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Share the wealth, spread the taxes

The article ``Keep Congress Focused on Capping Entitlement Spending,'' June 30, objects to treating tax expenditures as a kind of entitlement that should be reduced as part of any entitlement reform and recommends cutting entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security as a means of cutting the budget deficit. The author is at odds with the General Accounting Office, which recommends cutting tax expenditures - defined as preferential provisions in the tax code such as exemptions and exclusions from taxation, deductions, credits, deferrals, and preferential rates, and which currently total $400 billion a year. Since the author was a member of both the Reagan and Bush administrations, it is easy to see why he opposes cutting tax expenditures: It might require sacrifice by the rich and special-interest groups.

An article in the July issue of The National Times calls our present tax system the ``privileged person's tax law,'' defining it as ``a system that is rigged by members of Congress and the executive branch. A system that caters to the demands of special-interest groups at the expense of all Americans. A system that responds to the appeal of the powerful and influential and ignores the needs of the powerless. A system that thrives on cutting deals and rewarding the privileged. A system that permits those in office to take care of themselves and their friends.''

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I do not disagree with reducing entitlements as long as everyone shares in the pain. Why shouldn't the rich and special-interest groups do their part in reducing the budget deficit? Why should they get out of paying their fair share of taxes by continuing these tax loopholes? Why should ``tax expenditures'' stay off the agenda? Let's not be duped by conservative double talk. Joseph Golden, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published, and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ``Readers Write,'' and can be sent by Internet E-mail (200 word maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115

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