Letters to the Editor
Readers write about the Alternative Minimum Tax, problems with the Federal Aviation Administration, and stay-at-home moms.
More than the Alternative Minimum Tax needs fixing
In response to the Dec. 11 article, "Congress to stop spread of reviled Alternative Minimum Tax": Thank you very much for this article. Though I had heard of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), I did not really know much about it.
One aspect that troubles me is the repeated language of "paying" for it. It seems that there should be no strings attached to fixing such an injustice. A permanent fix seems fairly simple – index the AMT to inflation and be done with it.
My problem with the language of paying for it is that it assumes that we must always spend more and barely brings up the idea of lowering expenses.
As an individual or a businessman, if I find that a source of revenue dries up, I can either find a way to replace it or reduce my expenses. The federal government always seems to choose the former (raising taxes) and ignore the latter (reducing spending).
To see this we only need to realize that the government refers to the practice of increasing a budget line less this year than it did last year as a cut, despite the fact that more money will be spent. That's as if I were to increase my son's allowance this year by $1 instead the $2 I increased it last year and call it a cut. He would still have a higher allowance this year than last year. That is hardly a cut.
I would like to see the federal government operate more fluidly and responsibly, like the private tax-prep companies that can turn around the changes discussed in five to seven business days, instead of the more than seven weeks required by the federal government.
It seems to me that there is more broken in Washington than the AMT.
Give the FAA a new home
Your Nov. 23 editorial, "Flight delays start in Washington," regarding air travel problems of the Federal Aviation Administration and the airlines, is on target. Our air transport and national airport system is in a spiral descent. Leadership is needed in Washington.
The FAA should be removed from the US Department of Transportation and report to a new National Aviation Commission that will report to the White House with appropriate congressional oversight. It is in the national interest to do so.
Additionally, all other aviation activity in federal agencies, such as the State and Commerce department, should be transferred to the new commission.
A new air-traffic control system is needed, although without adding 10 new air-carrier airports, future passenger and air-cargo growth will not be met.
William F. Shea
Former FAA associate administrator for airports
No such thing as stay-at-home moms?
Regarding the Dec. 3 article, "In college, a focus on homemaking": The idea of a woman staying home and raising her children is an ideal that never really existed.
Wealthy women might have been able to live that ideal, but literature is full of references to wet nurses, nannies, maids, cooks, washerwomen, seamstresses, and so on. These women were never the center of attention, but they were women who had to do whatever they could to raise their children.
The idea that women never worked outside of their home is false.
Thank goodness now some women get paid a decent wage for their efforts in the workforce.
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