Richard Rahn of the libertarian Cato Institute rails against the income tax in his Free Press column "What's best: Flat tax, sales tax or value added tax?" on July 17.
He claims that taxes as a percentage of GDP are way too high compared to, as an example, 1948. The question comes to mind: why would he select 1948? In 1948, we were "eating leftovers" from World War II; we certainly weren't buying warships or tanks.
He likes the idea of user fees, calling the gasoline tax "an ideal tax," and it might come close if everyone used gasoline or diesel as their fuel. He calls the income tax "liberty destroying" as many libertarians do. He likes the idea of "a low rate sales tax" as an alternative. Rahn asks us to imagine what we would do if future events limited us to doing only what the Constitution called for, which he interprets as protection of person, property and liberty (cops, defense, courts).
I read the Constitution differently. I like the phrase in the preamble, "promote the general welfare." The best and fairest tax is a version of what we have had for nearly 90 years; a reformed progressive income tax.
BYRON CHAPIN, Hixson
Sen. Lamar Alexander is advertising heavily about passing his Freedom to Fish Act. I was unaware that we had not been at liberty to fish.
This must have been a great problem to those who like to fish in dam spillways. Alexander must be equally proud of his vote for Senate Bill 744, the immigration amnesty bill. Why doesn't he tout that vote? A "yes" vote is obviously one in favor of granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.
The bill for which he voted depends solely upon the word of the administration to say that the border is secure. There is no guarantee at all. We are depending upon a prevaricator-in-chief to give his word that the border is secure. His word was that Benghazi was the result of a video. His word was that you could keep your doctor, and your insurance premiums would decrease with Obamacare. Where's that ad?
The senator must be proud that business can decrease its costs by hiring illegal aliens at lower wages than Americans. Oh, they aren't eligible for Obamacare (yet). Surely he would want his business pals to know about this potential cost savings.
HORTON HERRIN, Dalton, Ga.
Yesterday I visited one of the most beautiful places in the Tennessee Valley, Bald River Falls in Monroe County. Being a Monroe County native I first saw the falls when my parents took me as a toddler. With recent rains, it and the river flowing beside the trail above the falls were very impressive. What was especially impressive was that, despite the rain, the river was still clear and clean. I encountered a trout fisherman who was enthusiastic about the river having only recently discovered it.
The Tennessee Wilderness Act just introduced by our senators contains the provision to protect the headwaters of the Bald River, ensuring that this beautiful river will always be this clean and a suitable habitat for trout. The Forest Service currently maintains the Upper Bald Area as wilderness study, so it costs us nothing to continue to preserve it as wilderness. I hope that Congress can forgo partisan bickering long enough to pass this bill.