Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Building my own business

EDITOR:

I own my own business. I built it from scratch, with a lot of time, money, sweat and fear. It is a very successful business that has done me and my family well. But I did not build it in a vacuum, I had a lot of help. First of all, my parents helped by giving me good genes, lots of encouragement and saw to it that I got a good education, at a public university that was supported, in part, by taxpayers. I built it with good employees, that I hope I have thanked and rewarded sufficiently. I can drive to work on roads that were built and maintained by the government. I drive a safe car because it meets the federal safety standards. Traffic flows because there is a set of rules that make it safe, laws passed by the state legislature. I go to the courthouse that was built and maintained by the government. I fly in airplanes that are regulated and land in airports built and maintained by the government. I practice law under a code that was written and passed by congress, one that helps level the playing field a little. I drink clean water, breathe clean air and eat healthy food, all regulated by the government. No one is going to build a race track or slaughter house next to my house because of zoning laws. I am protected by military, police and firemen, all government employees. I recently had to go to the hospital and was able to go quickly and safely, because of an ambulance system run by the government. I live in a society that allows me to listen to the music I want to hear, watch movies I want to see and read books that I want to read, all because of a Constitution that was written and enforced by the government. I have more freedom than almost anyone living. And I pay my taxes, a lot of taxes. It is a privilege to pay the taxes that I do because of one reason; I pay taxes because I am successful. And while the system is not perfect, it works pretty damn good. But no system is perfect, even private enterprise.

The government is a part of a system that has done me well. I think that I get a good bargain for my taxes. And now that I am a success, I will not slam the door on others. It is my turn to help others to become a success. They need my help as much as I needed others’ help. If you view taxes as something that is taken away from you, you will never be happy. However, if you view taxes as payment for a good life, than your cup is going to be half full and you will be thankful. I am happy, content and successful.

JOHN ROBERTS
El Dorado

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 35 comments

  • Phillip VeerkampSeptember 10, 2012 - 10:48 am

    John, you say, ". . . your cup is going to be half full . . . ". CORRECTION: When one adds your 1/2 cup coffee (Jack Daniels/whatever) with the 1/2 cup of air one finds that the cup is ALWAYS FULL (technically speaking)!

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  • Ken SteersSeptember 10, 2012 - 1:32 pm

    John, Well said. I too don't mind the rules that have been laid out in our society. I have become successful and feel blessed. Our government isn't like our in-laws whom which we most overlook their flaws to get along. The government works for us, we do not work for the government, there for our government is subject to a closer inspection. And constructive criticism where need be.

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  • Will JamesDecember 07, 2012 - 1:31 am

    Who are you and what have you done with the real Ken Steers?

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  • Kirk MacKenzieDecember 07, 2012 - 6:29 am

    Mr Roberts -- It is good to see the President's "You didn't build that (infrastructure)" speech rephrased from a personal view. However, I disagree with the notion that we are getting a "good bargain" from government. The public sector spends over $20k per person per year. While some people are getting rich off that spending, the rest of us are getting crumbling infrastructure, reduced services, and higher costs. For example, when I went to a public university ~30 years ago, I paid a little over $200/semester for tuition. Today that price tag is ~$6000/semester for tuition and mandatory fees.

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  • cookie65December 07, 2012 - 7:58 am

    How do you get $16 trillion in debt and a trillion dollar deficit each of the last four years to be a good bargain? Hopefully your business isn't accounting. I would like to see your next letter address the ever increasing restrictions placed upon the citizens by an ever expanding government. I don't know any business owner who doesn't think government is too big. There are more holes in this story than a fishing net. The only time we get this perspective from the private sector is when the business is dependent on government spending.

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  • out of the smokin' blueDecember 07, 2012 - 8:02 am

    Will James wants to know Ken Steers whereabouts, and so do the rest of us. "Ken", whatcha smokin?

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  • Terri KlineDecember 07, 2012 - 9:03 am

    Thank you John Roberts! Loved reading your letter this morning. It gives me hope that there are people in this county that are sensible and intelligent!

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  • M. SchumannDecember 07, 2012 - 10:13 am

    Government unemployment is 4.3% while the rest take a back seat to over 10%. I am sure that you didn’t build your business on your own; you depended on failed business and overtaxed underfunded individuals that couldn’t succeed due to lack of progress in the private sector. If our government would leave the private sector alone you wouldn’t have any clientele and you would be singing a different tune.

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  • RichardDecember 07, 2012 - 10:49 am

    I heard Steers is out lobbying to get more business for his wife’s, minority owned business. No doubt advantage was taken of the minority owned business grants program started by the Democrats to get to the front of the line when it comes to government contracts. Funny we never hear from him how those programs helped make his life better.

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  • Kirk MacKenzieDecember 07, 2012 - 11:54 am

    Richard, Mr Schumann, and Cookie65 -- clearly y'all believe success can only be founded on baseless assumptions about the competition (extreme sarcasm icon).

