Millionaires - made by society, not by themselves

Regarding the August 2 column "It takes a village to raise a millionaire": How refreshing it was finally to see an article that outlines the flaws in believing that great wealth is an individual achievement. It seems painfully obvious to me that the wealthy have a responsibility (met primarily through taxes) to those with less money simply because it's not possible to accumulate great wealth without great populations. There are no millionaires on a desert island.

The wealthy stand on the backs of the middle and lower-income people. Saying that an individual's wealth is entirely self-made, as proponents of lower taxes like to assert, is like saying that Tom Cruise makes movies. Movie stars and multimillionaires are just the tip of the iceberg, and both should acknowledge the ice under the water. All members of a wealthy society should benefit, since it is the society itself that creates the wealth.
Bill McClanahan
San Francisco

Your column mentions that the wealthy pay 41.7 percent in taxes and the middle class 28.5 percent, yet it does not mention how much money is generated by this percentage. It is a fact that the wealthy pay more in taxes than any other class. (Think of how much 41.7 percent of Bill Gates' income is, for example, compared with 28.5 percent of an income of, say, $50,000.)

The wealthy, therefore, give more back to the community and country in taxes than any other group. It always sounds popular to criticize the wealthy and focus on the poor who'll never make it out of poverty. It easily catches the emotions.
Annelies Tobdzic
Ridgewood, N.J.

Revamping the movie rating system

Regarding your July 28 editorial "When an 'R' Rating Becomes 'PG' ": I thought the Motion Picture Association of America established its rating system to protect the public from things it doesn't want to see. What good does it do to have a system that changes in accordance to the lowering standards of society? A new ratings system should be implemented with increased sensitivity to the ever-increasing forms of violence and sexual content in order to keep the public truly informed.

It wouldn't harm anyone, but would help those in need. Those who aren't bothered by violence and sexual content probably wouldn't pay attention to a new ratings system anyway.

In the end, we all seek entertainment, and there should be proper systems in place to protect the public from undesirable content if they want that protection.
Ryan Dixon
Bountiful, Utah

Perhaps the rating scale needs to be redone more strictly. Instead of keeping a scale that reports its content level by telling what age group it is appropriate for, start from scratch. Movies with heavy sexual content, violence, and profanity, should have three ratings: SC, VI, and P. This way viewers will know exactly what they are subjecting themselves to.
Erin Nyholm
Rexburg, Idaho

The Hopis' strong stance

Regarding your July 29 editorial "Hopis Don't Roll the Dice": I was impressed with the Hopi vote on this issue, which always is a controversial one, given the socio-economic situation on reserves. The Hopi Nation is to be commended for this stance, for the Hopi way has such a strong spiritual component. They have set an example for other Native Nations to follow and to think hard about how to provide for their membership in these tough times.
Arlene Wilson
Former Chief Councilor of the Heilpfuk Band

Bella Bella Reserve, British Columbia

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