Middle-class economic woes

In the opinion-page article "Ending the 'Silent Depression' for American Families," Nov. 22, the author commits a subtle crime: he shares incorrect statistics. The author claims that "Two million high-paying American manufacturing jobs were exported to Asia in the 1980s." How would he explain that 18 million jobs were created in the United States in the 1980s while Japan only added some 3 million? The US as a whole won the jobs race of the '80s.He also laments the plunge in home prices. He fails to point out, however, that the 40 percent increase in the capital-gains tax in 1986 is largely responsible for this because taxes soon get capitalized into market prices. Since a home is the major asset for a typical middle-class family, the negative impact of raising the capital-gains tax rate has hit the middle class the hardest. But don't expect Congress to rush to the aid of the middle class homeowner by cutting the capital-gains tax - they're afra id the wealthy might benefit, too. Yes, it often takes two incomes to provide a standard of living which just one income could provide for a middle-class family in the 1950s. Why? The long-term depreciation of the dollar, the explosive growth in the economic burden of government spending, enormous increases in Social Security taxes, to name a few of the misdeeds perpetrated by Congress. M. Hendrickson, New Wilmington, Pa.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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