The wealthy are taxed 10 percent on the first $8,700 dollars of taxable income, the same as a person who makes only $8,700. For each tax bracket, millionaires pay the same amount of tax as everyone else. A person earning $1 million in a year, even though his tax rate for everything earned above $388,350 is taxed at 35 percent, pays 32.3 percent overall.

These people aren’t being taxed unfairly, unless you think that all tax is unfair — in which case you need to pitch a tent somewhere and stop using roads, to name just one of the most obvious ways tax dollars benefit you.

If you think the rich will be soaked by the tax increase the president proposes, do a little arithmetic.

The increase will be 4.6 percent. Someone who earns $1 million next year will have to pay $34,500 more, $46,000 for each additional million.

Put in a way those of us who get paychecks can understand, the person with a taxable income of $1 million would have a take-home pay of $740,462. The take-home pay for each additional million will be $604,000. Anyone who can’t get by on that should consider buying fewer new houses.

Mort Mather


Social Security is not part of the federal budget. If you were to cut monthly amounts to $100 per person, this would not solve the “fiscal cliff” at all.

It’s time to stop being gullible on this. Whatever programs our national government needs to cut, Social Security is not one of them and would make no difference.

It has its own funds — that we put there — in its own account. Yes, government has borrowed from this. Yes, every year, money is spent repaying loans, with interest … to China as well.

Our elected officials have got to address the reality of collecting enough revenue to cover the expenses. So they must make changes to revenue and expenditures. The largest budget item — 50 percent — is for the Pentagon, where expenditures go to military procurement, personnel and a whole list of related costs.

The only bipartisan budget agreement has been the allocation of $681 billion, an easy Senate vote to support the Pentagon. Did anyone ask to see an audit?

Good thing, because there is none. The Pentagon, unlike every other federal agency, has not been audited. Did anyone read its budget to see what they do with $681 billion in a year’s time?

Why can they allocate half the federal budget so easily, yet go through all this rhetoric and debate about providing some health care for old people?

Or some food stamps to the people who lost their jobs and can’t find new ones and can’t feed their kids?

Grace Braley


It is time for Republicans to realize that their plan to avoid the fiscal cliff or to realign our financial situation is not what the majority of Americans believe is the answer.

President Obama has successfully won his second term because he has the support of many Americans. It is expected of all lawmakers to join him in his approach to righting our ship.

The last four years of partisan opposition have only produced terrible results, and many things that could have and should have been accomplished were not, because of irrational stances and a commitment by many in the Republican Party to deny the president the respect and bipartisanship that the people expected.

We are sickened by Republicans who will not bring to the table a plan that will increase taxes on the megawealthy, but continue to insist on further damaging those Americans most at risk.

It is the middle class and those in the lower economic class, who are working two and three jobs to try to achieve being in the middle, who need your help. The folks struggling every day to have a life that is not filled with terror about their future — struggling to eat healthy food, pay their mortgages, have decent health care, save for college for their children.

The super-rich do not have these concerns themselves, but why are they not concerned about other Americans? Do Republicans believe, had they been up for re-election last month, that they would have had the support of their constituents who have seen their lack of flexibility regarding taxes on the wealthy?

The majority of Americans want change and some action by our elected leaders in the direction that will make change possible.

Joan Lourie


More coverage needed for theater project’s upside

Although the Press Herald’s coverage of the Friends of the St. Lawrence Church’s recent neighborhood meeting did say support exists for its performing arts space plans, it failed to include any description of the arguments supporting the essence of the design (“Critics say Munjoy Hill design is too ‘boxy,’ “ Dec. 10.

Architectural projects are notoriously difficult to describe, particularly as they seek to develop a neighborhood’s character. For all the concerns about the proposed building being boxy, isn’t it obvious that on some level we all live in boxes, some with peaked roofs, some without? Walking to my home on the Hill last night, I noticed many “original” buildings that happen to be boxes. It’s a tricky project: How many buildings can afford to diminish the volume of the interior space by faceting or curving the exterior surfaces?

The original plot of the St. Lawrence sanctuary is relatively small. In order to provide for a 400-seat theater, lobby and attendant spaces, architect David Lloyd has had to push the interior space to the corners of the lot, hence a box.

At the meeting, I said that all robust neighborhoods can withstand the presence of a contemporary building, and that such a distinct building would help us reflect more deeply on the Hill’s energies by its juxtaposition among our 100- to 200-year-old homes and businesses. The revitalization of Boston’s South End is a perfect example: The gorgeous, 19th-century red-brick townhouses beautifully framed by contrasting handsome contemporary buildings such as the Calderwood Pavilion for the Arts, and the Boston Ballet’s “box” of an administrative and rehearsal space.

Christopher Akerlind