Letters to the Editor

Readers write about whether or not Barack Obama's tax plan is socialism, the reason we pay taxes, and agreeing to disagree about politics.

Both candidates want to "spread the wealth"

Regarding the Oct. 30 Opinion piece, "Is Barack Obama really a socialist?": Reading this commentary, I was struck again by how the media and pundits have failed to note the obvious question raised by John McCain's attacks on Mr. Obama's desire to "spread the wealth."

What author Donald J. Boudreaux has failed to appreciate is that if Obama is a "socialist" (lite or otherwise), Mr. McCain is also a socialist. McCain has never advocated the abandonment of the progressive tax system. What Obama and McCain disagree about is what the appropriate nominal tax rates should be for the various brackets in our current tax system.

Obama wants a system that puts a relatively higher burden on those who earn more, while McCain wants a system that puts a relatively higher burden on the middle class.

But neither candidate wants a system that is flat or regressive. Thus, McCain also wants to "spread the wealth."

We all should think more deeply about our tax system, whom it benefits and penalizes, and whether it is an appropriate tool through which to enforce policy preferences.

We should not, however, believe that Obama's tax plan proves he's a socialist unless we are willing to concede that McCain, too, is a socialist.

Lauren Berns
St. Petersburg, Fla.

I take strong issue with the author's contention that Barack Obama's tax plan is any more "socialist" than John McCain's. Every tax law from the beginning of time has redistributed wealth. The only difference between one tax plan and another is who benefits more versus who pays more.

Senator Obama is simply suggesting that the people benefiting the most, should also be the ones who pay the most.

Bill Juhasz
Sacramento, Calif.

The reason we pay taxes

Regarding the Oct. 28 article, "From an early age, a GOP activist": Young GOP activist Tanya Renicker opines, "I don't want my tax dollars to go to people who didn't take the initiative to work hard and get a better job."

While defending her right to her opinion, I must respectfully disagree with it. Everyone who works and pays taxes in this country works hard. If, through hard work, workers are unable to improve their chances at more progressive employment, that's not necessarily their fault.

We pay taxes so that we have a government that meets the needs of all taxpayers, regardless of whether or not their fellow citizens feel they deserve the help.

Maggie Peters
Wales, Wis.

Agree to disagree on vote

Regarding the Oct. 27 articles, "My brother is a Republican, but I love him anyway" and "Marriage across the red-blue divide": I suspect many of us are evaluating our own political preferences, and as Nov. 4 draws near, the need for perspective and humor becomes apparent, if not essential.

I found these articles of particular interest, given that my own brother and I sat on different sides of the political fence. I have learned to temper opinions with respect, and this election year has provided me with ample opportunity to learn self-restraint.

I would never wish to insult my family or friends, so I do not wish to insult or show disrespect to any other American. Agreeing to disagree, as one of the writers observes, is definitely doable.

Christie Hanses
Barrington, Ill.

The Monitor welcomes your letters andopinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.CSMonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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