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Readers Respond

BY HBSDEALER Staff

On the legality of healthcare reform

“Small businesses need healthcare reform to lower costs. If Obamacare is thrown out, something needs to replace it. Romney needs to address what he would replace it with.

“Responsible small businesses offer health care to their employees. The current system keeps increasing costs at double digits each year. That cannot last.”
— Dick Wegner
Portland, Ore.

How big is too big?
The following letters are in response to an article about large-format stores.

“If the builder of these stores provide powered carts for the disabled, as many supermarkets do, that’s fine. Asking someone who is aged to walk through those big stores is asking your customer to go above and beyond to shop there.”
— Bill Keller
St. Louis
 

“Menards are larger in Chicago, and I shop there first. The larger selection, the better. Depot should have done this five years ago. I do not mind the huge non-home improvement product offering. In fact I go there just to see what is new.”
— Anonymous

“If you’ve ever gone to a ‘regular’-sized big-box store and walked the entire perimeter looking for just three things, then you know a store twice the size will require electric carts to navigate.

“Bigger stores are insane. I was thinking smaller might work better or better layouts that actually help you find stuff.”
— Tom D.

“In my opinion, how many facings of one product does one need? I prefer smaller stores and smarter employees.”
— Michael Jones

The Buffett Rule: Pros and cons
The following letters responded to an article about a proposal, which failed in the Senate, for a minimum 30% tax on millionaires and billionaires.

“It really doesn’t make as significant a financial difference ($4.5 billion over 10 years) whether the Buffett Rule is passed or not. This just sets a tone where one party favors more equal treatment for all income levels, and the other favors or protects the higher income-level people. Some people still believe that ‘trickle down’ economics really works, after years of evidence that it doesn’t work. That is so much a part of their DNA that they can’t see any other way.

"A more important issue is to let the Bush tax cuts expire for all income levels. That will generate around $226 billion in additional revenue over 10 years that can help to pay down the debt and support programs that can continue to stimulate the economy that is growing, but at too slow a rate.

"Also, the entire tax code needs to be redone to eliminate most of the loopholes that were added for special interest groups of all kinds and determine the correct tax rates and brackets that would be considered ‘fair’ to all income levels, personal and business.”
— Wayne Reimer

“The question should be, do we want even more money taken out of our economy? There are two opposing views. The first believes that we are better off when the government is in charge of and has more money. The second believes that we are better off when private citizens are in charge of and have more money. The multiplier effect is always greater when private citizens are in charge of their money as stated by almost all economists. Whether a person is rich or poor, taking more money from anyone weakens our economy. America’s problem is not that tax revenues are too low. Our problem is that government is too big.”
— Jeff Wilson

“Your question assumes the assertion that millionaires are paying a lower rate (percentage) of tax than the average household. Check the facts with the IRS. Millionaires pay an average of 23%, while the average household paid 11%. (Source: Michael Medved, 04/17/2012)

“Maybe if enough media sources (like yours) would tell the true story, we would expose the lies of this sort.

“So the question is moot.”
— Bruce Hood

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Builders FirstSource sees “momentum”

BY HBSDealer Staff

Momentum appears strong, but profits remain elusive for Builders FirstSource, the industry’s sole remaining publicly traded chain of lumberyards.

On the positive side of the ledge, the company posted its third straight quarter of sales increases of greater than 20%. But the company’s first-quarter loss was $19.1 million, which narrowed slightly from a loss of $21.1 million in the first quarter of 2011.

CEO Floyd Sherman sees market-share gains for his Dallas-based LBM dealer. “Our sales growth continues to outpace construction activity as actual U.S. single-family housing starts were up only 16.8% compared with the same quarter last year, and U.S. single-family units under construction actually decreased 5.0% over the same period,” he said.

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Following up: Made in the USA, or not?

BY HBSDealer Staff

The February issue of Home Channel News looked at a variety of angles of the “Made in the USA” trend. But for a view of the controversy surrounding the definition, look to a San Diego courtroom.

That’s where a settlement to a class-action lawsuit launched against grill manufacturer Weber over its “Made in USA” claims is heading to a final approval hearing July 20.

The original lawsuit filed in February last year alleged that Weber violated the law by designating Weber grills and certain accessories as “Made in USA.” The complaint pointed specifically to the charcoal grate and the charcoal separator (both made in China) and the hinged grilling grate, made in Taiwan.

On its website, Weber denies any wrongdoing: “Weber believes that because all Weber grills and the disputed accessories are designed and engineered in the USA, and all grills save for one line are manufactured and assembled in the USA using component parts primarily made in the USA, it did nothing wrong.”

Still, the case winds on.

The proposed settlement provides a payment of $2.00, $5.00 or $9.00 to class members composed of those who purchased a Weber grill or accessory between Feb. 15, 2007, and Feb. 15, 2012. Weber also agreed to pay costs of the settlement process. 

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