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Letters to the editor

Praise for National Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki; tax solutions other than the 'Buffett rule'; fixing Social Security

April 27, 2012
(Los Angeles Times )

An inspiring teacher

Re "Burbank educator wins top award, praise from Obama," April 25

The first ingredient of great teaching is an engaged heart. Burbank middle school teacher Rebecca Mieliwocki has taken that heart and made of it a beautiful expression of care and excellence.

Her humility in being named National Teacher of the Year is a beacon of light on how to behave, and proof again that the truly great don't aspire to be. They simply heed their call to greatness through service.

By example, Mieliwocki inspires selfless self-determination while embodying the word "teacher" as a noble profession. We are each made better by it.

Jeanine D'Elia

Granada Hills

Some sanity on the tax front

Re "Better than the 'Buffett rule,' " Opinion, April 22

Tom Campbell is right that whether wealthy people are paying their fair share is the wrong question, but he's wrong as to what the conversation should be. The question should not be about economic recovery. That is a short-term approach to taxes. We should be asking what is fair, and what is fair is to tax income — from whatever source — the same.

Campbell suggests we tamp down the incentive to invest by raising taxes on investment income and lowering ordinary income taxes by the same amount. The money not invested would be used for consumption. In other words, if an investor believes there is money to be made, he will refuse to invest because he'll net a smaller percentage — and he'll buy something instead.

Perhaps Campbell should remember what Warren Buffett was doing when the tax rate on investment income was much higher.

Josef Colman

Santa Monica

Why not go back to the rates and structure imposed under Ronald Reagan's landmark achievement, the Tax Reform Act of 1986? That law, which taxed capital gains and dividends at the same rates as wages, could be adopted with tax brackets adjusted to reflect the doubling of prices over

the past quarter of a century.

The net effect would be something similar to the "Buffett rule" for taxpayers earning more than $300,000, albeit with a 28% rate rather than a 30% rate, and for the rest of us, a re-imposition of effective rates similar to what existed before the Bush tax cuts.

Of course, this suggestion would never be acceptable to the modern Republican Party. Notwithstanding Republicans' professed adoration of the Gipper, his policies on taxes would be deemed confiscatory by the modern GOP.

Ralph Mitzenmacher


Social Security, Medicare and us

Re "Fix Social Security, now," Editorial, April 25

It's hard to take this editorial seriously because it fails to talk about the Social Security payroll tax holiday enacted in 2010. If you want to fix Social Security, the first thing you need to look at is rolling back this tax break. With every extension of the payroll tax holiday, the prospect that Congress will ever restore the tax to its statutory 6.2% of covered income becomes increasingly remote.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, this is the tax that funds Social Security, so it should be no surprise that Social Security will run into trouble if we don't pay it in full.

Steve Stillman

Redondo Beach

The trustees for Social Security and Medicare on Monday warned that unless these programs are reformed and placed on a firm fiscal foundation, Social Security will be unable to pay full benefits after 2033 and Medicare's hospital fund will run in the red starting in 2024.

Still, irresponsible Democrats insist that these programs can continue in their current form. Portraying themselves as defenders of entitlements, they promise unsustainable benefits and thereby obtain the votes of gullible people. These politicians don't care if they are driving these programs off a cliff.

Voters must demand the truth. Promising

unending benefits that aren't fully paid for is an election scam.

Jennifer Marks

Laguna Woods

The church vs. the nuns

Re "Sisters of mercy and dismay," Column, April 22

Steve Lopez got it right. It's all about the Vatican letting those nuns know who's in charge — and it's not Jesus.

I was a member of the Immaculate Heart Community of Los Angeles in the 1960s during the Vatican Council's call for renewal of religious life. We studied the documents and voted on the direction the community should go. All the while, Cardinal James Francis McIntyre, L.A.'s archbishop at the time, used every power he had to crush the community's efforts.

Ultimately the cardinal won out and the nuns decided to step out from under the restrictions of canonical status and become a lay community. As such they have continued their work in education, social justice and spiritual leadership. They have become pioneers in an experiment in community, opening membership to men and women, married or single, who share the mission of Christ-conscious justice and equality for all.

Pat Skeehan Berberich


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