Our Place

The statement “Question everything,” has been recommended by many great thinkers; including Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, and Carl Sagan, and it is good advice. However, there can be negative consequences for those who do follow that advice. Questioning certain things, ideas, beliefs or the people who believe them can be meet with angry opposition. People are set in their ways and are very defensive of their views and opinions. Even if one is questioning as a means to understand or improve something, it can be viewed as an attack against one’s integrity, beliefs or the person themself.

Politicians even avoid questioning some “third rail” issues. The third rail refers to the 600-volt third rail on an electric train’s track, which if you touch it — you are dead. Touching a “third rail issue” can be political suicide.

That being said I ask “Why do we have tax-exempt corporations and businesses?” Is giving a tax-exempt status, just a form of government subsidy and why should the government subsidize them?   Why should tax-exempt businesses that use our tax paid facilities not have to pay for them?  What is the constitutional justification for tax exempting selective groups and businesses? Why are taxable businesses that are owned by a tax-exempt business not taxed?  Is publishing a list of contributors by donation category a means to thank those who contribute or shame others into making contributions or to make large contributions?  Why should the financial aid that is given by one person to another (who needs it) not be tax-deductible; whereas, that financial aid is 100% deductible if it is given to a fundraiser who pockets up to 85% and then gives only 15% to that same person?  Why can a tax-exempt charity, publicly thank its volunteers and file with the IRS return stating it has none?

Why are businesses like the Belfry tax-exempt? Why does the City of Lake Geneva give money to a tax-exempt business? Why does a tax-exempt business rent expensive real estate in downtown Lake Geneva?  Is this the best use of charity money? Questions similar to these tax-exempt questions can be asked about all other government grants, subsidies, and tax breaks. But nothing will change or improve unless someone asks the simple question “Why?” and keeps asking “Why?” until there is a logical answer or the wrong is corrected.

It’s a Christmas tree…governor.
The big tree being erected in Milwaukee, to represent Christmas throughout the state, is a Christmas tree, and everyone knows it.  The governor has chosen to concentrate his rhetoric on one of the few things that his predecessor got right.  Sears Tower in Chicago will always be the Sears Tower, no matter how much money commercial operations spend to get the name changed to their brand.  The movie was called Holiday Inn but the intensity, the plot and the theme of the movie was Christmas.  The song is called White Christmas for a reason, and not Holiday Inn (although, in the case of the movie, the name of the movie spawned an entire motel chain that is still with us today).  Get a grip governor, and stop listening to little birds chirping in your ear, unless you want to be a one-term governor, and you can do that real easy in the rather ‘politically quixotic’ state of Wisconsin right now.

Persons of the Week

Willaims Bay natives

Hoagie and Jim were both born and raised in Williams Bay and still consider it home after moving away many years ago. They’ve enjoyed seeing all the changes and growth Williams Bay has gone through since their childhood

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