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Paternalism

October 14, 1986

A disturbing aspect of the new tax law is the exclusion of 6 million working poor from income tax rolls. On its face, this sounds like an altruistic gesture toward those unable to contribute their share of the tax burden. It is more likely a case of cynical paternalism engineered by a plutocratic elite to assure that the poor be shunted aside and do not participate as equal citizens in the nation's affairs.

Even a $1 assessment would have made the poor feel they were contributing something. We are not talking here about the penniless, but about those earning $17,000 or less. These are the objects of a kind of economic apartheid; an arrogant dismissal of the have-nots by the haves. This does not seem consistent with our philosophy of equality under the law.

LAWRENCE LOWREY

Santa Monica

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