Readers Respond

The tax on lumber

“Against a loud voice from the lumber industry, the governor just signed legislation to enact an additional 1% sales tax on lumber sold in California at retail starting Jan. 1. Without California going strong, the rest of the nation will never recover. Don’t forget we’ve also got cap and trade, the low carbon fuel standard, a vehicle mileage tax called smart growth, storm water runoff regulations and a new paint recycling fee starting Oct. 19 yet to contend with.

“FYI, the California legislature passed and the governor signed public employee pension reform legislation recently. It was obviously watered down, very weak and is nothing more than lip service because if it was truly monumental, there would have been public employee union outcry the likes of which we saw in Wisconsin last year. We didn’t even hear a whimper. It is currently estimated that between unfunded public employee pension liabilities and state bonds we owe approximately $750 billion!”
— Augie Venezia
Fairfax Lumber & Hardware

Job facts versus job fiction
Several readers responded to an article that appeared on homechannelnews.com under the headline: “Unemployment rate declines to 8.1%.”

“The unemployment rate improved because more people stopped looking for work. It’s a misleading and misguided statistic.”
— Jimmy Bolton
Coastal Building Sales

“Your article states that unemployment improved in August, when in fact 96,000 jobs were added and 368,000 people stopped looking for work or their unemployment benefits expired. Seems if you are going to report numbers you would give both sides of the story. This is misleading when [only]part of the facts are presented.”
— Dillard Jones

“While the unemployment rate appears to have gone down, the country saw 360,000 people drop out of the labor force, which affects the unemployment calculation and why it looks like it went down. The actual percentage of people now considered part of the labor force compared with the total population is at its lowest level in a generation. Additionally, with only 96,000 jobs created last month, it is nothing to write home about and way below what is needed to significantly impact the economy via disposable/discretionary income that drives retail sales (excluding food and fuel).”
— Pkrupa on Homechannelnews.com

The Fed responds

“It’s wonderful that the Fed thinks it can fix housing and then the economy. It can’t. All it has done is ensure a new housing bubble that will once again pin the losses on the taxpayer.”
— Jim Taft

“Why should my tax money help the people who bought houses that they could not afford? Being in the building industry myself, I have had to change my lifestyle. I have seen many material supply houses close their doors and have not seen government help them out. If government wants to boost the economy, why not give the money to taxpayers who are paying their bills and taxes? These people would in return buy products and services, which would put people back to work. We can give companies all kinds of money to bail them out, but if the general public does not have money to buy goods and services, then there is no reason for companies to make products. It is simple economics: When people have money, they will support the economy.”
— Yvone

Mortgage interest tax deductions and the housing recovery

“Eliminating the mortgage tax deduction is just another way of implementing a tax ‘increase’ that would impact the middle class. The tax deduction gives additional incentive to owning a home. High-income taxpayers who invest in commercial real estate would just find ways to fund their home purchase by borrowing additional funds on a commercial mortgage to still get the deduction. It is time our policy makers looked at throwing out the tax code and go to a graduated flat tax so that ‘everybody’ pays a fair share.”
— Lonnie Reichstein
Controller
Central Valley Builders Supply

“If this deduction were phased out now, you would put housing in another tailspin! The value of your property would also take another downward correction. Ninety billion is nothing compared with the waste spent by the government.”
— Duane Kuzak