Letter to the Editor: Column ‘misleading’ in critical description of the wealthy

Chris De Notto

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Ms. (Amanda) Scherker’s column typifies the attacks on the rich. She brands the nation’s top one percent of income earners as selfish. This is misleading. First, she equates the top one percent with millionaires. To her, the top one percent of Americans are all rich CEOs receiving million dollar bonuses or celebrities with “MTV Cribs.” However, anyone earning over $380,000 a year is in the top one percent. They are certainly wealthy, but Ms. Scherker incorrectly paints them as extravagantly rich. Second, she completely ignores the burden that the top one percent pays in income taxes. While they may own 34.6 percent of the wealth (an unfair portion in her opinion), the top one percent paid 38 percent of all federal income taxes in 2008. I wonder what burden Ms. Scherker thinks is appropriate. Would society be fairer if the top one percent paid 50 percent or 75 percent of income taxes?

Also ignored are the contributions the wealthy make to society. Her statement that trickle-down economics only help “private jet manufacturers and professional escort services” is wrong. This cynicism ignores the jobs the rich have created through their businesses and spending habits. Also, according to the IRS, the top 10% are responsible for 42% of all charitable deductions in the U.S. In recent months, 57 U.S. billionaires pledged to give half their wealth to charity.

I would rather see a society where the rich spend or donate their money as they wish than have Washington use it to buy votes or give it to special interest groups.

– Chris De Notto

Weinberg junior