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Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008 05:12 pm

Letters to the Editor

Untitled Document We welcome letters. Please include your full name, address, and telephone number. We edit all letters. Send them to Letters, Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705; fax 217-753-3958; e-mail editor@illinoistimes.com.
THE REST OF THE STORY Tom Rand of Naperville is far more guilty of ignoring “facts, sound logic [and] reasoned conclusions” than those he accuses of the same [“Letters,” Jan. 10]. Rand asserts that because the share of income tax paid by the wealthy (the richest 1 percent and 5 percent) increased by a larger fraction than did their share of total personal income, from 1990 through 2000 to 2005, despite the Bush tax cuts, they must not be enjoying “tax cuts for the rich.” The data Rand culled to provide his “facts” show clearly the opposite.
Consider three segments of the population: the wealthiest 1 percent, the wealthiest 5 percent (which includes the wealthiest 1 percent), and those whose incomes lie between [that of] the wealthiest 25 percent and the poorest 50 percent (the 26 to 50 percent quartile). Among the wealthiest 1 percent, the average adjusted gross income in 2005 was a little over $1.2 million, among the wealthiest 5 percent, $404,781, and in the 26 to 50 percent quartile, $44,502. Because of the Bush tax cuts, the tax paid by the average 1 percent taxpayer dropped from $329,477 in 2005 (calculated using the percentage of income paid as tax in 2000, 27.45 percent) to $277,602. This $51,875 tax cut compares with one of $14,728 for the average 5 percent taxpayer and one of $1,045 for the 26 to 50 percent taxpayer. While the lower-income taxpayer did see his taxes drop by 25 percent, in contrast to the two higher-income taxpayers (16 percent for the 1 percent taxpayer and 15 percent for the 5 percent taxpayer — can you see why the far right wing loves percentages so much?), what could he realistically do with the extra $1,045? Buy a new refrigerator? It certainly wouldn’t go far in paying for health insurance! The 5 percent taxpayer could have sent one of his children to a more expensive university, and the 1 percent taxpayer could have made a good start on buying a second home. In fact, both of the higher-income taxpayers probably invested their tax cuts in high-yield securities, while the lower-income taxpayer was likely forced to spend his tax cut on incidental expenses. Who among these three needs his tax cut the worst? Another problem with Rand’s logic is that he assumes that federal income taxes tell most or all of the individual taxpayer’s story. If one adds in the effects of payroll and sales taxes, the Bush tax cuts begin to look even more grimly skewed to the wealthy. To keep my letter brief, I will omit discussion of the failures of Rand’s logic with regard to the effects of these tax cuts on the budget deficit, the national debt, the value of the U.S. dollar, federal infrastructure, and myriad other problems on a now-approaching-endless list. I also omit the federal revenue lost to billionaires avoiding taxation of salaries by compensation as “carried interest.”
In summary, liberals do not bash George W. Bush’s “tax cuts for the rich” because they dislike facts, logic, or reason or wish to pursue an “ideology of envy and mythology of blame”; they bash them because liberals have considered all the facts, applied incisive logic, and made warranted conclusions. I encourage Rand to dump his Limbaugh talking points and become educated about federal tax policy, as well as basic statistical methods, so that he can begin to do the same. Kay Marie Philon Springfield
“MEANEST MOM” HAS IT RIGHT Bravo to news reports about the “meanest mom on the planet” from Iowa who sold her son’s car after she found alcohol under the seat, then placed an ad in the newspaper announcing it. Those of us working to prevent children and teens from using alcohol and other drugs constantly tell parents that they must make their expectations about no drug use clear to their kids and then be prepared to follow through on the consequences if they break those rules. If more parents would be firm in telling their teenagers that under no circumstances will alcohol or other drug use be tolerated, we’d have fewer deaths, addictions, unplanned pregnancies, date rapes, and other tragedies that result when teenagers get high. The first step is for parents to talk to their kids about drugs and make it clear that no drug use is acceptable. Then be prepared to enforce the consequences. While that may be hard, getting a call from the police — or the morgue — is harder.
Karel Ares
Executive director
Prevention First

It is way past time to end this childish fiasco happening at the Capitol. We the people need to force an end to this fiasco. It’s really a simple process, so let me start: Mr. Governor, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Senate President . . . you are fired! See how simple that was? I don’t expect these fools will actually pack up and leave because I fired them. I am, however, suggesting that we start a massive letter and e-mail campaign with that simple message: “You are fired!”
We need to flood these fools with letters and e-mails every day — until they understand it. They were elected to do a job and are apparently incapable of doing it, so they are fired. It doesn’t matter who is “right or wrong” at this point. Since they aren’t doing their job, we shouldn’t be paying them. They can go off in some obscure part of the world and continue their childish pouts — but not on our dollars.
A copy or the e-mail and letter needs to be sent all the other elected officials. Representatives and Senators, you are on probation! If you do not use your power and influence to fire these people, you will be fired, too! Enough is enough. Jeff Davis

TALKING HOMELESSNESS TO DEATH Homelessness is a serious problem, and Springfield has yet to seriously address this issue [R.L. Nave, “Sending out another SOS,” Jan. 3]. I have lived in Springfield 30 years and have never seen this issue seriously addressed. We have talked this issue to death, and nothing measurable has happened. Before the John Hay Homes were torn down, some of the homeless could have been housed there at zero rent. Many of the homeless would qualify for Supplemental Security Income. Substance abuse is no excuse for leaving people on the streets. All the groups, past and present, that were going to address homelessness are still talking. Vacant buildings that could have been rehabbed for the homeless to get off the streets were torn down. Some of the homeless could not live independently and would need to be housed in a place that would provide room and board. Others who are on the streets need a hand up and direction. The various shelters do what they can, but the homeless need a “system” to restore them to a permanent address. Some of the homeless, once housed, could get permanent employment. Other states have purchased old schools, hotels, and other buildings to house the homeless.
I am not saying that Springfield should set up a system that would encourage homelessness, but we do need a system that will address the homeless that we do have. E.P. Shackelford Springfield
GETTING SENIORS OFF THE ROADS I have not agreed with our esteemed governor lately, but I see the wisdom in something he has proposed. He says that seniors should get a free ride on public transport. Think about it. Public transportation is paid for by us in a large way. If seniors get to use it free, it would reduce the number of people past the age of being effective drivers from being hazards to the rest of us on the roads. There would be less traffic all together. There would be less fuel used and pollution. Seniors would have more freedom to get out of the house more and probably be healthier. The money they saved could pay for groceries and meds. It seems like a good idea to me. Patrick Johnopolos Springfield
BEING PLAYED FOR A SUCKER Hillary Clinton is guilty of planting a question in the audience. Isn’t that a confidence builder? The U.S. is being run like a big shell game, and John Q. Public is being played for a sucker. Dishonesty comes in many forms. Bernard Reichart New Berlin
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