Madison County Opinion...

 May 30, 2001

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
May 30, 2001

Frankly Speaking

Gov't should return more of our money
A number of people have expressed their approval of the Bush tax cut.
They often say, "It is nice of the government to give us this money."
Well, I am here to tell you that the government is not "giving" you anything. They are simply taking away a little less of what is already yours!
Governments have no independent source of income. Every cent they spend, waste, or return to the citizens comes out of someone's pocket.
Value is created by workers who create or extract valuable goods or services. The sole purpose of money is to facilitate the exchange of these goods and services from creators to consumers. When a shoemaker makes shoes, he sells those shoes to someone for cash. That person takes the money to the grocery store and buys apples that another worker picked from the orchard. That worker takes the money and pays a mechanic to repair his car. The mechanic can then go to the shoe store and buy new shoes.
That is the way it is supposed to work. The problem is that the government takes a cut out of each transaction. As a result, the shoemaker must accept less food than the value of the shoes. The grocer has less money to pay for apples. The farm worker has to work longer hours to pay the mechanic, whose new shoes cost far more than they should.
Taxes always hurt the economy because they interfere with the natural flow of money from producers to consumers. Without the confiscatory tax system we now have, all goods and services, including gas and electricity, would be far less expensive. We would be able to earn enough money to cover the cost of living in fewer hours, leaving more time for family, church and hobbies.
Not all taxes are bad. When government provides a valuable service, the taxes we pay contribute to the economic health of the nation. The national security provided by our military protects the freedoms we hold so dear. The roads and bridges government builds are essential to our economic and social lives. But when government takes the result of our hard labor and gives it to people who produce nothing of value, or pays layers of bureaucrats to interfere unnecessarily with our lives, we are all harmed.
Therefore it is always good when government reduces the amount of money it takes from us in taxes. It is our money. We work for it. We should decide how to spend it, or which deserving people to give it to. When government cuts taxes, it is not giving anything to the taxpayers. It is simply taking less away.

Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at His email address is



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By Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
May 30, 2001

A Moment with Nargie

Thinking about P.U.P.
He was just a half grown dog.
Friendly yet shy, he wound his way in and out of the parade at the Hull Spring Festival last Saturday, wagging his tail and making many folks, including me, smile at the sight.
On closer inspection however, it was obvious he was a stray. He was so hungry. His ribs were beginning to show through his coat and a skin infection - possibly a flea allergy, or maybe the beginnings of the dreaded mange - were beginning to show on his legs and hindquarters.
I watched him as I walked through the crowd taking photos for the paper. He stopped often, looking up into people's faces, wagging his tail shyly. Most folks ignored him; a few had harsh words.
Some were kind. I saw one couple sharing their potato chips with him and I gave him the remains of a biscuit.
I stopped under the shade trees to listen to the gospel music and watch the dog at the same time.
There's no animal shelter in the county yet, so I, like most folks, was at a loss to know what to do about him, having so many animals of my own already.
So, after saying a few kind words to him, I turned away. But I have thought of him often since then.
For one, he looks exactly like the dog "Honey" I heard about just last week.
Burned by a 17-year-old kid in Atlanta who threw gasoline on her and then set fire to her, Honey has made headlines with her sweet and trusting disposition despite all that has happened to her. If she survives the numerous surgeries she will need to go through to recover, Honey will have a good home as hundreds of folks have asked to adopt her and money has poured in to cover her medical expenses.
But what about the young dog in Hull, who seems to be very like her in temperament and in his life situation?
How did he come to be there? Who threw him away and why? Where is he now, and if I or someone else don't help him, what will happen to him?
What makes us treat other creatures, and our own kind, so cruelly sometimes?
I don't know these answers. I wish I did.
I'm happy to be on the committee that is helping to get an animal shelter constructed for this area, but I know this will not be an answer to my questions of why.
Once the shelter is constructed it will undoubtedly be the last stop for many of the animals brought there. Granted, that will be an improvement over their being hit by a car, or dying of disease and starvation, and in the meantime breeding still more unwanted animals. But to anyone with a sense of compassion, it is still a terrible injustice for any living creature.
Since January of this year, according to an article I read recently, 415 animals have been euthanized (put to death) at the Northeast Georgia Animal Shelter in Lavonia. Why? Because there have been many more animals brought in than there is room, or homes, for them.
A woman told me recently of finding three kittens in a sealed sack along a busy highway in Madison County - thrown away like garbage, she said. Sealed in the bag, it seems, to ensure they would not survive. The woman luckily found them in time and is working to find homes for them.
Recently, it has been my pleasure to talk with a group of middle school students and their teachers that are doing more than asking why, they are working to make a difference.
Patricia Karol and Tracy Bailey's Madison County Middle School class recently obtained a grant to help them create a project to help with the county's problem of stray and unwanted animals.
The class has named the project P.U.P. (Prevent Unwanted Pets) and is now working to raise money to pay for six spays or neuters. By doing this, they will prevent the births of literally thousands of unwanted animals that will end up like Honey or the stray pup in Hull. The class has been researching the topic of pet overpopulation and learning about the Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter building soon to be under construction next to the transfer station. In addition, they are learning about responsible pet ownership (which includes spaying and neutering) and are designing a brochure on the subject to be placed in local businesses.
Karol and Bailey say that since beginning the project, they have seen a change in attitude and awareness in many of their students.
The class has discussed what happens to pets when they are thrown away and what impact this can have on a community - as well as on the animals.
These teachers and these young people are to be commended for their efforts and I encourage everyone to support them.
This is the way we make a difference, for the animals and for ourselves - a little bit at a time.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for the Madison County Journal.
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