Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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March 29, 2009

Sullivan’s Salvos 3/31/09

Only 6 days until Opening Day! Even if one is not a baseball fan, there is a wonderful rebirth that happens every year with Opening Day. Like so many things we associate with spring, a new baseball season is a fresh start. Every team is 0-0, with an opportunity to do great things. Once again, there is hope. And we all need that!

I hope your team (however you wish to define it!) has a “dream season” this summer!

Congratulations to the United Way of Johnson County, which exceeded all goals and brought in over $2.6 million in 2008.

Special congrats to my pal Sandy Pickup of the Free Medical Clinic, the Agency Director of the Year. Another big congrats to emergency phone bank coordinators Barb Davis and Celia Burger and disaster relief coordinators Mark and Carol Martin, who were named the Volunteers of the Year for their service during and after the flood.

All of these folks are tremendously deserving of our thanks, as are the staff, board, and donors of the United Way! Great job all around!

My family and I try to be generous when it comes to giving to charities. I worked for over ten years in the nonprofit sector, so I appreciate that gig. I have been on nonprofit boards, and my family and I have benefitted from the services of nonprofits.

Given this history, I really enjoyed the March/April edition of the Utne Reader. There are a few articles on nonprofits, all very thought provoking. Some advocate for governments replacing nonprofits; others argue for governments leaving them alone. All agree that the nonprofit sector is facing a challenging era. I urge any interested person to check it out!

There are numerous opportunities out there for Volunteers In Service To America (VISTAs) in Johnson County this summer. If you are interested in a position or know someone who might be, contact Linda Yanney at 319-538-2276. Similarly, if you have ideas for VISTA projects, give Linda a call.

I find it interesting that the same people who wholeheartedly approve of a 90% tax on AIG bonuses (or just taking the bonuses back) DISAPPROVE of raising the top income tax rate from 35% to something closer to 50%.

Why does Senator Grassley express outrage at AIG, and not at other large salaries and bonuses of other top executives? While the other companies might not have received bailout money, they have received the benefit of Congressional largesse for decades.

The top income tax rate under President Eisenhower was 91%. And the US economy grew tremendously during that period. It is time we demand that the rich to carry more of the load.

A 90% tax on a $500,000 bonus still gives the recipient $50,000. That is what I earn in a year, and more than most Iowans earn. I hope the populist outrage over AIG bonuses will translate into real progressive taxation.

I am not the only person who feels this way. Check out the following thoughts from the world’s second richest man, Warren Buffet. I prefer to throw the money-changers out of the temple. But if you worship at the altar of capitalism, well… Buffet is one of America’s greatest capitalists. Buffet writes:

"The world is unfair, and I have been very lucky. I was born white - and male - in the world's richest country, to parents that took care of me, and inspired me. I could, for example, have been born a woman - in Bangladesh - with few possibilities of development. It's a big lottery.

"Imagine that you were asked - 24 hours before your own birth - what kind of a world you would create. You know nothing about who you are, where you're heading or what kind of talents you've got. Most people would want two things: a system that works for production of goods and services, and fair distribution of them. In this lottery it is necessary to take care of the people with the lousy tickets," Buffet says.

DID YOU KNOW? It takes 47 million barrels of oil to produce the 4 billion pounds of plastic water bottles used each year. 47 million barrels of oil is enough to fuel 1 million cars for a year. (Source: Physicians for Social Responsibility.)

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

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As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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