Those of us in the media often hear that we focus too much on bad news.
That may be true, but anytime we’re late reporting on a crime, scandal or disaster, we usually get criticized even more harshly.
And, now that we can track the number of views on our website and Facebook page, we can see that stories about bad things happening get more looks.
Sometimes, I doubt whether social ills can be remedied, but we can’t try to fix problems we know nothing about.
There are plenty of good stories, however, and one of them runs under a banner headline on today’s front page.
On Wednesday, publisher Nick Lewis, senior news writer Ronica Shannon and I met with three men who want to facilitate good things in our community.
Jeff Fultz, Ralph Hacker and George Ridings are promoting a way people who want to make this community a better place can make contributions that will be of benefit far into the future.
The Madison County Community Foundation is a vehicle that will allow anyone to invest in our county’s future. Donations to the foundation will be placed in safe investments, and local charities will be able to apply for grants from the endowment’s earnings.
Many needs are urgent, and donors should not ignore them as they need immediate attention. But those of a charitable spirit also should make contributions that will keep on giving.
By placing a portion of their charitable gifts in the Madison County Community Foundation’s endowment, those donations will help fill community needs far into the future.
This kind of arrangement should naturally appeal to those who have acquired wealth over a lifetime. They did so by saving and investing, and now they have an opportunity to do the same with a share of their charitable donations.
Regardless of the extent of our wealth, every penny we donate to the foundation will continue to pay dividends indefinitely.
While most givers want to help fill a need or solve a problem rather than receive a benefit, their gifts to the foundation currently qualify for substantial state and federal tax deductions.
Talk of tax reform, both in Frankfort and Washington, D.C., inevitably includes suggestions that all deductions be eliminated to help simplify what everyone regards as a far-too-complex tax system. While tax breaks for charitable donation are unlikely to be end, they could be reduced. Donors should think about that as they plan their estates and current charitable giving.
Many people insist that private charities, rather than government, should take the lead in attacking social ills. Now they have another way to back up that sentiment with real, lasting action.
Government funding can dry up, but a well-managed endowment can keep generating funds nearly forever.
Fultz, Ridings and Hacker, along with attorney Charles Hoffman, the local foundation’s chair, are among our community’s most successful and respected leaders. We can rest assured the system they lead will be well managed and profitable, providing the greatest possible benefit.
I hope you find this column as refreshing to read as it was for me to write. If you appreciate good news, you can generate more of it by responding to the Madison County Community Foundation’s appeal.
Those of us in the media often hear that we focus too much on bad news.
Slower rise in health care spending is a big deal
The sky isn't falling. The train is not wrecking. The end is not nigh. And to drag this out a bit, the tidings are not all bad.
The Social Security and Medicare trustees have spoken in their latest annual report: Social Security's not-too-serious condition remains unchanged from last year. But the outlook for Medicare, the more shaky program, has brightened modestly.
Permission sometimes easier to get than forgiveness
Forgiveness is easier to get than permission, an old adage holds. But that’s not always the case.
In local government, however, it’s usually better to let everyone know what you’re doing and offer a convincing justification before taking action.
CENTRAL KENTUCKY SHINES IN GLOBAL DEMILITARIZATION EFFORT
Too often, news is made when things go wrong. TV, print and radio and the internet are filled with worrisome headlines about international terror and wars, making it easy to feel confused, overwhelmed and helpless. But recently, Central Kentucky witnessed a positive development of which it can be proud: the attention from international disarmament leaders to our efforts to destroy lethal chemical weapons at the Blue Grass Army Depot.
Squawking about pension reform doesn’t make it so
Recently, I was a panelist on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” program about the commonwealth’s public-pension crisis.
Much of the discussion reminded me of an annoying rhetorical tactic generally reserved for parrots, but often employed by cheerleaders for bigger, more -costly government: repeating the same nonsense over and over until viewers cave to the pure monotony.
Americans deserve the IRS
Individually, Americans do not deserve to be subservient to such a fear-mongering, intimidating and powerful agency as the Internal Revenue Service; but collectively, we do. Let's look at it.
Since the 1791 ratification of our Constitution, until well into the 1920s, federal spending as a percentage of gross domestic product never exceeded 5 percent, except during war. Today federal spending is 25 percent of our GDP. State and local government spending is about 15 percent of the GDP. That means government spends more than 40 cents of each dollar we earn. If we add government's regulatory burden, which is simply a disguised form of taxation, the government take is more than 50 percent of what we produce.
It is that time of year again.
Some years ago, I was invited to speak at the graduation ceremonies of a liberal arts college. Later, many in the audience told me they expected a very political speech. Some of them were relieved; others were disappointed. I don't do politics at graduation.
Graduation is about life.
My high school graduation was OK. I gave a speech. My family was there, intact, probably as happy as they ever were (But did I know?). We went out for Chinese food afterward.
Coal problem worth tackling in Washington and Frankfort
Despite hysterical cries from radical environmentalists, neither Sen. Rand Paul’s Defense of Environment and Property Act nor Sen. Mitch McConnell’s Coal Jobs Protection Act would allow activities that bring harm to Kentucky’s wildlife or waterways for the sake of propping up the coal industry.
Peter Perlman — Life lessons from a lawyer’s lawyer
One of the great moments of my life was sitting next to legendary Louisville attorney Frank Haddad at a luncheon when he learned he had received the first Peter Perlman Outstanding Trial Lawyer award from the Kentucky Academy of Trial Lawyers.
As they started his bio, the surprised Frank started crying like a baby. A sudden heart attack took him less than a year later. Winning the Perlman award was the crowning achievement of his career.
Credit score insanity
Frequently, people stop me and ask me personal finance questions.
The most common is how to improve their credit history score.
If you need to improve your credit score, it means you have lousy credit. Before fixing the score, people need to ask how their credit got so bad to begin with.
‘Tells’ about who will blow their money
Kentucky Derby week is one where gambling takes a forefront in my life. Along with the non-stop activities in my home state, I am speaking at a dinner for the Society of Settlement Professionals in Las Vegas and a film crew from Italy is flying in from Rome to interview me for a documentary about lottery winners.
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