Using tax credits for social goals
Regarding your June 6 Editorial "Tax credits and 'refunds,'": For what purpose would one imagine a tax code if not to achieve social goals? To fund the federal government? To what end is the federal government organized if not to achieve social goals? You characterize a child tax credit to low-income families as welfare to the working poor. Why don't you characterize it as welfare for all working people? Are you proposing a pay-as-you-go scheme for consumers of government programs? Imagine that applied to public schools: Only taxpayers with kids would pay for school while empty-nesters would get a free ride. Tax codes are social programs and, as such, they meet their goal when income is redistributed from "haves" to "have nots."
As a professional tax adviser, I applaud the Monitor for its June 6 editorial. In tax year 2002, married taxpayers with two children, earning between $10,250 and $14,550, paid no federal income tax and received a refund of all income taxes withheld from their pay. In addition, they received $4,140 in earned-income credit. Even a married taxpayer with two children earning $26,000 paid no taxes and received an additional $1,717 in earned-income credit.
Whether the working poor should receive additional government funds is certainly a valid public-policy question. It should not be included, however, in the debate on how much income tax wage-earners should pay. The media would provide a greater service to the public if they made this distinction.
Regarding your June 6 article "New York Times resignations signal industry turmoil": The furor at The New York Times reminds me of a full-page ad the paper ran several years ago with mug shots of all its copy editors and a tribute to them as the Times's last line of defense. Anything printed that is libelous or inaccurate, which the copy editors failed to question, is fair game for lawsuits.
As a copy editor at the time, I was duly impressed by the Times's recognition of these staffers. At my own publication, which had a reputation as a writer's paper and accorded less esteem to editors, tour guides referred to us as "the unsung heroes." While heads roll at the top of the Times, hasn't anyone asked what those vaunted copy editors were doing when they were assigned to read Jayson Blair's poppycock?
Regarding your June 5 article, "Anger at US deepens since war": Unfortunately, the fallout from the recent war with Iraq may be the only legacy of a US president with his own agenda. That legacy will be a message to others, young and old: If you are rich and powerful, you can bully your way into a preemptive war, you can trash NATO allies of many decades in the process, and you can discredit the United Nations along the way.
It was worth not one innocent Iraqi or American life. Continued inspections would have contained Saddam Hussein and verified WMD presence or not - eventually. The money spent on war could have been better spent on global humanitarian causes, which would boost the economy at the same time, without alienating so many people who already viewed the US as a nation of self- indulgent consumers and imperialists.
With regard to the imagined decline in world opinion of US popularity, I can only say that the silent majority in my country are behind the US in its efforts to curb terrorism.
The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. We can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your address and telephone number.
Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.