Rich are always with us

Who is going to raise American taxes, Republicans or Democrats? The election campaign is well into the hot summer and still the answer to this simple question is shrouded in more mystery than a teen-ager's handshake.

Walter Mondale accuses the Republicans of having a ''secret plan'' to raise taxes.

But on the other hand, the Republicans insist that Mondale held ''secret meetings'' to plan tax increases.

Evidently all campaign workers go to these meetings wearing ski masks and say a password to an eye peeking through a knothole. Concerning all this secrecy, Mr. Mondale says that President Reagan is not being honest, while Mr. Reagan in turn says Mondale is not telling the truth.

Good heavens! Out of all the choices of candidates, the voters had to come up with two liars?

Up to the time this was written, no candidate had offered to submit to a lie detector test, so people can appreciate the problems Diogenes had 1,500 years ago.

While the public can expect no candid talk from candidates, there is one interesting statement that has not yet been held up as not being truthful. Candidate Mondale, speaking about President Reagan, said, ''He was very careful not to rule out tax increases that would protect his rich friends.''

Even while this was being said, the poverty level was reaching the highest level in 18 years. That means 35.3 million poor people.

If President Reagan's friends are all rich, then obviously all these poor people must be pals of Walter Mondale.

It seems terribly unfair. Why should Ronald Reagan have all the rich friends?

Just to make sure this was true, I asked a rich person if he was one of Reagan's friends. ''Of course, I am one of his best friends,'' he said. ''And I don't think people should complain about the deficit. To hear them scream you'd think it was their money.''

Then I found someone below the poverty level. But he didn't commit himself. ''Why should I worry about next year?'' he said. ''I'm already poor.''

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