April 23, 2009

Protests prompted by excess spending

For once we have to congratulate Jay Hancock and The Baltimore Sun for presenting a very good analysis of the recent Tax Day demonstrations we were privileged to participate in last week in Annapolis ("Let's cut spending and raise taxes," April 18).

The tea party crowd was made up, for the most part, of earnest citizens whose main complaint was not paying taxes but the profligate spending of our current and former government.

Taking on new initiatives at a time of economic malaise is not wise and doesn't address the many issues left on the table now for years, including the inadequate funding for the Social Security and Medicare programs that grow more out of hand every year.

We are fully capable of understanding the need for changes in the way social needs are funded, and we will pay for value received.

But when our legislators spend their time on the agendas of the contributors to their re-election campaigns and not on the people's issues, we will rebel.

That is what last week's demonstrations were all about.

Sam Davis Carol Davis, Towson

No one objected to fair taxation

Please allow me to enlighten the writer of the letter "Tax protesters just sore losers" (April 17) about the real purpose of the tea parties hundreds of thousands of people attended on Tax Day.

The word "tea" stood for "taxed enough already."

No one was saying that we didn't want to pay fair taxes, and we realize taxes are necessary to keep government running.

What we were expressing was our outrage at things such as spending $2 million to find out why pigs stink, paying taxes to support illegal aliens in this country, paying taxes to keep people on welfare and paying taxes to bail out companies that committed fraud.

Jane Pollutra, Abingdon

Loopholes unfair to most taxpayers

Whatever your perspective about the level of taxes, taxes should be fair ("Staging a revolt," April 16).

But today, more than 80 percent of the largest companies in America - including AIG and Citigroup - hide profits in offshore locations such as the Cayman Islands to avoid paying as much as $100 billion a year in taxes.

This outrageous loophole leaves the rest of us paying more. And indeed, the Maryland Public Interest Research Group estimates that tax avoidance by corporate America costs Maryland taxpayers $1.9 billion every year.

President Barack Obama has presented a plan to fix a tax code that has been twisted by banks and corporations.

If his budget blueprint moves forward, April 15, 2009 will be the last Tax Day when high-priced accountants and secret post office boxes are valued over hard work and accountability.

I urge our representatives to follow the lead of the president and support his plan to restore fairness to the tax code by closing offshore tax havens.

Johanna E. Neumann, Baltimore

The writer is state director for the Maryland Public Interest Research Group.

Admitting mistake is model behavior

I'm delighted that Maryland legislators gave Michael Phelps a standing ovation ("Phelps isn't ideal as model for kids," letters, April 15).

And please, let's just get over the picture of Mr. Phelps with the bong.

Mr. Phelps has apologized for his misstep, and to me that makes him a role model.

We live in an age when just about anyone caught in an ugly situation proclaims himself a victim. How refreshing that Mr. Phelps owned up to his mistake.

We need more people like that.

Rosalind Ellis, Baltimore

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