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Letters to the Editor: January 2012 

Chronogram Sells Out

To the Editor:

Think global, act local, right? Apparently not for Chronogram.

Just 100 days after the biggest natural disaster in our region’s living memory, with hundreds still without permanent homes and thousands still effected, I search in vain for any acknowledgement in your December issue of the serious ongoing struggles many of our neighbors—and your readers—still face.

As we go into the Christmas season, (you may not believe in religion, but you sure can sell those Christmas ads), this was a rare opportunity to rally local help by shining a light on the many grassroots groups that are struggling with slim resources to help their communities.

I did notice you allowed one flood victim to buy a quarter page ad about how he was screwed by his insurance company and lost his home (page 50).
Mighty big of you.

If there were an award for a cash-driven, consumerist publication that demonstrated maximum obliviousness to what’s going on in its own community, I’d nominate Chronogram’s December issue for the 2011 prize.

Believe it or not, you have readers whose interests extend beyond personal entertainment, artisanal cheese, psychotherapy, and treatises on what’s wrong with the rest of the world and how to fix it.

Ken McCarthy, Kingston

An Appeal for the 1%

To the Editor:

Thank heaven for the 1%. In the December issue of Chronogram, Larry Beinhart’s closing remark was “tax the rich. It’s good for you,” which implies that the rich are not sufficiently taxed. But wealthy people help America’s economy and they do so because it’s built into our system. Greed is a human factor, but there are greedy Marxists, socialists, libertarians, and capitalists. The human condition may be subject to conversation but economic systems shouldn’t take the blame. Here’s a news flash Larry: Socialist countries have greedy people too. So please let me mention our hypothetical one percenter named John Doe.

John is 55 years old and his engineering firm has been a major success. John has 600 people working for him. The past few years John has earned about $5 million per year and his net worth is $100 million. John’s home cost him $4 million. The raw materials that went into the house generated $72,000 in sales tax. Construction workers were getting significant taxable income too. John and his family have five cars, for which a total of about $16,000 in sales tax was paid. The cars use gas on which they pay federal excise tax and state tax of about $2,500. John pays property taxes, water and sewer taxes, school taxes, as well as sales tax on all purchases. On average John and his family spend about $100,000 per year on vacations which generate about $8,000 in sales tax and benefit other businesses. But here comes the big stuff. John has 600 mostly professional employees with an average income of $100,000 per year. He has 36 highly paid executives. The total payroll of John’s company is around $60 million. Most employees pay income, property, and sales tax. We find that John’s business is providing a service and generating around $30,000,000 per year in various forms of taxation. We haven’t even mentioned the taxes John’s company pays or that he pays personally!

So here’s the question, as Jack Cafferty would say on CNN. How does Larry Beinhart’s contribution to our world compare? Larry not only promotes jealousy of those who have been more fortunate than most but he wishes to actually punish them! Perhaps if the Beinharts of this world succeed with their message, the John Does of our world will disappear along with our viable economy.

Ed Fertik, Philmont

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