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Let those who weakened America pay to fix it



Published: Wed, April 6, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Let those who weakened America pay to fix it

EDITOR:

They broke it, let them fix it.

The big companies that went overseas hurt Social Security. From 16 people paying into Social Security for each retiree, we are down to three and soon maybe two.

So let's fix it this way:

1. Raise the limit on Social Security taxes from $90,000 to $125,000. They may pay more but will get more on retirement.

2. Let the big companies that went overseas pay just the company share of Social Security taxes for the people they laid off. Let them pay this until the persons retire from whatever job they were able to find or passes away.

3. Hold the CEOs accountable by paying Social Security on a sliding scale over and above what they pay. Example: Everything between $10 million and $14 million, $1 million in additional taxes; $15 million to $19 million, $2 million additional taxes, etc. This will stop their greed.

4. Let the gas and oil industries pay 5 cents a gallon per day. This will bring approximately $20 million a day or nearly $7.3 billion a year in revenue. Put this in the Social Security Trust Fund one year and the next, against the national debt. In no time the Social Security Fund will be solvent. Then it all can be applied to the national debt.

In time these policies will release money to reduce Medicare payments, Medicaid, education, prescription drugs (maybe a small co-pay), and perhaps lower Social Security taxes for the poor and middle class.

Unless something is done, we will not be able to afford homes, cars, appliances, etc. because of lower income earned because of the jobs overseas.

SAM DePIETRO

Girard

Tax changes would hurt charitable organizations

EDITOR:

The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, in an effort to reduce the nation's budget deficit, is proposing numerous changes to federal tax guidelines. Among the proposals is a plan to prevent taxpayers from claiming more than $500 per year in deductions for charitable contributions of clothing and household items.

Goodwill Industries International, along with many other charitable organizations, believes that while this recommendation may be well intentioned, it is ill conceived.

The committee claims that the deduction cap will result in $1.9 billion in savings for the federal government over 10 years. But that assumes that taxpayers are in the habit of overestimating the value of their donated items. In fact, the committee says that overvaluations are "likely to occur" even though it admits there are no methods to track such claims.

We don't agree. Goodwill has found through experience that taxpayers tend to undervalue their donated items rather than overvalue them.

For the record, overstating the value of one's donated goods is tax fraud; it cannot be supported. But this proposal simply won't be effective in catching those who put themselves above the law.

Youngstown Area Goodwill Industries relies on donated goods to fund its programs and services. Job training, vocational rehabilitation programs, employment, and Radio Reading Services all utilize funds from donated goods sales.

A reduction in donated goods would result in reductions to services and employment. Without employment, our employees and clients would not be able to pay taxes and contribute to society in other ways. Last year Goodwill employees earned wages and paid taxes of over $4 million. That's economic impact.

In the end, this proposal would not only fail to save money and curtail tax fraud, it would cost money and jeopardize valuable programs provided by charitable organizations such as Goodwill.

MICHAEL W. McBRIDE

Executive Director

Youngstown Area Goodwill Industries




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