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  • M. SchumannDecember 07, 2012 - 12:13 pm

    John! the infrastructure that you mentioned should be done by the private sector; it would save millions of dollars and level the playing field. Government unemployment would go up and private unemployment would go down; think about it, why should our government be in charge of fixing roads, building guard rails, running ambulance services, running health care and etc? They should be doing what they are suppose to be doing protect us from oppression and government intrusion into our private life. Stop regulating and let citizens decide what is good or bad for us, it works.

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  • James E.December 07, 2012 - 12:23 pm

    Frankly Mr. Schumann, I don't have much faith in average Americans making decisions about good or bad. Remember, half of us have IQs under 100.

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  • cookie65December 07, 2012 - 12:35 pm

    James, the last election was evidence of that.

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  • cookie65December 07, 2012 - 12:39 pm

    The roads you speak of are a topic all to themselves. We in California pay the 3rd highest gas taxes in the county and have for decades. We have more cars than most other states combined. Yet we have the worst roads in the nation. look it up. Do you know why that is? It is because by the time we pay for the bureaucracy, the epa studies, the pensions and healthcare there isn't much left over for the roads. What a bargain.

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  • James E.December 07, 2012 - 12:50 pm

    Cookie, don't be snarky. Take your defeat with a spoon of sugar.

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  • RobDecember 07, 2012 - 12:51 pm

    If the private sector were left to plan and build roads there would be no roads to unprofitable locations, health care would only be provided to those who could pony up for it, fires would be left to burn and police would only respond if a profit could be turned. Our society would soon be reduced to neighbors fighting amongst themselves for survival. Mr. Roberts, your letter was a most welcome read over my morning coffee.

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  • M. SchumannDecember 07, 2012 - 12:54 pm

    My dad’s sister came out from Florida for a vacation and while here she took sick and had to visit the emergency room. 6 hours at the hospital and the bill was $13,000.00 nothing other than a CS and prescription. This is what health care has gotten us; it has made it so that if you get sick you have got to have” health care” when it used to be before insurance and health care that you could afford a short stay at the hospital. The people that have no insurance or money it is free, if you have money and no insurance they would have to donate to your coffers: This bring us back to the reason that you feel the government has helped you build your business. People are going bankrupt at an amazing rate good for you bad for the citizen.

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  • M. SchumannDecember 07, 2012 - 12:58 pm

    That comment was directed to JR

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  • James E.December 07, 2012 - 1:15 pm

    Mr. Schumann, perhaps the problem is the outrageous medical bills that are presented. Was the cost to the hospital really $13,000? Six hours in a hospital bed and a prescription sounds more like $500, a $1,000 at most. How about Medicare for all, and a strict evaluation of the true costs of medical providers. I know, I know, free market -- but how did your dad's sister like the free market?

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  • Jack MartinDecember 07, 2012 - 1:56 pm

    Per cookie's comment above, Mr Roberts is operating under the flase belief that all the things he mentioned as government-provided blessings in his life are PAID FOR. No sir... we are Trillions in debt. We are the FORMER rock star who got accustomed to the cash rolling and just couldn't stop spending, so now we're living off credit cards. But those cards are coming due and when that happens, you'll see the TRUE cost of all these....blessings.

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  • M. SchumannDecember 07, 2012 - 2:12 pm

    James, that is what medicare was billed and that was for 6 hours in the emergency ward; it did include a cat-scan.

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  • James E.December 07, 2012 - 2:21 pm

    Mr. Schumann, I know -- the charges billed to Medicare are outrageous. Lucky for taxpayers, Medicare only pays roughly about 10% of the billing.

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  • James E.December 07, 2012 - 2:37 pm

    Mr. Martin, if Americans want those "blessings" they must be prepared to pay for them. Hmmm, I wonder why we haven't paid for the Bush wars? Why did we use the Chinese credit card? Could it be because the Bush tax cuts over the decade caused our coffers to go bust? Time for us adults to realize that we shouldn't have China making up for us not paying sufficient taxes. And, please, don't come back with Cookie like comments that it's all the fault of people on food stamps.

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  • Paddy O'furnitureDecember 07, 2012 - 3:14 pm

    James E. Longhofer, To a few of your points; Medicare pays exactly 17% of what they are billed for. Not even close to the actual expenses incurred. Were it not for individuals who have their own insurance, Medicare (government run healthcare) would singlehandedly kill healthcare. And that's all about to get worse, so get ready. Next, the "Bush Wars" became the Obama wars when he failed to keep his promise to "begin withdrawing troops IMMEDIATELY when I take office" (campaign promise. We still have tropps in Iraq, and he sent even more Afghanistan. Most of our servicemen have DIED under Obama's time inn office than under Bush. Obama owns those wars now, buddy. And that's not even talking about Libya. And Syria and Iran, who we will most likely be bombing next. Lastly, it's not the fault of us taxpayers that we are so indebted to China and if you mean to say we are, you're a bigger imbecile that I previously thought you were. Don't blame me for not paying enough taxes you ass. I pay takes each and every day in numerous forms. I just bought a used car and paid $1400 in sales tax-on a car that sales tax was already paid for when it was first sold. And they'll collect it again when I sell it. We are taxed every which way there is. Every thing we do is taxed. Maybe YOU somehow aren't paying enough. Maybe YOU are cheating the system and the guilt is getting to you. I pay plenty. Let me educate you, the government doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. SPENDing. Get it? They waste billions and billions every year and we are forced pay for it. The gov't is funding some of the most useless projects imaginable and they have to borrow from China because they can't live with their means like most taxpayers have to. Your assertion that it's our fault for not paying enough is asinine in the extreme. We pay what they tell us to Jimmy boy, or we go to jail. Or we lose our homes, etc. You have hit bottom with this one. I'll bet you didn't think we were paying too few taxes when GWB was in the White House, did you? Hypocrite...

