Unfortunately, Dan Rodricks' column about our so-called "progressive" tax system in Maryland ("Land of pleasant living — thanks to your taxes, folks" March 25) has it wrong. The alleged "rate" of income tax is not the same as the true percentage of your annual income that you pay under state and federal income tax systems. You can have an apparently high rate, but given the abundance of tax shelters and various tax breaks that are available primarily to the wealthy, you can end up paying little or no tax. For decades now, the wealthy having been paying much, much less than the middle class in terms of the true percentage of total income. It has only gotten worse in the last 20 years. Mr. Rodricks ought to know that. How does he think the tax codes get written?