February 28, 2010

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Talking Taxes Is it possible that Charles P. Pierce is missing his own message in his sales pitch for loving the Massachusetts tax system (“Our Love-Hate Relationship With Taxes,” February 7)? Yes, taxes are the means for funding services; support is strongest when tax dollars are clearly directed toward necessary services. However, when tax dollars are spent unwisely and government bodies routinely dismiss reasonable protests, a frustrated electorate looks to alternatives. Whether taxpayers protest with ballot propositions, by shopping “tax free,” or voting for change, it’s a message that elected representatives are not listening to them.

Stephen Harvey / Boxford

Though our perception of the role of taxes is conflicted, many citizens proclaim libertarianism and the anti-tax agenda. Why? Because libertarianism is a political philosophy that grows out of the wealth in a society, like the urgency of home security systems. Ah, now I am a free man, dependent on no one. Rather than fund pothole repairs for everyone, I’ll buy steel-belted tires. In times of deprivation, the need for government services is obvious and the voices of libertarians dissipate into irrelevancy. But until the American people experience deprivation more broadly and viscerally (roads impassable; sewage untreated), libertarianism and its anti-tax crusades will appear more solid than our federal currency.

John Slonaker / Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Can someone please explain to me how the people of Denmark, with a tax rate of 50 to 70 percent, are routinely classified as the “happiest people on the planet”? Could it be that their attitudes of “more life, less things” and “who wouldn’t want a healthy, educated people?” -- the antithesis of the Me, Me, Me we have here -- give them different priorities?

Sandy Lewis / Hudson

What people want are services at a fair price. When we in the private sector see MBTA employees and State Police officers retiring after just 22 years regardless of their ages and immediately collecting huge pensions, we become cynical. There is now a huge divide between those in the public and private sectors, and the private sector is starting to push back. Pierce is not happy about this, but he should remember dissent is patriotic.

Bob Franklin / Belmont

To like Scott Brown for what he believes is one thing, but to believe a vague promise to lower taxes for Middle America is something else. First, he’s one (brand new) senator in 100. Second, he can’t create anything on his own. Third, he’s a Republican. These things together add up to only one thing: Senator Brown can only destroy or impede legislation that would include a tax break for Middle America. How many times in your life has a Republican voted for a tax break for the middle class (not the upper middle class), and not the richest 1 percent? I can’t name one.

Bruce McPhee / West Yarmouth

Comments? Write to or The Boston Globe Magazine/Letters, PO Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819. Letters are subject to editing.

  • February 28, 2010 cover
  • february 28 globe magazine cover
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