleghorne
Comer

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Column
By Margie Richards
The Madison County Journal
March 15, 2000

An important test
If you never read another one of my columns - read this one, please.
It's about an important test I've got coming up in a couple of weeks.
It's not one I can study for, but it's one I must take every few years to protect my health.
I'm talking about a colonoscopy.
For some reason, the mere mention of this test strikes fear into the hearts of many. When I mention I'm going to have one I get looks of sympathy and often gasps of distress or horror.
I assure you I don't dread it in the least (well, maybe the prep, a little).
I've been through numerous colonoscopies since being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis 16 years ago, and I can tell you firsthand that they are nothing to fear. The worst thing is having to drink all that stuff the night before to clean out the system.
Classified as an autoimmune disease, ulcerative colitis, and its "relative" digestive diseases - such as Crohn's Disease - are not pretty subjects.
Often accompanied by debilitating pain, ulcerative colitis in an "active phase" causes inflammation and ulceration of the wall of the colon, accompanied by frequent bowel movements, bleeding, and other manifestations such as extreme fatigue and skin rashes. For some, such as myself, these symptoms come and go; for others, they are an almost constant fact of life.
To sufferers of these diseases, a colonscopy is a vital tool in the diagnosis of their illness and in monitoring the condition of the bowel, including the possible development of cancer.
For those of you that don't know, a colonoscopy is a procedure a gastroenterologist (digestive system specialist) can use to examine the lower bowel, or colon. The small flexible tube used in the procedure is called an endoscope and is equipped with telescoping features and a light which allows the doctor to peer through the tube at all sides of the bowel wall as he maneuvers it around and through the loops of colon. (The colon is about six feet long.) Pictures of the bowel can be taken and the endoscope even has a pair of small scissors which he can use to take biopsies or clip off small irregular growths called polyps - a frequent precursor of colon cancer. The procedure can generally be done under mild anesthesia as an outpatient in a hospital setting, and after it's over you can go home and sleep the rest of the day.
According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer in this country and also one of the most preventable. Because it is generally slow growing, a tumor or growth in the colon can take years to develop. But the flip side of this is that often by the time noticeable symptoms manifest themselves, such as obvious blood in the stool or pain in the abdomen, the cancer is far advanced and has already spread through the bowel wall to other organs, such as the liver.
This is what happened to my brother over five years ago. By the time pain, bleeding and other symptoms forced him to seek medical attention, his colon was blocked by a large tumor and there were cancerous tumors on his liver and several other organs. Treatment only helped prolong his life; saving it was not possible. Just seven months after he was diagnosed, my brother was buried at the young age of 47. Seeing what he went through would be enough to make anyone want to avoid a similar fate.
continued on page 5A
Katie Couric, nationally known host of the Today Show, became a widow a couple of years ago, after losing her husband to colon cancer at the age of only 43.
Katie is now one of my heroes. I admire her crusade to prevent colon cancer, promoting an awareness of the diesease, its prevention and treatment tirelessly, even going so far as to undergo a colonoscopy herself on national television. Now that, pardon the pun, took a lot of guts.
As our doctor recently told me, cases of colon cancer are being seen at younger and younger ages.
EVERYONE, depending on their individual and family history, should have regular exams and stool specimans sent in to check for "occult" or hidden blood in the stool, even if they feel perfectly healthy!
Also, examinations, such as proctoscopy and colonoscopy should be done to examine the colon at whatever age your doctor advises. For some it might be 50, for others, such as myself and my husband, who both have family histories of colon cancer, it could be 40, or even sooner.
Sometimes a doctor will only want to perform a proctoscopy, which is a less invasive procedure and can be done in the doctor's office. But for my money, and to get a thorough examination, I would just as soon have the more complete procedure. (Besides, you still have to do the prep anyway!)
Please, please do not ignore simple precautionary procedures that can save your life. There is no need for anyone to die of colon cancer. It has been called a "preventable cancer."
Talk with your doctor about the subject - don't wait for him to bring it up - and visit a specialist if you have any family history of the disease.
Insist that those you love do the same.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager of the Madison County Journal.

 

 

 

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