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Where Should Taxes Be Cut?

Regarding "Why GOP Is Pushing Capital-Gains Tax Cut" (July 2), the Republicans should be pushing for a higher income-tax exemption instead of a self-seeking, capital-gains tax cut. Far more people would benefit by increasing the tax exemption. Everyone who makes money, from whatever source, would get a break.

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The GOP members in Congress have severely attacked the Internal Revenue Service recently. A higher exemption would liberate thousands, if not millions, of Americans from having to file a tax return. Many should see an immediate increase in the number of dollars they bring home each pay period, instead of having to wait for the government to issue a refund check in the next year.

The wealthy not only get the tax exemption, but they also will see greater income from all those dollars that everyone else has to use to purchase more goods and services. So instead of reducing a tax that will appear to benefit only the wealthy, let us increase the exemption so all people who are breadwinners can keep more of the money they get from their labor or investments.

D. Gordon Draves

Point, Ga.

The editorial "A Poor Target for Cuts" (June 30) stated: "Congress stands in danger of being perceived as a reverse Robin Hood - taking money from the poor to give to the rich."

This is not an accurate statement.

The Monitor could further distinguish itself and help alleviate class envy by honestly, accurately, and impersonally portraying tax and income issues.

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1. Why use the term "rich?" "Middle-class income" would accurately describe most people affected by the marriage penalty.

2. While earned income credits and social welfare programs do "give money" to someone, the tax cut you mention would allow taxpayers (again, mostly of moderate means) to keep more of their own money and not be given something originating with anyone else. It is a big difference, which I think you should take to heart.

Robert L. Braun

Stonington, Maine

Digital versus high definition

In "The Digital TV Movement: Can This Revolution Stall?" (July 9), there was a common mistake. In the third paragraph, digital television was confused with high-definition television.

Digital television does not necessarily mean motion picture quality. Digital simply refers to the transmission method. The current 525 line image with a screen ratio of 3 by 4 can be transmitted digitally. This is perfectly legal, by current FCC regulations, and would provide a slight increase in image quality.

For motion-picture quality, you'd need the so-called "high-definition" picture, with around 1,000 scanning lines and a screen ratio of 16 by 9. The high definition picture would also be transmitted digitally.

In planning for digital television, different broadcasters are considering different solutions. Some will merely digitally transmit today's picture. Others will go all the way and provide a "high-definition" picture.

I've been in the television industry for years. Pardon me if I don't understand why this is so hard for people to grasp.

Kevin Hanson

Rochester, Minn.

Editor's Note: Due to space constraints, the description in this article of digital television was oversimplified. According to FCC sources, however, the terms "high definition television" and "digital television" are often used interchangeably. High-definition television is transmitted in a digital television format, but, as Mr. Hanson states, different broadcasters may choose whether their transmissions have a movie-quality image.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to "Readers Write," and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to

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