Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 26, 2004

Wealthy people bear the brunt of tax burden

The Sun's editorial "The GOP tax agenda" (Aug. 20) notes that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the top 1 percent of all taxpayers have reaped a third of the benefits from the tax cuts.

This may seem unfair to most readers. But the editorial conveniently fails to mention that the top 1 percent of taxpayers pay about one-third of the nation's taxes. Had this been brought to light, it would have exposed the ultimate fairness of the tax cut, and presumably failed to support The Sun's agenda.

These tax cuts, which The Sun described as "heavily skewed," are that way because our "progressive" tax structure is heavily skewed. In 2004, 82.1 percent of the nation's tax liability will fall on the shoulders of only 20 percent of the taxpayers (the highest income quintile), while under the old 2000 tax law, they would have been responsible for "only" 78.4 percent of the load.

Are we to continue calling this tax structure "progressive" or "equitable"? Are we to believe that the top 20 percent of income producers reap 80 percent of the benefits of our government infrastructure?

The tax relief bill was designed with an objective in mind. The objective was tax relief, not welfare. When you refund money to those who paid taxes, it is called tax relief. Those who pay the most get the biggest refund.

Ignoring that fact, and giving most of the tax relief to those who paid little or no tax, is not "tax relief." It is a redistribution of wealth. It is called "socialism."

William Paparounis

Parkville

Ranks of uninsured blot Bush's record

The nearly 44 million people in America who lack health insurance constitute a national disgrace and a blot on the Bush administration ("Health care tops president's to-do list," Opinion * Commentary, Aug. 23).

While all of the blame should not rest on the shoulders of President Bush, during his administration the problem has worsened.

In his campaign for re-election, Mr. Bush is quick to promise solutions to pressing problems, but his record, after nearly four years in office, is humdrum at best.

Albert E. Denny

Baltimore

City should support St. Paul St. project

As a homeowner in Charles Village, I would have sympathy for Ann Hurlock and Daniel F. Jackson Jr. if they actually occupied the properties blocking the redevelopment of St. Paul Street ("Charles Village project faces new hurdle," Aug. 20).

But as absentee landlords, they represent the worst plague on Baltimore: greedy speculators and nonresidents who sit on valuable properties, preventing the revitalization that would improve the quality of life for those of us who live here.

It's time for the city to step up and allow the redevelopment to move forward on behalf of the majority of Charles Village residents who support the project.

Carol Baker

Baltimore

Absentee landlords prevent progress

As a long-time Charles Village resident, I was saddened to read "Charles Village projects faces new hurdle" (Aug. 20). Clearly the vultures are circling the area.

It is worth noting that neither Ann Hurlock nor Daniel F. Jackson Jr. lives in Charles Village. Those who do must suffer the consequences of their greed.

David Bergman

Baltimore

Anti-Kerry smears are all too familiar

As a young Marine in World War II, I earned my Purple Heart on Iwo Jima 59 years ago. And I deeply resent the right-wing extremists, who are financed by the Republican elite, doing the same low-level smear on Sen. John Kerry's war record that they did on the best the GOP has to offer, Sen. John McCain.

Henry Koellein Jr.

Severna Park

Comparing Sharon, Arafat isn't correct

The mistake in reporter Peter Hermann's article "Israeli, Palestinian leaders battle growing opposition from within" (Aug. 19) is the basic premise of the piece.

Mr. Hermann continually compares the democratically elected leader of a true democratic nation to the autocratic leader of a corrupt organization. But Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat have nothing in common.

While Mr. Sharon works to protect his nation and battles a tough political Israeli system to achieve his goals, Mr. Arafat clings to his self-appointed power by delegating cronies and yes men to positions of power.

Yet, while Mr. Hermann writes paragraphs about Mr. Arafat's "surprisingly candid admissions," he glosses over Mr. Arafat's continual blame of Israel for the corruption of his own organization.

Mr. Hermann also errs when he writes, "How the two leaders deal with these problems -- adamant opposition to dismantling Jewish settlements for Sharon, growing impatience by Palestinians with corruption and chaos for Arafat -- will shape whether and how Israel and the Palestinians try to end four years of violence."

This formulation ignores Palestinian terrorism and the fact that it is solely responsible for the violence.

No terrorism equals no Israeli response. It's that simple. It always has been.

Kenneth S. Friedman

Baltimore

Pursuing protesters, war hurts security

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