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Money matters

July 27, 2007

Re "Is a billion dollars ordinary income?" July 21

If Blackstone Group Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman's federal tax bite on $400 million increased from 15% to the 35% paid by couples earning $350,000 gross, his after-tax pay last year for a job that essentially just scoots money around would have dropped from $340 million to a mere $260 million. For his Christmas party, he may have had to convert his Park Avenue apartment to merely a beach on Maui instead of one on St. Tropez.

We thousandaires lack sympathy.

Mike Kvammen

South Pasadena

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The Times provides us the new definition for "many" middle-class families: "struggling to stay afloat." Moreover, what once would have been immediately seen as a striking contradiction in terms is now offered up without even a hint of irony. However, perhaps also unwittingly, The Times has moved us closer to a better understanding of what it actually means to live as one of these newly defined middle-class families: Struggling to stay afloat.

Tom Wilde

Santa Monica

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