Letters to the editor from Highland Park and Deerfield residents.
Of taxes and jobs
This is in response to a recent letter to the editor that proposes a $1 tax on sports-ticket sales as a way to pay for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
I am writing with a better idea — better because it actually addresses the root of the problem.
The problem: When American companies employ people in China or the Philippines to sew seams or answer the phone, those employees are not contributing to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax, which is how Social Security and Medicare have traditionally been funded. It is time to think outside the box, or better yet, to think inside the box.
My proposal: With the exception of raw materials destined for factories here in the U.S., each and every container removed from a ship in our ports should be charged a flat tax of $1,000 (which would probably translate to mere pennies per item within the container). And furthermore, each and every phone call diverted from a toll-free number here to a call center overseas should be charged a flat tax of $1.
Tariffs collected at our ports (and per diverted phone call) could help fund Social Security and Medicare. They could also be used to pay for infrastructure improvements in this great land of ours, infrastructure improvements that could really get our economy humming again.
But way more important is that these tariffs I am advocating could help encourage companies to bring factories (and call centers) back from overseas, putting even more Americans back to work, which wouldn't be a bad thing, in my humble opinion.
— Elizabeth Bloom Albert, Highland Park
Is there one truly legitimate reason why the pump price of gasoline is so high?
— Samuel Solomon, Deerfield
Columnist Dennis Byrne's xenophobia reached new heights with "How to avoid the pickpockets in Rome? Don't go" (Commentary, June 11).
Byrne acts as though he has discovered a new phenomenon.
Pickpockets in Rome? I am shocked!
Did he not read any travel books on Rome? This has been an issue in Rome for years. My history teacher in high school in the 1970s related to us many glorious tales of his Roman trips but always cautioned us about the pickpockets.
But what I find most amusing is Byrne's insistence that no one visit Rome until this problem is under control.
He sounds like another ugly American unable to cope with anything but his sterile suburban life lived in a "safety bubble."
Face it: Every nation has some issue that we don't face at home. Should we all stay home in fear because we can't control every aspect of a foreign country?
Maybe all Europeans should skip Chicago since there are gang shootings here and, after all, you can never be too safe.
My advice: Ignore Byrne and travel the world, but use your common sense — something that appears to be in short supply for him.
— Roger Sosa, Highland Park