U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree should be thanked for voting against tax cuts for the super-rich.

The gap between rich and poor is increasing, when for the nation’s financial stability it should be shrinking.

Taxes of the billionaires should be increased, not cut.

Charles Huntington

Harpswell 

On your Dec. 17 opinion page, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree defended her lack of support for President Obama’s tax deal to prevent a tax hike on all American taxpayers.

Pingree talked about hearing from more than 500 constituents, most of them urging her to vote against Obama’s legislation. Doubtless that’s true; those of us who don’t have statist views have given up on Pingree because we know she is hopelessly statist in her politics.

Nevertheless, it’s not too much to ask the paper to correct her when she’s wrong on the facts.

Once more she got away with saying the “tax breaks for the rich” will add $900 billion to the deficit, in contrast to her plan, which would preserve the tax breaks for the rest of us while penalizing Americans who earn more than $250,000 a year.

It’s fact-check time. According to The Washington Post, the president’s legislation breaks down like this, over two years (all numbers in billions): $280, middle-income earners; $146, capital investment for businesses; $140, indexing the alternative minimum tax; $120, FICA tax reduction; $80, R&D credits; $79, high-income earners; $68, estate tax reduction; $56, unemployment checks; $21, refundable credits for low- and middle-income earners.

Of the $990 billion total, $79 billion is attributable to continuing the current tax rates for the “rich;” $617 billion goes to low- and middle-income households.

Pingree’s assertion that tax breaks for the rich account for a $900 billion hole in the economy are pure fantasy.

Jane Gildart

Yarmouth 

Will Rogers once remarked that “common sense ain’t common,” and that couldn’t be more true today. The report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform concluded that the deficit could not be reduced without both spending cuts and tax increases.

In response, the Congress passed and the president signed an $858 billion deficit increase that includes both irrational and illogical tax cuts and spending increases.

The Democrats have pointed to the projected 1.5 million jobs that will be created. Why would anyone with “common sense” want to spend $572,000 per job created?

The $858 billion could fund more than 9.5 million jobs for two years, paying each worker $45,000 a year. Republicans’ defense of the tax cuts for the ultra-rich is just as irrational.

The IRS reported that in the 2008 tax year, the top 13,300 taxpayers averaged taxable income of about $26 million each and paid tax at 24.1 percent, not the top tax rate of 35 percent. This is because more than half of their $346 billion in income was dividends and capital gains taxed at just 15 percent.

These ultra-rich don’t create many jobs, and even if they did, why do they have a top marginal tax rate of 15 percent when a single individual earning just $45,000 a year has a top marginal tax rate of 25 percent?

Common sense really is not very common.

Albert A. DiMillo Jr.

South Portland

Vote in 2000 came out just the way it should have 

The side-by-side columns in the Monday Press Herald by George Will and Brian Gilmore about the 2000 presidential election were interesting for what they said about the two writers’ attitudes about the controversy.

George Will calmly recalls the failed attempt by some Democrats to steal the election for Al Gore when Democrats made a desperate attempt to change the rules after the voting.

Brian Gilmore writes a whining, emotional fantasy that is filled with false statements about the laws and the courts. Gilmore closes with an angry, childish ending, saying that the liberal crowd will never admit that they were wrong.

On the other side, many thoughtful people still believe that Al Gore as president would have been an unmitigated disaster for the United States and the world.

David W. Knudsen

Gray 

No action required to get Medicare Part B benefits 

In the Dec. 2 Press Herald, the editorial “Seniors should seek out free Medicare counseling” contains some errors.

The statement “Everyone has to sign up for Medicare Part B” is simply untrue. A few months before someone’s 65th birthday, a letter from Medicare arrives that contains a Medicare card, effective the first of the month of his or her 65th birthday. There is no need for anyone to sign up, and it is possible to opt out.

But enrollment is otherwise automatic, and premium costs are deducted from Social Security payments or paid separately if receipt of benefits is postponed.

The second part of the same sentence is also inaccurate — no one “has” to get a “medigap” policy, although most people elect to do so. But it’s entirely voluntary.

These factual errors could potentially confuse someone who is soon to be Medicare-eligible and should be corrected promptly by the Press Herald.

Virginia Boehm Worthen

Westbrook 

Time to end Afghan war before more soldiers die 

Another Maine soldier has been killed in Afghanistan. It is outrageous and it is criminal.

For what and for whom did he sacrifice his young 24-year-old life?

For politics and for our gutless president, for the gutless U.S. Congress, and for the gutless and failed top military brass.

Send them all to that God-forsaken place, and keep them there until all the troops are home.

How many more will die for nothing between now and 2014? Let’s get out of Afghanistan now.

Robert P. Russell

Kennebunkport

 


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