Saturday's Mailbox


November 17, 2007

Those poor rich people

Thanks to Jonah Goldberg for reminding us of the plight of the filthy rich - a tiny, too-often neglected minority - but I fear that he exaggerates their travails a bit ("The `rich people curse' in politics," Opinion

Commentary, Nov. 14).

Certainly, the filthy rich suffer much, what with the occasional call to pay taxes, the difficulty of finding good help amid anti-immigrant fervor, and the insatiable gnawing of their own pitiless greed. And think of the ugly stereotypes we so callously bandy about, particularly during this holiday season with its hurtful "Scrooge" caricature. Personally, I shudder even to contemplate the anguish the filthy rich must endure.

In the truest holiday spirit, we, the middle class, should resolve to be less intolerant of our filthy rich cousins. Let us, as good patriotic Americans, open our hearts and our wallets to this misunderstood minority in the pursuit of mindless consumerism and empty bourgeois values.

This simple proverb gives me perspective on our filthy rich citizens: There, but for the tax code, go I. Mr. Goldberg is right. The filthy rich deserve all we can give them to compensate their pain.

Jim Salvucci


Instead of fair taxes, we get slot machines

Members of the General Assembly should be ashamed of themselves for what seems like trying to pull a fast one on Maryland's citizens in the special session.

Gov. Martin O'Malley proposed a modest progressive tax reform, but it was all but erased by the Senate and only partially restored by the House ("O'Malley promise on taxes erased," Nov. 13). Apparently, we will remain the wealthiest state in the union with one of the flattest tax structures in the U.S.

Instead, the General Assembly is choosing to "put to the people" the option of using slots to solve our budget crisis.

So the Assembly and those representatives from the richest of our counties, some of the wealthiest in the nation, get to avoid a marginal tax increase for the voters on whom their jobs depend. Instead, they'll wait a year, and when the voters have long since forgotten the General Assembly's unwillingness to share the financial burden of a just tax structure, voters will be asked to approve slots as our only way out of fiscal crisis. And sadly, we'll likely pass slots - and so we will once again ask the lower-income citizens, who disproportionately gamble, to bear the brunt of bailing us out of our fiscal crisis.

The wealthiest state in the union should be ashamed of itself.

Laurel Tiernay


Beware: Gambling spreads like a weed

I can certainly agree with one thing in the Nov. 13 editorial "Gambling's payoff": Those seeking these licenses will be looking for more slots and more locations in the years to come.

That means that if the public passes slots into law, we are likely not many years away from seeing slots parlors (or worse) floating on the Chesapeake Bay. How would it make Marylanders and visitors feel to see glowing slots signs under the Bay Bridge or floating off Annapolis?

I hope people are looking past the claims of fast cash. Coming from New Jersey, I can tell you that gambling is as pervasive as a weed, and it is very hard to limit once you let it in.

I'm voting no, because after this tax bill, all I can afford to do is look at the bay.

W. Kraus


Tax increases hurt small businesses

What is done is done, and we are just going to have to learn our lesson the hard way ("O'Malley promise on taxes erased," Nov. 13).

I agree that some taxes have to be raised to help balance the budget. However, the tax burden now is too much of a burden to bear, especially on small businesses. As it is, too many people are moving their businesses and doing their shopping out of the state, and even moving out themselves.

What we may need next election is a conservative Democrat as governor, one who would make the rich and the gas and oil companies pay their fair share, but in so doing would not drive businesses, and taxpayers, out of the state.

Judson M. Brandes


Fairness means equal treatment

The editorial board of The Sun has a very interesting concept of fairness, as expressed in its lead editorial of Nov. 16 ("What fairness requires"). It's only fair, the editorial claims, that those with higher incomes pay higher tax rates. I always thought that fairness implied the treating of all parties alike, justly and equitably.

Note to the editors: Socialism doesn't work. It stifles incentive and punishes the most productive members of society.

Michael Ries


Privacy shouldn't be a matter for debate

Let's make one thing clear: Privacy without anonymity doesn't exist. Donald Kerr, deputy director of national intelligence, would have American citizens believe otherwise ("Privacy a matter for debate, U.S. intelligence official says," Nov. 12).

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