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Capital Accumulation, Conditions of Labor

September 11, 1997

I was astonished to learn from Robert Krol in "More to the Point: 'Capital Day' " (Commentary, Sept. 1) that "over the past three decades, U.S. accumulation of capital has slowed." Every measurement I've seen indicates that the wealthiest 5% of the people in this country have increasingly enjoyed more of the economic pie, especially during the past 17 years. Doesn't this count as "capital accumulation"? If not, does it mean that money invested overseas or squirreled away in offshore accounts does not count as U.S. capital accumulation?

Perhaps Krol should define his terms and cite figures that can be checked instead of presenting the statements he did as unquestionable fact. His thesis that broader capital gains tax reductions would increase the pool of capital available appears open to debate, given that the amassing of greater wealth at the top of our society (which will enjoy the greatest benefits of gains tax cuts) has not resulted in a corresponding increase in capital accumulation, by his own reckoning.

KEN FERMOYLE

Woodland Hills

* Krol seems to think that the existence of a Labor Day holiday unfairly tips the balance of power to the side of the workers; he calls for a new holiday--Capital Day--to redress the situation. Clearly, he hasn't been paying attention to the winner-take-all economy of recent decades. The other 364 days of the year are already Capital Day.

STEVE VANCE

Los Angeles

* Leave it to a holiday morning to rally the cry for more bashing of business ("If This Is Prosperity, Where's Mine?" Commentary, Sept. 1). Art Pulaski needs to stop his steady cry for more "sick leave, severance pay and daily overtime" and simply look around him. He might see little anxiety.

Has he not seen The Times' Real Estate articles about rising home prices, Business section articles about massive 401K and employee ownership of company stock, let alone driving anywhere and seeing sport utility vehicles, new BMW convertibles and motor homes everywhere? I read that University of Michigan consumer confidence measures are at a generational high. Might Pulaski notice the Sept. 1 lead story of Business? It spotlighted graduates of Orange County's High School of the Arts going "directly into high-paying positions at special effects shops, game companies and film studios."

Mr. Pulaski, you ask, "Why is my wallet still empty?" Anyone would advise you to show some courage, get a job and stop your whimpering.

TIM RONEY

Ventura

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