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Data show otherwise

The Democrat-Gazette reported campaign fundraising for Arkansas congressional challengers and incumbents for the third quarter of 2019: "U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Dardanelle collected the most." The senator's campaign manager said, "Thanks to the support from thousands of Arkansans, Senator Cotton's campaign set a fundraising record this quarter."

This assertion merits clarification. According to data available from the Federal Elections Commission (fec.gov), there were a total of 1,768 "contributions from individuals." Of that number, there were 766 individual contributors--some donated smaller amounts multiple times. Of those 766, 45 were made through political action committees--42 from WinRed, two from the Koch brothers' Club for Growth, and one from the Senate Conservatives Fund.

Of those 1,768 contributions, 567, or 32 percent, originated from Arkansas. So, for the July-September passing of the hat, no, there were not "thousands of Arkansans" financially supporting the incumbent.

For the first nine months of 2019, the average individual contribution for an Arkansan was $1,094, while the average individual contribution for out-of-state donors, including many from the "coastal elite" states that the senator finds so contemptible, was $2,032. The average contribution so far this year per sponsor in the D.C. area has been over $1,800, the average from a New York donor about $1,600.

Please draw your own conclusions from these data, although my own is that it is not surprising the senator is very consistent in his voting against the interests of millions, not thousands, of ordinary Arkansans. Through our taxes, we might pay his salary, but he certainly gets the gratuities elsewhere.

STEVE KOPP

Fayetteville

Economics of casinos

The most successful entertainment business is the one that keeps its customers on-site until their budget is depleted. This requires that the customer not go to other businesses in the community but has an all-inclusive experience in one place. An obvious case of this is cruise ship vacations, in which a ship takes passengers to a series of foreign destinations, but the ship itself seeks to be a one-stop destination by providing transportation, food, lodging, entertainment, shopping, and exercise. The resulting loss of expected local economic benefit from tourism is referred to by economists as "leakage."

A casino that positions itself as a resort is much like that cruise ship in that it seeks to provide a one-stop experience, shutting out other competitors for the entertainment dollar. Local travel, tourism, and entertainment businesses are typically devoted to one product or service: a motel, restaurant, bar, aquatic center, or golf course. These businesses cannot operate for long if their products or services do not make a profit. But a casino "resort" can operate these kinds of side businesses at a loss because they are "loss leaders" which keep customers on-site so that they spend their money on the real business of a casino--gambling, which abundantly offsets losses.

In the case of Arkansas casinos, the plan is that four businesses be sold licenses to operate regional monopolies. None will have competition for that part of the casino "resort" that is the real profit center and which allows them to shut out local businesses. The local businesses that could profit in a free market cannot compete with a cas­ino's side business operating at a loss. Local communities should consider these economic impacts of a gambling monopoly.

LANE SCOTT

Russellville

What side are you on?

It's time to take sides. The impeachment proceedings have officially started. You can support the president and believe that this is nothing except the Democrats wanting to negate the 2016 election. Or, you can believe that he committed acts that improperly exceeded or abused the powers of the office, whose behavior was incompatible with the function and purpose of the office, and was misusing the office for improper purpose or for personal gain.

I didn't vote for Trump. But for those of you that did, remember, he is your standard-bearer. If you think he has the right to invite (Russia, China) or coerce (Ukraine) a foreign government to investigate a U.S. citizen for political purposes, then Trump is your man. Enough said.

VIC JACUZZI

Little Rock

Species are in danger

Climate change seems to be on everyone's mind lately. At least from what I've seen. Whether or not someone believes it's occurring or that humans have played a crucial role in climate change's development in recent history, it has been on our minds. Most would agree Earth is growing warmer and pollution is a problem.

Recently, the National Audubon Society released a climate report that described and created visuals of how North America's native bird population would be affected by an increase in global atmospheric temperatures. Roughly two thirds (389/604) of our bird species are at risk of extinction if Earth were to increase in temperature by an average of 3 degrees Celsius. That is insane! Of course there are many consequences of climate change, but to think the majority of populations pertaining to species I see each day are in danger is very eye-opening.

The community we live in is small in comparison to the world it occupies, yet within our lifetimes drastic changes will occur that will reach our neighborhoods and affect the environment which surrounds us. I am hopeful and wish for people to help by participating in sustainable habits. Little effort is required, yet the potential impact is incredible.

JAKUB JILEK

Fayetteville

Editorial on 11/04/2019

Print Headline: Letters

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