Taxes and in­come

Los Angeles Times - - Opinion -

Re “Too rich to last,” Opin­ion, Sept. 23

Pro­fes­sors Ja­cob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson are right on the mark about the in­creas­ingly de­struc­tive role of money in our po­lit­i­cal sys­tem.

We are fast be­com­ing a 21st cen­tury feu­dal so­ci­ety.

With the huge gap be­tween the wealth of the rich and the poor and the shrink­ing mid­dle class, we now have the “lords” who use their wealth to pro­mote their own ends with the “vas­sals” (read “mem­bers of Congress”) and the serfs who will work for any­thing to keep their fam­i­lies alive.

Can our Amer­i­can democ­racy be saved?

Glo­ria Van Gieson

North Hills

The Op-Ed ar­ti­cle was ex­cel­lent and needs to be widely read. The au­thors could have sub­sti­tuted “Amer­ica” for “democ­racy” and still been right.

Not only are grow­ing dis­par­i­ties in in­come lu­di­crous and un­fair, they will ul­ti­mately bring the econ­omy to its knees.

Though the bankers and fi­nan­cial al­chemists have been healed by govern­ment bailouts, mil­lions of Amer­i­cans are un­em­ployed or un­der­em­ployed.

Our econ­omy de­pends on con­sump­tion, but con­sump­tion has been crip­pled by a com­bi­na­tion of job losses, flat wages, home fore­clo­sures and un­cer­tainty. Shift­ing more na­tional in­come to the wealthy re­sults in less con­sump­tion, not more, which in turn de­creases de­mand for most goods and ser­vices. With busi­nesses sell­ing less, they have no in­cen­tive to in­vest.

Shift enough to the wealth­i­est peo­ple and the econ­omy will ul­ti­mately stag­nate, rais­ing un­em­ploy­ment to un­ac­cept­able lev­els and in­creas­ing anguish al­most ev­ery­where.

Gary Peters

Paso Robles

The great­est dan­ger to Amer­i­can democ­racy is the class ha­tred spewed by pro­gres­sives like Hacker and Pierson.

The free mar­ket is re­spon­si­ble for Amer­ica hav­ing a high stan­dard of liv­ing. The au­thors ig­nore that more money in pri­vate hands has al­ways re­sulted in more in­vest­ment and job cre­ation.

The so-called pro­gres­sive in­come tax has been a to­tal dis­as­ter. Rates have grown to con­fis­ca­tory lev­els for ev­ery­one and have re­sulted in eco­nomic im­pris­on­ment. Those be­hind this dra­co­nian scheme have used it to im­ple­ment their so­cial jus­tice quack­ery, cre­at­ing par­a­sitic govern­ment bu­reau­cra­cies that bal­loon in size and de­mand more money each year.

Pat Mur­phy

Pa­cific Pal­isades

What more do you want from us? You have told us that the mid­dle class is taxed enough, but then you make us give those who are in our county il­le­gally ev­ery­thing they want.

You tell us that you will add taxes to the rich, then give re­cov­ery money to banks so that their ex­ec­u­tives can have huge bonuses for run­ning the bank into bank­ruptcy.

You say you are go­ing to lower the cost of health­care, and then you put in a pro­gram for which we will have to pay.

I can no longer af­ford you mak­ing my life bet­ter. I go to work ev­ery day and work very hard to give my fam­ily a bet­ter life, and you take it all away.

More than half of my wages go to pay the taxes that are as­sessed me in one way or an­other: in­come taxes, sales taxes, prop­erty taxes, So­cial Se­cu­rity taxes, ex­cise taxes, gaso­line taxes. What more do you want from us?

Michael Bray

Ran­cho Pa­los Verdes

The au­thors are to be com­mended and ap­plauded for their in­tel­li­gent, ra­tio­nal anal­y­sis and com­men­tary. They pro­vide an in­sight­ful view and his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive of tax-cut­ting agen­das and the ef­fect on our democ­racy as well as on our econ­omy.

It is be­yond my com­pre­hen­sion how the GOP fa­vors tax cuts as a so­lu­tion for vir­tu­ally ev­ery so­cioe­co­nomic ill that con­fronts us. Sup­ply-side or trickle-down eco­nom­ics have failed time and time again, so what would tax cuts for the top 2% do to pro­vide eco­nomic re­lief to­day?

Dan Pel­low

Westch­ester

I didn’t need to read the bios to know that the au­thors were eg­gheads toil­ing in academia — the gen­eral clue­less­ness of their piece was a dead give­away.

They claim to be puz­zled why some Democrats sup­port ex­tend­ing the Bush tax cuts to up­per­in­come groups, but what is re­ally puz­zling is why they don’t ven­ture out of their ivory tow­ers from time to time.

The un­spo­ken as­sump­tion that runs through their piece is ex­actly why lib­er­als al­ways over­step their am­bi­tions, even when, as in 2008, they come to power with so much good­will. That as­sump­tion is that govern­ment has the right to con­fis­cate peo­ple’s earn­ings at what­ever level it feels it needs at any given moment.

We may fume about in­come dis­par­i­ties, but a stronger in­cli­na­tion rails against the govern­ment’s tak­ing of peo­ple’s in­come, how­ever high that in­come might be.

Tom Gil­roy

Man­hat­tan Beach

I’m struck by the lan­guage used by the au­thors in their dis­missal of tax cuts for the “rich.” The au­thors say that “even as the rich grew vastly richer, Washington de­cided they needed more help.” “Help”? If you are now able to keep a greater per­cent­age of the money you have earned, can that re­ally be ex­plained as Washington “help­ing” you?

Whose money is it? It’s yours, and Washington doesn’t “help” you sim­ply by let­ting you keep more of what you have earned.

Anne Kemp Hum­mel

Wood­land Hills

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