Mellman, Dems fail to see GOP’s tax-policy successes

The main thrust of Mark Mellman’s column “The taxman doesn’t scare us anymore” (April 18) was that recent polls show taxpayers are more concerned about the wealthy not paying “their fair share” than about the amount of taxes the poll respondents themselves pay.

Mr. Mellman is a partisan activist for Democratic candidates, causes and policy initiatives. The Democrats’ policy proposal to remedy that asserted ill is to raise marginal tax rates, reversing the tax rate reductions passed by Republicans in Bush’s first term (implying that the Bush tax rate reductions made this problem worse).

Contrary to Democrats’ predictions and current assertions, lower marginal tax rates, especially on capital gains, have actually increased both total federal income taxes collected, and the portion of  total federal income taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans. This is the outcome Democrats and Mellman claim they want to achieve. ...

How can the Democrats be believed — by the press, or by voters — when they dispute that productive economic activity increases when the government reduces the cost of such activity by reducing marginal tax rates? History repeatedly proves them wrong.

The Democrats’ stated objective (increasing the share of total income taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans) has been achieved by the Bush tax rate cuts the Democrats originally opposed and now want to reverse. Apparently, Democrats either don’t understand economic cause-and-effect, or they’re not being honest about their objectives, or they just can’t stand to see Republicans (especially  President Bush) get credit for any positive outcome. In any case, reversing the Bush tax rate reductions looks like a terrible idea to me.

Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Candidate coverage should be consistent

From Robert Naiman, national coordinator, Just Foreign Policy

In an otherwise very informative article on Democratic efforts to promote Senator Webb’s bill prohibiting an attack on Iran without congressional authorization, and similar efforts in the House (“Dems divided over Webb’s proposal requiring approval for attacking Iran,” April 18), two sentences struck me as odd:

“Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) are the only 2008 Democrats on record as backing Webb’s effort. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) took the Bush administration to task on Iran in a Feb. 14 floor speech, supporting the spirit of Webb’s effort, if not his specific language.”

It’s not obvious what the logic is that causes you to exclude Rep. Dennis Kucinich from the universe of “2008 Democrats.” Not a sitting Senator? But you include Edwards. Not high enough in the polls? Have you looked at Biden’s numbers lately?

Kucinich is the only member of the House to co-sponsor all four resolutions circulating against attacking Iran and/or for diplomacy with Iran.

I certainly respect your right to decide that only “frontrunners” are politically interesting, but then you should apply this in a consistent way.

Urbana, Ill.