Something wrong with tax system
I worked for Norfolk-Southern railway for 35 years. I worked a lot of overtime. I worked a lot of double shifts (16 hours). I paid a lot of income tax; sometimes in the 35 percent bracket. I thought that paying that much taxes was OK because I was increasing the amount of my retirement check after I retired.
But now that I'm retired, I'm having to pay taxes on the first part of my railroad retirement that's the same as Social Security. My wife and I are paying taxes on 85 percent of our Social Security (or its railroad equivalent). We already paid taxes on this money when we were working. We're being double taxed.
I wrote my senators and representative, but didn't even get an acknowledgment that I'm alive. They're Republican and could care less.
This rule or law by the IRS is also not fair to married people as a single person gets a better break (two singles get $50,000 allowance before this law kicks in vs $32,000 for a married couple).
When Exxon-Mobil, General Electric CEOs, chairmen of the boards, etc., pay less percent federal income tax than I do something is wrong, very wrong! But that's what Republicans want.
CHARLES M. HICKS JR., Cohutta, Ga.
Corker must work, not have a party
I find it interesting the Times Free Press reported Bob Corker has possibly the largest campaign war chest in the nation and I, unfortunately, receive an invite to his birthday party which would cost me either $590 or $59, depending on whether I wanted to be a host or not.
The question I forwarded to his campaign is: "When did people start charging to attend their birthday party?"
Only a politician would be so low! With this country on the brink of possible financial ruin, the "Golden Boy" of Chattanooga can only think about raising more money for his "War Chest" and using his birthday to do so.
If this senator had our best interest at heart, he wouldn't be sending out birthday invitations trying to raise more campaign money. He would be in Washington fighting for what is right for this country.
SAM NEIL, Ooltewah
Talk of wars' end more of the same
The Obama administration's reduction in U.S. troops is too little, too late. Now, they are saying the wars will last until 2014. It seems to be like former President George W. Bush and company, as the U.S. military will continue to make the supreme sacrifice besides all the wounded coming home forced to live their remaining years with a different kind of life.
The families of our brave men and women keep looking for an end to these ongoing wars, but as usual, we don't see any light at the end of the tunnel.
The president's generals say they have the terrorists on the run, but all we hear every day is continued troop casualties, and what happens when some are lucky enough to make it home? They are put on a very long waiting list for VA disability claims. They are told that the VA is trying to improve the claims processing so that our wounded won't have to wait for moths or even years to get their well-deserved benefits. That is very unfair and somewhat un-American.
Our leaders don't seem to put enough value on the lives of our troops. God bless them and keep them safe.
RICHARD D. BLOOD, Ringgold, Ga.
Fleischmann must change his ways
I see where some 234 congressmen and 41 senators have signed a pledge "to oppose any and all efforts" to close tax loopholes that allow billionaires to pay less than their secretaries, or corporate giants to pay nothing.
They have pledged their allegiance to "Americans for Tax Reform," a special-interest group that uses political intimidation to coerce compliance with their anti-government agenda. It sounds remarkably like an urban street gang. "You want to hang around here, you join the gang and do what you're told ... or else."
I can understand how an insecure juvenile might succumb to "go along to get along" intimidation. But we are supposedly sending mature, self-confident adults to Washington to deliberate issues and make independent decisions on our behalf.
Mr. Fleischmann swore to uphold Congress' constitutional power "... to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts, Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States." But by pledging his loyalty to this group of Washington lobbyists he has compromised that oath of office.
Our country is on the brink of bankruptcy. Hard decisions must be made regarding deep cuts to government programs and services. Other hard decisions will likely be needed on the revenue side to restore our financial security. Unless our congressman declares his independence from special interests, he can have no role in a debate that will likely alter America's future.
PAUL WRIGHT, Harrison
Wealthy people make sacrifices
"Time for wealthy to join the sacrifice."
I cringe when I read a heading like the above recent letter.
Exactly what kind of sacrifice? Perhaps, getting a good education by attending night and weekend classes, perhaps working 14 to 16 hours a day, perhaps hocking one's house to finance a startup business, perhaps saving by doing without to get a business off the ground?
Does the writer realize that according to the latest IRS stats, the top 1 percent paid 40.4 percent of total reported income taxes according to the IRS?
The top 10 percent paid 71.2 percent of the nation's income taxes.
The top 50 percent paid 97.1 percent of the nation's income taxes and the bottom 50 percent of Americans who earned less than $32,879 paid 2.9 percent of the income taxes.
Most wealthy people have made many sacrifices in their life, unlike those who are screaming, "Tax them more!"
Liberals want to raise your taxes because they love big government, which is obviously bad for this country as witnessed over the last three years.
DON STEWART, Signal Mountain
Chamber queries are unanswered
The Times Free Press is to be congratulated on the expose of the Multicultural Chamber of Commerce.
But your job is not complete yet. Several quite obvious questions remain unanswered.
Who were the owners of the properties sold to the chamber using the HUD $545,000 grant?
What financial interests, if any, did any of the participants, or their friends, relatives or business associates have in this loan and subsequent purchase transactions?
Where was the legal counsel, and what advice did this legal counsel give relative to these apparently questionable and possibly tainted decisions, votes and transactions?
WALTER S. McFARLAND
Headline wording makes a difference
The headline in the Kings-port Times-News is: "Former Kingsport priest convicted of sexual abuse of altar boy to remain jailed until sentencing." This article, by Kacie Breeding, was quoted in your July 23 edition on page B5, with one notable exception.
Your writer elected to remove the Times-News' key word "former" from the headline.
What a difference a single word makes! Was the deletion purposeful? Does your writer hope to connect the honorific "priest" to this criminal, or to imply that Mr. Casey remains recognized by the Catholic Church as a priest?
Do you think readers like me are too "fussy" about minor issues?
Focus outrage on auto fatalities
For all the nuclear "zombies"!
Worldwide, approximately 1,200,000 people are killed each year in automobile-related accidents, at an estimated cost of $518 billion. Millions more are crippled and maimed for life.
Forty thousand-plus U.S. citizens were killed in auto accidents last year and thousands crippled and seriously injured.
Injuries and deaths from all nuclear power plants worldwide are insignificant compared to the auto death machines.
If you are truly concerned about humanity, where then is your outrage over automobile-related deaths?
WALTER MUIRHEAD, Jasper, Tenn.