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Letters to the editor 2/4

February 04, 2003

Those who pay most deserve a tax break



To the editor:


Mr. Sullivan's letter (1/26) regarding tax cuts prompted me to write. I, personally, am tired of hearing that giving a tax cut to the wealthy takes something from the poor. As far as I know, "Mr. Financially Secure" worked for his money and the taxes that were withheld and ultimately paid were from his income that the government takes to use for whatever they want. Somehow the left has instilled the notion into the common man that this is taking money from the poor and giving to the rich. This ideology smacks of socialism.

The top 1 percent of all wage earners in the U.S., that is, those earning $313,469 or more, and who represent about 20 percent of total income in our country, pay 37.42 percent of all federal income taxes. The top 5 percent, which includes the above group and those earning $128,366 or more, represent about 35 percent of total income in the country and pay 56.47 percent of all taxes.

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The third group, the top 10 percent of all wage earners, which includes the above two groups, earn $92,144 and above, represent about 46 percent of all income in the U.S. and they pay 67.33 percent of all taxes.

These may still seem like high earnings to a lot of people, but the next two steps will probably include a lot of readers, especially those from two-income families.

The top 25 percent of all wage earners, which includes all of the above as well, earn about $55,225 or more, represent about 67 percent of all income and they pay 84.01 percent of all taxes. The final group in these statistics are the top 50 percent of income earners in our country. This group includes all of the above groups and those earning $27,682 or more. This group represents about 87 percent of all income and the most startling thing about these statistics, is the percentage of taxes that this top 50 percent pays - 96.09 percent of all taxes.

Now looking at this and drawing the most logical conclusions, 50 percent of the people in the U.S., those earning less that $27,682 in income, pay only 3.94 percent in taxes.

Isn't it time that the people paying 96 percent of the taxes get a break? Will it harm the rest of the country? Not historically. The tax cuts enacted by JFK and Reagan were followed by economic growth.

The money that politicians are spending is nothing but the money that people have worked hard for and dutifully submitted to the IRS each year.

Perhaps instead of complaining about tax cuts, politicians should learn to live within their budget like the average person and cut out the pork and frivolous spending.

Marie Vargas

Hagerstown




Community must not tolerate hate crimes



To the editor:


Thanks to the The Herald-Mail for good news coverage and editorial comments about the recent acts of vandalism at the mosque of the Islamic Society of Western Maryland.

While I cannot speak for the entire Christian community, I believe many folks join me in expressing our sadness and anger that this kind of act would go on against any religious community in Washington County. This is not some kind of adolescent "acting out" when it is done again and again. Acts like this coupled with the July bomb scare can certainly be understood as "hate crimes."

They erode the trust that we need to live peacefully together. We should not tolerate this criminal behavior, in spite of the paranoia that exists because of our nation's "war on terrorism" and the preparations to go to war against Iraq.

Not only do these acts violate the law but they also weaken our sense of community. Let us stand beside our Muslim brothers and sisters as we seek together to build tolerance and civility among all God's people. Peace often begins at home.

This makes the work of interfaith dialogue even more urgent. As the current coordinator of The Interfaith Coalition of Washington County, I want to invite you to participate in our public forums. These events offer opportunities for dialogue with members of the Islamic, Jewish, Christian and other faiths so that we can help create understanding, respect and tolerance.

Join us on March 4 and April 1 downtown at the Frostburg State University (Community Room) from 7 to 9 p.m.

Pastor Edward L. Poling

Hagerstown Church of the Brethren

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