Occupy Wall Street has made some significant impacts and has enjoyed the support of many people in the communities that they have occupied. However, I wonder why they don’t unify all of the groups of occupiers across the country, identify some leadership from those groups, and then march on Washington, D.C., and our congressional leadership to let them know that we want them to act like adults and work together to create jobs programs and solutions for our economy.

We need to remind Republicans that to act unanimously to block any initiative that the president presents to restore our economy is detrimental to all of us regardless of party.

I am particularly disappointed in Republicans who claim to be representing all of the residents of their states when the truth is that they vote on every issue aligning themselves with their party, forgetting their campaign pledge to do what is best for their constituents. I am personally not being represented in my state due to the gutless conduct of our two Republican senators who say that they look at the entire issue but only vote along party lines.

I want jobs and an improved economy in my state, and I hope that I will have an opportunity next November to put someone in office as a representative that will provide those things for us. I feel that the occupy Wall Street groups could better represent me in Washington.

Jane Metzler

Yarmouth

The Occupy Wall Street people are in excellent company. The United States Catholic Bishops in 1986 found the distribution of income in the U.S. to be unacceptable under Catholic social teaching. In the last 25 years it has only gotten worse.

In 1986, the bishops released “Economic Justice for All: Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy,” which includes this paragraph:

“(U)nequal distribution should be evaluated in terms of several moral principles we have enunciated: the priority of meeting the basic needs of the poor and the importance of increasing the level of participation by all members of society in the economic life of the nation. These norms establish a strong presumption against extreme inequality of income and wealth as long as there are poor, hungry and homeless people in our midst. They also suggest that extreme inequalities are detrimental to the development of social solidarity and community.

In view of these norms we find the disparities of income and wealth in the United States to be unacceptable.”

Donald Fontaine

Portland

“The rich need to pay their fair share, the 1 percent are screwing the 99 percent!”

That’s the gripe of Occupy Wall Street.

But how true is it?

According to the Tax Policy Institute, 46 percent of tax filers will pay no federal income tax this year. That’s 76 million of us, the vast majority of whom are the 99 percent, or the poor and middle class.

These taxpayers are exempt because of subsistence incomes, child credits or other deductions.

By contrast, the top 1 percent of all wage earners, those earning above $379,000, pay 38 percent of federal taxes, according to the IRS.

Their tax rate of 35 percent, in fact, is more than twice that of the majority of the 99 percent.

The picture is similarly lopsided for capital gains.

The wealthy pay 15 percent on earnings. Most in the 99 percent pay zip. Nada. Zilch.

And that valuable baseball card or coin you’d like to sell? If you’re in the 15 percent tax bracket, with most other Americans, you pay no tax on your proceeds.

But if you’re rich, as described above, you pay 28 percent!

According to the IRS, about 24,000 wealthy people managed to avoid federal taxes last year.

But before we get after them with pitchforks, consider that some of these people made their money overseas or from tax exempt bonds, or they lost money in their businesses and took legitimate deductions. Or they gave a large chunk of their money to charity.

Which brings us to Warren Buffett, who allegedly pays less taxes than his secretary. He does so because most of his money comes from long-term capital gains, which are taxed at 15 percent. However, rarely mentioned in the media is the fact that Warren has given away more than 44 billion dollars to charity — that’s billion, with a B. That’s money he can write off for very legitimate reasons and which grossly skews his tax obligation.

This kind of paints a different picture than the one created by Occupy Wall Street’s broad brush, doesn’t it?

Marc McCutcheon

Scarborough

Maine drivers should take safety more seriously

If you put all of Maine’s nifty driving slogans aside including: “Drive Defensively” and “Buckle Up or Pay Up,” they really don’t mean diddly! The one slogan that’s pure gospel to in-state and out-of-state drivers is: “I own the road — deal with it!”

For all drivers reading this, how many of you have been guilty of:

Turning into another driving lane without using a directional signal?

Using a directional signal for two seconds after already entering a different lane?

Been so busy talking on your cellphone that you missed the light change?

Drove through a four-way stop intersection ignoring the drivers who were at the intersection before you?

Ignored crossing pedestrians at a marked crosswalk and continued to drive in front of them?

Floored your accelerator even when the traffic light was red?

Parked your vehicle in a handicapped space even though you didn’t have a handicapped plate or card hanging inside?

Traveled incredibly s-l-o-w-l-y in a passing lane?

Passed a flashing school bus because you were late for your job or appointment?

I could keep going, but here’s my point: In Maine, it doesn’t seem to matter if you’re a conscientious driver or not. State or local police might pull you over for speeding, but aside from a verbal warning or a monetary fine you’ll probably resume your poor driving habits within 10 or 15 minutes.

Should all drivers be road tested every 5 to 10 years? I think so. Will this ever happen? Probably not!

I guess the safety factor of connected to any good driver is secondary to: “I own the road — deal with it!” Your thoughts???

Gary Dixon

Ocean Park