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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 2, 2014 at 7:04 AM

Government assistance: have a heart; important role for the wealthy

What has happened to our heart?

It is my hope that every legislator, on the state and national levels, will read “Are we a nation of takers?” by Nicholas Kristof [Opinion, March 29].

Congress wouldn’t need to worry about balancing the budget if all the corporate subsidies for private planes, yachts, hedge funds, etc., were eliminated. Congress, where “the majority of members are millionaires,” only talks about cutting food stamps while ignoring the billions of tax subsidies for corporate meals and entertainment. This happens when, according to a Gallup poll, that almost one-fifth of American families struggle to buy enough food to avoid hunger.

What has happened to the “heart” of our great country?

Anne Corley, Mercer Island

Wealthy need to buy things to grow economy

I am astounded by Nicholas Kristof’s incomplete reporting in his Sunday column.

There was a reason for the tax breaks for those who can afford to purchase yachts or aircraft: it’s called jobs. There was a period a few years ago when boat and aircraft builders were suffering and going out of business. The tax breaks were instituted to save those companies, and the industry itself, and continue to keep people working.

Increasing welfare does not increase the workforce — just the opposite. As a Pulitzer Prize winner and a Harvard grad, I’m disappointed in his contribution Sunday. But, then again, I doubt that Harvard has a course on capitalism.

I do agree, however, with his concern about the wealth of our legislators, a concern that Thomas Jefferson addressed. Personally, I don’t envy the wealthy, or what they spend on yachts or aircraft. We want them to buy stuff to keep our economy going.

As a conservative (and not a rich one), I believe we should always tweak the economy for growth and not tweak the welfare system for votes.

Wayne Bartz, Shoreline

Comments | More in Public assistance | Topics: Anne Corley, Congress, Nicholas Kristof

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