Senior Discounts Are a Marketing Device
Regarding "Senior Citizen Discounts Are Affirmative Action for the Wealthy" (Sept. 2): The author seems to have missed the real reason price discounts are given to senior citizens: competition. The growing number of elderly people constitutes an attractive market. Some of that market is wealthy, some poor. My wife and I, eligible for AARP membership for many years, are neither. We accept discounts when offered, but do not ask for them. We especially like some restaurants' practice of offering smaller portions, more to our tastes, at lower prices.
It is in characterizing the practice as "affirmative action for the wealthy" that the author completely departs from reality. There is a vast difference between senior discounts and affirmative action. That difference is that no "equal opportunity," "human rights," or other government agency is telling the merchants that they must grant the discounts. Nor that they cannot, which apparently is what the author would like.
Earl E. Eigabroadt
Port Orchard, Wash.
As someone who will turn 60 this month, I am reminded how last year, when I went skiing in the Lake Tahoe area, I asked for "One senior, please," and I was sold a discounted ticket. No questions asked. A ski-lift ticket costs everyone else $47 a day. Mine cost me $26. Frankly, I think that's another ripoff of the young by the senior and by AARP, and I am glad to see someone say so!
C. F. Baumgartner
Mercer Island, Wash.
Who's really helped by tax cuts
We have been disappointed by commentaries regarding tax cuts to the "rich." Most recent were the news story "Platinum Portfolio at a Pewter Address" (Aug. 7) and the Business & Money column "New Tax Bill Spells Relief: R-I-C-H" (Aug. 13). The authors have not given credit to the benefit that tax cuts will bring to middle-income homeowners and small businesses.
For many years our family has owned and operated a small bed-and-breakfast inn and adjoining restaurant. We have provided many jobs for our community. But it was some time before either business began to turn a small profit, and we continue to work very long hours with only a small monetary return. We are decidedly not "rich."
We someday hope to realize a modest gain on the sale of our businesses. But like thousands of other small-business owners, we realize that a big chunk of that "sweat equity" will go to Uncle Sam as capital gains tax.
Small businesses in this country generate about 80 percent of the new jobs and are run by hard-working folks who endure onerous government regulations and excessive taxes and need all the relief they can get. Perhaps economists in liberal-leaning think-tanks should set aside the "politics of envy" for a moment and visit the real world of ordinary people working hard to make a living.
Furthermore, middle income levels have been artificially skewed upward by government economists, who count such things as "potential" capital gains by stock market investors and fictitious "rental income" to homeowners.
The Knox family
Buena Vista, Colo.
On the subject of tax cuts, recent Monitor articles have had inflammatory titles and have only presented one side of the story. In "New Tax Bill Spells Relief: R-I-C-H," while all of the information is probably accurate (i.e. the richest 20 percent of Americans will get 78 percent of the benefits), the column fails to mention that the richest 20 percent of Americans also are paying approximately 80 percent of the taxes. Thus, everyone got a tax break in proportion to the amount of taxes they currently pay (perhaps this was even the politicians' intent?) Taxes after this tax bill are no more progressive or regressive than prior to the cut.
Redondo Beach, Calif.
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