It's no surprise President Bush thinks Bob Corker is Tennessee's best choice for the U.S. Senate. Corker is a businessman. The president was also a businessman and, like Corker, made millions from his political connections.
While I have disagreed with Harold Ford Jr. about his support for the Iraq war, I am in agreement with his stands on most issues. I am also glad to see the congressman has no problem revealing his full tax returns -- something Corker will not do.
Remember that many of those the president has supported for office or appointed to important government jobs are either under indictment or being investigated by the FBI. His first choice to head the Department of Homeland Security, Bernard Kerik, plea-bargained a briberies charge while he headed the New York City Corrections Department. Another Bush appointee, Kenneth Tomlinson, who heads the Corporation for Public Broadcasting board of governors, is being questioned by the Senate because of double-billing the government, among other things.
The president has already backed too many "corkers" in my opinion.
A Democratic ad related to the Ford-Corker Senate race says that in 2005 there were 31,000 unanswered 911 calls in Chattanooga. The ad does not mention that Bob Corker left the mayor's office in the spring of 2005 after budgeting for two more operators.
Crime rates are a reasonable standard to monitor the relative safety of citizens. According to FBI statistics, in 2004 Chattanooga experienced seven murders per 100,000 people, compared to 16.1 in Memphis, where Ford is based. It appears the overall safety and security in Chattanooga may exceed that of Memphis.
Ford's Web site claims that "Harold Ford believes that protecting the American people is the first responsibility of government." It appears he may have neglected his own district.
Earl Barnett Speedwell, Tennessee
IRS Tax Code
According to a General Accounting Office report, tax-dodging schemes, especially those involving illegal offshore credit-card accounts, have been growing faster than the IRS' ability to crack down on them. "Abusive tax-avoidance schemes could threaten our tax system's integrity and fairness, if taxpayers believe that significant numbers of individuals are not paying their fair share of taxes," the report concludes. IRS documents indicate that the schemes are depriving the U.S. Treasury of as much as $40 billion each year. That estimate references only illegal accounts. Many billions more in tax revenues are lost through "legal" outsourcing of jobs to other countries. The number of companies leaving the United States each year is accelerating at an alarming rate. The huge loss in tax revenue is becoming almost incalculable. According to the report, the IRS had identified more than 400,000 taxpayers who are involved in tax-evasion strategies that are likely illegal. Earlier, the IRS had estimated the number at 131,000. It's clear that the IRS doesn't have a clue how much revenue is being lost, but it is substantial! Now, almost three years after the report was issued, with the foxes still guarding the chicken coop, you can be sure that the problem is only getting worse. The IRS tax code has become so complicated and incomprehensible that virtually nobody can understand it, leaving it subject to broad interpretation. The tax code needs to be completely revamped. Tax loopholes for special interests must be curtailed. So, what has the Bush administration done to solve the problem? It has declared that outsourcing of jobs is good for America and tax cuts will reduce the deficit. It has also slashed the number of IRS auditors (charged with auditing the tax reports on multimillion-dollar incomes) in half!
Paul G. Jaehnert
Vadnais Heights, Minnesota
The war, invasion, and occupation of Iraq are not connected with the larger war on terrorism. Only in the minds of the Bush administration and some Republicans are the two related. And why not? They have a lot invested in this war.
Isn't it interesting to see gas prices inching lower as mid-term elections approach. And isn't it interesting that we have men in the White House who are closely connected with the oil industry. Coincidence? I doubt it.
Grass Valley, California