In regard to the letter posted in your Dec. 24, "Letters," captioned, "Personal labor tax rates are too high," there are several misrepresentations.
First, the writer wrongly asserts that the 1986 Tax Reform Act introduced the preferential tax treatment on capital gains, when, in fact, the act eliminated such treatment. Prior to the 1986 act, capital gains rates had generally been applied at but half the rate of that applied to ordinary income. It was none other than Bill Clinton who re-established the favorable capital gains rate differential when he reduced its rate down to a maximum of 20 percent. This, coming as it did on the heels of his raising the rates on what the writer terms "personal labor" to a high of 39.6 percent, restored the tradition of taxing capital gains at essentially half of that applied to ordinary income.
Secondly, the 1986 Act did absolutely nothing to establish a favorable tax rate on dividends and interest income, compared to ordinary income. All three of those types of income -- dividend, interest, and ordinary income -- were, with but few small exceptions, treated exactly the same, both pre and post-Act.
JOHN BROWN, East Brainerd
The David Cook column (Dec. 19) was timely and unflinching. Though I fail to fully comprehend or agree with his views on firearms, he rightly chastised recent political and media commentators for seeming to connect autism with the school shooting in Connecticut.
These school shootings are as incomprehensible as they are horrific. For politicians and pundits to entertain such claims is irresponsible and ignorant. How many are hurt by those attempting to connect autism with mass murder of innocents? How will they be hurt in the future when looked upon with suspicion and apprehension?
Within hours of the Jonesboro, Ark,. school shooting in 1998, many in the national media alluded to a Southern culture of guns, hunting and conservative values as cause. As these shootings continued in diverse areas of the country these commentators found other equally amorphous claims to satisfy their macabre fascination, yet offered no reconciliation for their previous "Southern Thing" commentary.
Mr. Cook could also focus criticism toward some in his profession, for it is the media with large audiences and blessings of First Amendment protections that often advances without challenge such profane discussions.
DAN C. JOHNSON