Rich Lowry’s column of Jan. 31 indicates between 1991-2004 “The only income group whose share of total taxes increased was the highest income quintile” (the top 20 percent). He neglects to indicate that most of those in this group had significantly higher incomes during that period, whereas the average worker’s wages remained relatively stagnant.

He also seems to ignore comments by billionaire Warren Buffett about the inequity in the income tax system. According to Buffett, his secretary earns $60,000 per year and pays about 30 percent in taxes. Buffett pays only 17 percent of his income. He may be paying more in dollars, but he pays a smaller percentage of his income.

If 10 people who each earn $50,000 and pay 100 percent of their income as tax it would raise $500,000. If one person earns $2.5 million and pays 20 percent tax, he would pay the same amount. Lowry would probably conclude that the $2.5 million person is overtaxed because he is paying 50 percent of the total tax revenue.

Perhaps a fairer method of looking at the tax burden is to see what percentage of total income individuals are actually paying and what the individual has remaining to pay living expenses. We should also realize that a person earning $30,000 and paying 15 percent of his income for tax has a more difficult burden than the person earning $500,000 and paying 30 percent.

Stanley Tetenman, Poland


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