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Charges of Favoritism in Bush's Tax Plan

January 11, 2003

Re "Bush Proves He's an Upper-Class Act," by Robert Reich, Commentary, Jan. 7: How removed from real life can a college professor be? Reich shows incredible disdain for Americans aspiring to start businesses and simply get ahead. Does anyone who lives in Southern California making $75,000 to $300,000 consider himself or herself part of "the royal class"? In one paragraph, he uses the term "the royal class" three times and ends the paragraph with "their diamond-studded pocketbooks."

Attention, readers within those income brackets: Please tell Reich you're not the jet-set crowd he attempts to portray. Reich also won't tell the reader how modest an income is required to be included in his much-vaunted "top 10% of taxpayers." My wife and I work hard, have no other debt but our mortgage, are fiscally conservative and attempting not to be a burden on society. Lightening the tax load on all Americans forces the government to do what my wife and I do -- live within means, and not fund a litany of government programs. Reich should venture out of academia and actually see how "the royal class" is living.

Greg Belluomini

Hawthorne

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If Reich is such an expert on the economy, then why did the economy begin its slide under the Clinton administration, for which he was secretary of Labor?

His attempt to fuel class warfare by using terms like "royal class" and "diamond-studded pocketbooks" is an insult to readers' intelligence. I learned as a child that it is always easiest to name-call if you cannot create a logical argument. Mr. Reich, please read my lips: If you pay more taxes, you should get more back.

Riley Perry

Los Angeles

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Let's see, corporate boards in the future, besides giving away stock options, will be able to create special-issue premiere stock with high dividends. Then, even as their corporations or specially created subsidiaries lose money they can give themselves high tax-free income dividends. What a great idea. I wonder if I can incorporate my business and give myself dividends instead of taking a salary and avoid self-employment tax. Why work for salaries when we can all just collect tax-free dividends? Let the tax accountants, all soon to be incorporated, figure out the details of this loophole. Then we can be a tax-free society. How much will this eventually cost the U.S. Treasury? Not my problem.

Howard Wu

Bishop, Calif.

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Thanks, President Bush, for your generous offer to relieve a retired senior like me of taxes on my stock dividends. Unfortunately, I'm not able to accept your offer because all my dividends are paid into my IRA and 401(k) plans and, as such, will continue to be taxed as ordinary income in my yearly minimum required distribution. However, I do appreciate your concern for my situation, and I know you'll join in my prayer that I shall inherit a great deal of money soon and will be able to invest in dividend-paying stocks.

Seymour Chatman

Berkeley

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George W. Bush is the gift that keeps on giving. His latest ploy, masquerading in the form of a $600-billion tax cut, is a payback to his benefactors from his 2000 election. By slashing the dividend tax rates to zero, he will effectively give the energy chief executives a multimillion-dollar windfall. El Paso Corp., Duke Energy Corp. and ChevronTexaco Corp. pay dividends in the range of 60 cents to $2 a share. The CEOs and major players have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of shares of stock in these corporations. These individuals will use the money to buy more luxury vacation homes, yachts and exotic cars, in addition to investing in George W.'s 2004 campaign. None of these activities will benefit the economy, directly or indirectly.

If George W. is truly interested in jump-starting his failing economy, he should focus on the American middle class. Why not cut the $600 billion from the lower tax rates? This will give a family earning $50,000 a year the opportunity to increase its much-needed consumer-oriented activities, thus benefiting all the small businesses that make up the majority of our economy and driving taxes to the cash-poor treasuries of local and state governments. The trouble with trickle-down is that it never does.

Scott Miller

Encino

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