Reagan years helped poor, middle classArthur Milholland's...

the Forum

December 04, 1991

Reagan years helped poor, middle class

Arthur Milholland's Nov. 29 letter, "Blame it on the military, tax structure", and your editorial policy, can no longer go unchallenged. It is time to debunk the canard that the rich got richer and the poor got poorer under Ronald Reagan.

Income data from the U.S. Census Bureau and income tax data from the IRS reveal that, yes, the rich did get richer under Reagan, but so did the poor and the middle class.

Data from two periods, 1974-1981, mostly Carter years, and 1981-1988, the Reagan years, indicate the richest 5 percent of taxpayers' income's grew 38.6 percent under Reagan while the incomes for the lowest 50 percent grew 17.9 percent. The middle class, or the taxpayers in the middle 50-95 percent, saw their incomes rise 21.4 percent. While it is true that the rich got richer, so did the poor.

Also, the income tax of the richest 5 percent of taxpayers increased by 65 percent, to where they pay 45.6 percent of all income taxes. The income tax burden for the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers fell from 7.4 percent to 5.7 percent. Most revealing, between 1974 and 1981, income taxes for the poorest Americans increased by 24.2 percent. In the Reagan years, this group's burden fell 12.8 percent! The middle class saw its income tax burden fall from 57.2 percent under Carter to 48.7 percent under Reagan.

Wake up, liberals! The basic difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats believe the government knows how best to spend your money and takes it. Republicans believe that you know how to spend your money, and lets you keep as much as possible.

John A. Beard


Fiscal follies

Taxpayers upset by recent cuts in education funding need only go to Camden Yards or a light-rail facility to see their taxes at work! Then, all we need to do is supply our own teachers and books to make use of these excellent learning facilities.

Of course, we must buy our own books if we live in Baltimore city. It seems as if the mayor places little value on libraries, so a good number will be closed. Who needs free books?

If the governor, with his threats to get higher taxes, starts his quest to close state facilities by abolishing his job first, we'll have a real saving.

Ronald L. Dowling


Religious fraud

Something is very wrong with the prevalent religious fraud on certain television networks.

I am referring to these TV evangelists who are allowed to practice loathsome deception to lie and cheat people out of their money gaining for themselves worldly delights and financial security at the expense of foolish people who support them.

Obviously, the gullible people who endorse these ministries are to blame. If only they would wake up to how they are being duped by such unethical misconduct at the highest level, this whole corrupt "business" would fall apart. When will they learn?

Are the television networks that sell time to corrupt evangelists just as greedy for unjust gain?

In my opinion, what these evangelists are doing can only be termed criminal!

Sheila Waters


Testing, testing ...

This letter is in response to Armand Kuris' Nov. 6 column, "Animal rights, human needs."

Commonly animal researchers complain that in vitro tests cannot mimic effects on the whole body, as if animal experiments are always correct in predicting human responses. In fact, both methods have great limitations. But tissue culture does have one great advantage because human material can be used and the problem of species variation avoided.

Significantly, Thalidomide's notorious toxic effect can indeed be seen in human tissue culture, but not in rats and mice. But scientists have found a way to make in vitro systems more closely resemble the living person. Sometimes chemicals only become hazardous when metabolized, usually in the liver, so researchers include liver cells in their in vitro tests to mimic the body's metabolic processes.

Whatever preliminary experiments are carried out, however, the first really valid test of a new drug comes when it is given to healthy volunteers and patients during carefully controlled clinical trials. In vitro tests based on human tissue at least offer the prospect of predictions that directly apply to the patient and, as scientists point out, give a large degree of reassurance not provided by animal experiments.

Dave MacDonald


Rebuild America

We are approaching a crucial point in American government. A great many of our people have been excluded from the "community," and more continue to be excluded as time goes on: minorities, unskilled workers, skilled workers who are not familiar with computers or advanced technology, liberal arts graduates, people who expect a living wage, women who hope to escape a caged existence. We need programs aimed at including all members of society in the larger community.

Our first priority is basic: to provide food, shelter and clothing. Next we should repair the infrastructure roads, bridges, the environment by establishing an up-dated Civilian Conservation Corps. In the corps we should include everyone who can work. The corps could have an agricultural arm to grow basic food, a textile arm to manufacture basic clothing and a prefabricated housing arm to provide emergency shelters. Pay most of the corps members salary in paper designating items of food, shelter and clothing that could be obtained at corps warehouses. Cash could be paid to those promoted on the basis of merit.

Or, if you prefer, a thousand points of light!

Howard Brassington


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