Evaluating Britain's Poll Tax

The editorial "Britain's Next Leader," March 18, states that the "hated 'poll tax' " was paid "equally by rich and poor for local services."

The poll tax is by no means hated by all - large numbers of single occupants, far from rich, find it a great deal fairer than the property-tax system it replaced. In addition, it is not paid equally by rich and poor alike. There is a system of rebates for less well-off individuals, with down to only 20 percent being payable in some cases.

The principle that at least a small amount should be payable by all for services is a good one, encouraging local authorities to spend responsibly. But, it is this principle which is so hated in certain quarters that a propaganda campaign was mounted against the poll tax.

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The most important issue is to prevent local authorities from spending foolishly and beyond the wishes of a large minority in each area. Under proposals for the future by both Labour and Liberals, this element of discipline is missing. J. Cawdron, Kent, England Global warming?

I read the editorial "First Step on Global Warming," March 11, with interest. In a scientific paper which a friend presented recently at a symposium in Edinburgh, there is a graph which shows the variation of atmospheric carbon dioxide over time for many thousands of years.

The graph shows that the level of carbon dioxide is low during successive Ice Ages, but in the middle of the intervening temperate periods (where we are now), the level peaks markedly. It is interesting that the carbon dioxide level at this point in time, although still rising, is significantly below the peak values at previous temperate periods. T. F. McAinsh, Glasgow, Scotland

Looking back at a record of the early 1900 temperatures, it is found that the national temperatures then were very similar to the ones now. Where's the global warming? Daryl Moss, Rexburg, Idaho

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