Re "Gingrich Backs Denial of Medicare to Wealthy," Dec. 9:
When Newt Gingrich suggested that retirees with over $100,000 in income will have to buy their own medical insurance, I hope he was including members of government. Congress has worked out the cushiest of retirement and medical benefits for itself and left the rest of us hanging. Lawmakers should live by the same laws they make for us. If we have to pay through the nose for our medical care, everyone in Congress should too.
And let's hear it for double dipping, cost-of-living raises and more money in yearly government retirement benefits than the average worker who is slaving away ever sees in a lifetime. Guess where all that money comes from. That little worker's tax dollars. Government's gotten so fat and sassy, not to mention greedy, it's amazing there isn't revolution.
KAREN ROBINS SODIKOFF
* The elderly of the United States must look forward to a battle to protect themselves from the Christmas Gin-grinches, so drunk with power that they attack Social Security and Medicare. Once these grinches set a high age limit for Social Security and a lower income limit for Medicare, they can slowly undermine the whole structure by raising the ceiling for Social Security and lowering the income threshold for Medicare time and time again. None of these grinches has any plan to lower the cost of health care.
These attacks on the well-being of the elderly are a declaration by the federal government to young people: "Go ahead! Spend! Spend! Spend! Savings will only be a danger to you in your old age."
MARGARET W. ROMANI
* I say cut the Social Security tax; in fact get rid of it. I would be pleased to recapture my right to plan for my own future. Cut the apron strings, oh ye "free citizens" and take care of yourselves for a change. The Kerrey-Danforth plan (Dec. 10) is not "mean-spirited" (haven't I heard that term before?). It is an economically, constitutionally sound, viable idea.
ANNA M. APOIAN
* Re "What Are the Costs in Tax Hikes or Cuts?" (Column Right, Dec. 11): The effects of supply-side economics can be discerned from Martin and Kathleen Feldstein's own statistics. They state, "When the tax rates of high-income taxpayers were cut in 1986 from 50% to 28%, taxpayers increased their taxable income by more than 40%."
Now, work the numbers. Rich taxpayer X pays 50% on say $100,000 taxable income. He keeps $50,000, the government gets $50,000. Now, increase taxable income by 40%. Taxpayer X now makes $140,000. At the lower 28% rate, the rich taxpayer now pays $39,200 and keeps $100,800. X gets richer, the government loses $10,800, and the shortfall is made up by the rest of us or left on the table as deficit, just like it actually happened.
* Isn't it time that we started thinking about limiting the tax exemption for children instead of increasing it as proposed by the Republicans and President Clinton? At one time in the early days of this country, this deduction made sense, to have it for an unlimited number of children, but this obviously is no longer the case. How about helping to balance the budget by limiting the exemption to two!