Letters to the Editor

Payroll tax is regressive but fair

I had to respond to "Apply more credits to payroll taxes" (Sept. 3, Editorial). While the payroll tax is regressive, lower and middle-income earners benefit incrementally more from the payroll tax than higher income earners. This applies to death, disability and retirement Social Security benefits.

Higher income earners pay into the payroll tax system on annual incomes up to $97,500. This figure has been increasing annually. However, there is a cap on the benefits received. It would be unjust to continue to increase the annual payment cap without also increasing the benefits.

Individuals paying into the payroll tax and not paying substantially into the income tax system should consider themselves fortunate. Their overall tax burden is far lower than for individuals paying significant state and federal income taxes. Yet they receive the same societal benefits (roads, schools, fire protection etc.) at less (or no) cost.

Lastly, the alternative minimum tax abolishes the standardized deductions beyond home mortgage interest. Thus, individuals with high incomes pay the higher of the two systems. We as Americans must decide if all citizens who derive benefits living here should pay into the system. Alternatively, should the upper middle class and the wealthy subsidize everyone else?

ROBERT B. CHERENSON

Turlock

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