Scott LaPlante’s letter to the editor ( “America has become land of the free ride,” July 28) makes one good point — and several bad points.

The Tax Institute has indicated that 41 percent (not 49 percent) of Americans have no federal tax liability. It is important, however, to note who makes up that 41 percent.

The largest group of people are low wage earners with children. When a person can barely scrape up enough for food, it is futile to insist that he or she turn over money that he or she doesn’t have.

The others are those with huge incomes who can take advantage of loopholes and off-shore accounts. While statistically smaller in number, this group accounts for a great deal of lost tax revenue that the rest of us have to make up. The New York Times reported that some 24,000 households with incomes ranging from $553,000 to $2.2 million have no tax liability whatsoever.

LaPlante is correct that too few seem to be carrying too much of the burden. I disagree, however, with his conclusion that the problem is rooted with a bunch of lay-abouts.

The problem is rooted in a tax code that is so flawed that huge inequities flourish. Being poor is something that we cannot make against the law. It is not a “free ride,” it is poverty — and none of us would wish it upon each other.

The statistic that LaPlante cites is very negative, telling the rest of the world that we have (1) created so inept a society that we have allowed our market base to be destroyed and (2) that we have created a tax code so unsophisticated that it allows a sizable number of individuals to dump on the rest of us.

Barbara Gunvaldsen


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