Share the wealth, spread the taxes

The article ``Keep Congress Focused on Capping Entitlement Spending,'' June 30, objects to treating tax expenditures as a kind of entitlement that should be reduced as part of any entitlement reform and recommends cutting entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security as a means of cutting the budget deficit. The author is at odds with the General Accounting Office, which recommends cutting tax expenditures - defined as preferential provisions in the tax code such as exemptions and exclusions from taxation, deductions, credits, deferrals, and preferential rates, and which currently total $400 billion a year. Since the author was a member of both the Reagan and Bush administrations, it is easy to see why he opposes cutting tax expenditures: It might require sacrifice by the rich and special-interest groups.

An article in the July issue of The National Times calls our present tax system the ``privileged person's tax law,'' defining it as ``a system that is rigged by members of Congress and the executive branch. A system that caters to the demands of special-interest groups at the expense of all Americans. A system that responds to the appeal of the powerful and influential and ignores the needs of the powerless. A system that thrives on cutting deals and rewarding the privileged. A system that permits those in office to take care of themselves and their friends.''

I do not disagree with reducing entitlements as long as everyone shares in the pain. Why shouldn't the rich and special-interest groups do their part in reducing the budget deficit? Why should they get out of paying their fair share of taxes by continuing these tax loopholes? Why should ``tax expenditures'' stay off the agenda? Let's not be duped by conservative double talk. Joseph Golden, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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