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Figuring taxes

March 06, 2009

Re "Shifting tax burden redefines 'class war,' " column, March 4

Michael Hiltzik quotes former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee as saying, "Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff." I would counter that for the last eight years, Marie Antoinette has been revived with the observation often attributed to her, "Let them eat cake," as those who earn 70 times what I do look down from their ivory towers at us, the unwashed masses.

It's a good thing this isn't France of yesteryear, or it would be "Off with their heads!"

Arnie Moore

Sherman Oaks

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One would think Congress' main goal in setting tax rates would be to maximize Washington's tax receipts. Hiltzik doesn't really talk about this angle in The Times' ongoing "who's rich" flapdoodle.

In any case, new, higher rates for "the rich" will be a fascinating test of the Laffer conjecture over the next few years. What if tax receipts paid by "the rich" to the U.S. Treasury Department decline as tax rates increase?

Robert Pincus

Studio City

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Hiltzik's front-page commentary was excellent. Those who oppose tax increases on the wealthy ignore a basic principle: Those who benefit from the economic system fostered by our government should pay taxes to support that government. Those who benefit disproportionately should pay disproportionately.

David E. Ross

Oak Park

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Hiltzik's column made me cringe. Why are we lumping someone making $250,000 in with people making $10 million?

I run a small business that employs 10 people who receive health insurance and paid vacation. I am already paying an inordinate amount of taxes between federal, state, property and city business taxes. Now the feds and the state are going to ask for more? With the current economic situation, that might mean having to let someone go. This whole thing was started by people making bad financial decisions, and now those same people are asking for a bailout.

This may be closer to "Atlas Shrugged" than Hiltzik thinks.

Bill Toth

Studio City

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The top half of income earners already pay nearly all federal taxes; the top 1% already pay about 40% of taxes. With all the talk of top earners paying "their fair share," it seems to me that they already do that and more.

I'm far from a top earner, but I don't begrudge other Americans for being high earners; in fact, I'm very grateful for all they give back to society in charitable giving as well as in taxes.

David M. McCarthy

Culver City

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