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Letters

Let the wealth tax debate begin!

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg visited Nashua this week.
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg visited Nashua this week.Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images

Progressive movement is merely trying to revive what FDR did so well

Re “In visit to N.H., Bloomberg takes aim at Warren tax plan” (Page A1, Jan. 30): Like other moderates, Michael Bloomberg joins the conservative attack on Elizabeth Warren’s “ultramillionaire” wealth tax by calling it growth-crippling socialism and saying that, like Medicare for All and other progressive proposals, it is unaffordable. Ironically, progressives such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez started the confusion by describing their own reform proposals as democratic socialism.

However, nothing on the progressive agenda, such as free college education and a more progressive income tax, is more than an updated version of FDR’s capitalism-saving New Deal. Even were they all adopted, even if we pushed past those adjustments to create a hybrid economy of nonprofit cooperatives, public-private enterprise, and private for-profit small businesses and corporations, market-based firms would still be a significant part of our gross domestic product.

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It’s good that progressives are defanging the previously damning label of socialism. But they — and the media — need to clarify the discussion by making it clear that the progressive movement’s success simply would allow our society to continue functioning, albeit in a more humane, socially prosperous, democratic, and sustainable manner.

Steven E. Miller

Cambridge

It’s long past time to demand more from the ultrarich

While I commend Michael Bloomberg for deciding not to run as an independent, I must ask him about his comment that we “need a healthy economy, and we shouldn’t be embarrassed about our system.” We do not have a true democracy. What we have is a plutocracy, made possible over the last 35 years by the changes in the tax codes. Is this the system he’s proud of?

Yes, we need a bold plan like Senator Elizabeth Warren’s to start getting us on track to a truer democracy that we all can be proud of. Really, how many cars, how many homes, does one person or family need or even want?

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These proposed taxes leave more than enough money for grotesque accumulation of consumable products, with plenty to spare for investments.

Phyllis Bluhm

Roslindale

Expect wealthy to circle the wagons

Michael Bloomberg’s reaction to Elizabeth Warren’s proposed 3 percent tax on billionaires suggests what many have always suspected: The more money people make, the more protective they become to preserve that wealth.

The once-moderate Republican, now considering a run for the Democratic nomination in 2020, had an extreme reaction to Warren’s modest proposal to balance the outrageous wealth disparity in this country. With a nod to Venezuela, Bloomberg warned that if the United States moved just slightly away from capitalism, people would be “starving to death.”

Yet again, another politician uses fear to motivate.

I can only hope that not all billionaires are the same, and that if Warren Buffett were to run for office, he would double the offer to a 6 percent wealth tax.

Mark Golden

Newton

Warren offers more angry rhetoric than she does sound ideas

My top-of-the-list concern about Elizabeth Warren is her record, which offers negatives and accusations rather than positive accomplishments. The article “Warren targets super rich with tax on wealth” (Page A1, Jan. 25) features her charge that the richest families have shirked their fair share of taxes for too long. Nothing constructive, just angry rhetoric about the “rigged” economy and how no taxes are paid on accumulated wealth.

I doubt she understands business, and I think it’s unlikely she’ll be a proponent of sensible plans for economic growth. Instead she seeks to tax (read confiscate) assets from those she deems wealthy.

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Such a platform may start with the wealthy, but as we’ve seen before, it inevitably moves down the economic ladder, with an ever-higher tax rate reaching ever-lower wealth brackets. Many will be fooled by the claim that the taxes will affect only the wealthiest. No tax of this nature stays immobile. Politicians always find justification for expansion.

Instead of dwelling upon so-called injustice, our politicians would be better off ensuring a sound plan to educate our young and and encourage self-reliance to survive in a world that is increasingly competent and competitive. I doubt we should be convinced about our country’s success on Warren’s watch.

Martin L. B. Walter

Wellesley

We need taxes — we also need more civility in our politics

I was disappointed to read about Senator Warren’s newest tax proposal, and not because I object to taxes. We need taxes. We need them to be fairly imposed and responsibly administered. However, you quote the senator as saying that the “tippy top” of American families are “making a killing from the economy they’ve rigged,” and “they don’t pay taxes on that accumulated wealth.” This rhetoric does little to explain the underlying policy of the senator’s tax proposal. Rather, it perpetuates what is currently wrong with our political system: identity politics that serves to stoke resentment, label and isolate citizens — in this case, according to their economic status — and further polarize our society. It needs to stop.

I would welcome an informed discussion about equitably apportioning the taxes we need. But if it is wrong when the so-called far right engages in divisive language and tactics, then it is just as wrong when those on the left do it.

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We are better than this. And Warren should be better than this if she wants to lead as president.

Daniel E. O’Toole

Plymouth