McCain’s unconvincing claim that Obama favors tax hikes

(Regarding article “McCain slams Obama in National Urban League speech,” Aug. 1.) I wish Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) could better understand — or better explain — what it means to “raise taxes.”

For example, tax law says that in 2011 the estate tax will have an exemption of $1 million per spouse, and a top rate of 55 percent. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) proposes an exemption of $3.5 million per spouse and a 45 percent tax rate. How does Sen. McCain count that as raising taxes?

In fact, Sen. Obama’s estate tax proposal would lose about $320 billion over 10 years compared to current law, while the cost of complete repeal is about $670 billion. (McCain’s much more costly plan will gut the estate tax.) That’s why United for a Fair Economy says it would make more sense to split the difference between 2008 law and 2011-scheduled law — which would mean exempting $2 million per spouse and a graduated tax from 45 percent up to 55 percent on big estates. Less than 1 percent of all estates would pay any tax under this proposal.

Why would Sen. McCain think the Urban League would be sympathetic to his plan to cut taxes mostly for the wealthy, when Urban League members are well aware of the racial wealth gap between whites and blacks? Sen. McCain should develop tax proposals that work for Americans who don’t have million-dollar estates.

Boston

Obvious kowtowing

From Shelley Coss

How gullible can we be to buy into this offshore drilling scam? Even if there were reserves of massive amounts, there would be no relief for years due the time and energy needed to find and drill. And once the devastation to our coasts and beaches had occurred, we would still need to be madly researching newer, better, less-destructive ways to power our future.

The Bush administration’s kowtowing to Big Oil has been obvious since the beginning. We are in a wasteful and pointless war in Iraq because of oil. Men and women who are honoring their obligation to the government are dying, and we are being lied to about that as well.

Arlington, Va.

NATO’s ‘rules’

From Michael Pravica

(Regarding article “McCain calls for U.N. resolution against Russia,” Aug. 11.) I must caution Sen. John McCain (who is known for his legendary irrational tirades) as we ponder Russia’s recent actions to save South Ossetia from total annihilation and genocide by Georgia, lest we start WWIII. Due to the eagerness of such people as McCain (R-Ariz.) to disregard international law in their fanatical and irrational actions against Serbia, Russia has seen the writing on the wall and is not playing by the “rules” anymore because Sen. McCain and many other American “leaders” rewrote them: Might makes right.

The West, via NATO, has set the very dangerous precedent, destroying international law, that by occupying territories such as Kosovo, “independence” can be illegally granted de facto. Russia understands this new modus operandi. …

The West … hopes NATO will intervene just as it viciously as it did on behalf of the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army. Those who will inevitably criticize Russia’s justified response to Georgia’s unprovoked attack on South Ossetia should first criticize NATO’s vicious and barbaric attack that punished Serbia for seeking to regain control of areas of Kosovo imbued with Islamic terrorists.

Henderson, Nev.

Chanelle No. 5 (or higher)

From J.T. Hardy

(Regarding annual feature “The 50 Most Beautiful People of Capitol Hill,” July 30 issue and expanded at thehill.com.) How can you have missed Chanelle Hardy, counsel to Rep Artur Davis (D-Ala.)? She is among the Top 5 that you have hailed as the best — easily. Your article is incomplete and will be viewed as such by many.

Don’t discount me just because I’m her father.

Gaithersburg, Md.