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  • James E.December 07, 2012 - 3:24 pm

    Mr. Paddy O'furniture, thank you for the 10% correction. I was trying to remember my past Medicare billings -- 17% is certainly more accurate. And, thank you for the snarky name calling and all the Fox News talking points. I suspect I pay just as much as you in taxes, and looking forward to 2013 I'm wondering where I will come up with the extra money -- but, I will without moaning and complaining to the world because taxes are necessary for a civilized society. You seem to be a very angry and bitter person. P.S. I'm glad I give you occasion to vent, so that you don't go off the deep end and hurt someone.

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  • Phil VeerkampDecember 07, 2012 - 3:40 pm

    word-of-the-day - dystopian

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  • James E.December 07, 2012 - 3:43 pm

    OK, heading out into the real world. Be back later.

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  • question everythingDecember 07, 2012 - 4:00 pm

    hmm Mr. John Roberts? Successful business you say? Any chance you're the bankruptcy attorney?.. which would speak volumes about the true reason for your success.

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  • RichardDecember 07, 2012 - 4:53 pm

    Good letter John, you’re a little happier to pay your taxes than I am but I do understand the need to pay back what our congress approved to spend. Those who have been cheating the tax system in the past years will find it a little harder to do under President Obama, I think that may be where the red-neck anger and name calling is coming from.

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  • M. SchumannDecember 07, 2012 - 5:33 pm

    If taxes would solve the problem Obama’s way would be good; the problem is that you can’t empty a jar with an eye dropper when you are filling it with a hose. I say let him have his way then we can try to clean up the dodo next term; but be ready for a real eye opener because their won’t be any free stuff, Kentucky mountain people will have it better than us.

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  • T69807December 07, 2012 - 9:37 pm

    Mister Roberts, when things like transportation or food are safe, it's not because government regulates them. Rather, it’s because it’s in companies’ best interest to make products safe. Otherwise, they’ll lose their customers. Take meat, for example. The government employs thousands of inspectors to watch skinned chickens roll by hour after hour. What are they watching for? Bacteria. Yes, bacteria! Do you think they can see bacteria? In contrast, the meat companies regularly tear their own production lines down to sanitize them. Think of that…they voluntarily forego profits to make their products safe. Here’s the bottom line: The free market does far more for your safety than your taxes do.

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  • Ken SteersDecember 08, 2012 - 9:12 am

    I'm still here! I've been busy! I'm listening to Christmas music, watching my wife and daughter shuffling out the door to go shopping. I'm heading to beautiful Lompoc to watch one of my boys wrestle Heavy Weight at the State Championships. FYI I can still take 'em. I'm busy working with my good friends D.A.Vern Pierson and Ron Mittelstaedt of Waste Connections, on the Snow Ball shopping spree for needy children in our County. By the way I was one of them when I was a child, so just paying it forward. I don't want to discuss politics during the holidays. I have so few left to enjoy. All I want to say regarding this issue is that America is the ONLY place in the world where two people like Leilanie and myself could become two people like us. May everyone have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May God bless you all, and God Bless America

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  • JohnDecember 08, 2012 - 7:18 pm

    Counselor Roberts: Your letter combines common sense, rational thought and an ability to distill a complicated subject into some lucid, cogent prose. Unfortunately, as you can tell from Cookie65's and a few others' comments, irrationality and lack of common sense, not to mention an inability to sort fact from fancy, are the burdens enlightened people like you must bear in EDC.

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  • JohnDecember 08, 2012 - 7:25 pm

    Did someone write that Ken Steers's wife used a minority set aside to open a business? If this is true, then Steers's anti-government ravings are more hypocritical than I imagined. The man has no shame.

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  • M. SchumannDecember 09, 2012 - 9:17 am

    It is wonderful to listen to all of this bs about how wonderful our government is. If you can use the system you love it and if you don’t use it you hate it. Face it regulations are something that will always be with us, government intervention is something that needs to be looked at. People that prosper that set behind a desk generally don’t care and except it, people that have to go out and manually and physically work feel it limits their ability to make a living. Special interest groups that interfere with a good portion of the suburbanite’s ability to make a living are for the most part unchallenged. They can and do stop growth and prosperity by closing and regulating. I have come to the conclusion that there are not enough concerned citizens that care about the other guy to do anything about what is happening to America, for the most part they care only about themselves and don’t give a damn about what is actually happening to our nation; we need unity not division.

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