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The Baltimore Sun

Wealthy don't pay fair share of taxes

Kudos to Dan Rodricks for raising the subject of tax fairness ("Well-to-do go to war over the U.S. income gap," Oct. 21). The fact is that the rich have not been paying their fair share for many years.

Warren E. Buffett pointed out recently that he pays a lower total tax rate than his secretary does. This is not a unique case, considering reductions in tax rates for the wealthy under President Bush as well as the many tax loopholes and evasions available to them.

One reader deplores raising taxes on the wealthy because he says they represent the most productive members of our society ("Wealthy already pay lion's share of taxes," letters, Oct. 24). I beg to differ, especially as many are Wall Street scoundrels and others were simply born into families of wealth.

As for the argument that budget woes should be solved by cuts in government spending, I ask: Exactly what programs need to be cut? Spending on infrastructure, or health, or education, or support to the elderly, children and the handicapped and homeless? I think not. Many of these programs are drastically underfunded at present.

Jack Kinstlinger, Baltimore

Taxes the price paid for civilization

Dan Rodricks' columns on income disparity and tax policy continue to draw protestations ("Wealthy already pay lion's share of taxes," Oct. 24). Maybe it's time again to recall Oliver Wendell Holmes' comment on taxes: "I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization."

It's a patriot's duty to pay one's fair share of what it costs to live in a civilized society.

Of course, I'm not always keen on how my tax money is sometimes spent, but that's why I try to identify and vote for civilized representatives to make those decisions.

Mary Beacom Bowers, Baltimore

Who really decided 2000 presidential race?

I challenge the suggestion on The Baltimore Sun's front page that Florida "decided the 2000 race" for president ("Obama's strength highlights changes in the South," Oct. 26).

That race was in fact decided by a single vote on the U.S. Supreme Court, with no real resolution of the challenged Florida vote count.

Franklin T. Evans, Baltimore

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