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Estate taxes as anti-progressive As a tax professional, I take slight issue with your July 26 article "Tax on heirs in Congress's cross hairs," which seems to defend the rationale behind estate taxes. The government has no right to redistribute wealth upon one's death. If a family works hard to accumulate wealth, it should have a right to keep every penny within that family for however long they choose. If there is perceived political need to redistribute wealth, it should be done by some other means.

I challenge anyone to show me one lower-income family that was brought onto an even playing field with an upper-income family because the upper-income family had to pay estate taxes. In my opinion, estate taxes are just another way for the government to get their hands on people's money.

As for the argument that it helps advance the progressivity of the tax system, I think a better place to focus for that cure is the Social Security tax. This is a regressive tax in which anyone at or under the wage base is taxed on 100 percent of their income; while the higher one's income over the wage base, the lower percentage of it is subject to the tax.

John M. Talton So. Plainfield, N.J.

Science and religion complementary

I was deeply offended by the Great American Think-Off ("Deep thoughts in a small, rural town," June 11) and the subsequent op-ed piece "Science vs. religion" (July 20). Science offers a reliable means of understanding the physical world. The application of that knowledge to new technologies, and subsequent public and private decisions on how to use them, leads to good or bad outcomes. Religion at its best offers moral imperatives such as "treat others the way you want them to treat you" that can lead to better relations between people, but at its worst religion supports wars, torture, slavery, and hate crimes.

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