In the May 7 letter “Battle of the billionaires,” the writer declared that progressive billionaires such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are “good” and conservative billionaires such as the Koch brothers are “bad.” I believe this needs further examination.
Both Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, as well as most others who have accumulated significant wealth in this country, have used top-notch tax accountants or attorneys to minimize their federal income tax burden. Although exploiting tax loopholes is legal, it is a stretch to say that these people have really paid their “fair share.”
Once these individuals have accumulated their massive wealth, they put their assets into a charitable trust and declare the main reason for doing so is altruism. This is a deception because the primary reason for setting up a charitable trust is to shield their assets from federal estate taxes upon their death. The altruistic goals are secondary.
This country has millions of citizens who rely on the federal government for assistance in food, housing, utilities, child support, disability payments and medical care. The money has to come from federal income taxes. While Bill Gates’ foundation is very generous to causes like vaccines or mosquito nets for Third World countries, is not paying taxes for domestic programs a form of altruism, as well?
With the nation running a $17 trillion-plus debt, I believe it is time for extremely wealthy individuals, progressive as well as conservative, who have charitable trusts to realize paying taxes for domestic programs is every bit as altruistic as contributing to causes outside the U.S. or “pet” causes such as museums or the performing arts.
The U.S. has been very good to these people, and it’s time they show their gratitude by paying their fair share of federal taxes. Warren Buffet saying he is in favor of higher taxes for wealthy individuals is meaningless if his charitable trust is set up to prevent his estate from paying them.
Andrew J. Friedsmann
Outraged and disappointed
I normally would be on the side of the police. But in the case of former Akron police officer Donald Schismenos, my sentiments are with an outraged public.
He should have been fired long ago. When he disobeyed his sergeant about leaving alone the lady who videotaped him, he should have been suspended right then.
And I don’t mean “suspended with pay.” He should have been suspended without pay. If the city had lost, then it could have given him is back pay. Suspension with pay is called “vacation.”
Now the news is out about all the videos and pictures this man had, many of which might have exonerated, or at least mitigated, the cases of some of those he arrested. Everyone seems to be pointing the finger at everyone else. At this time, the favorite scapegoat is the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
I am also extremely disappointed in the Akron police chief, James Nice. It would take an imbecile to think that Schismenos’ partner was not aware of all the taping, photographing and abusing of suspects that was taking place, and that much material was not turned over properly to the police department.
Yet the chief saw fit to assign Schismenos’ partner to the Internal Affairs Office. I was under the impression that officers in that unit were totally above reproach.
Does Nice really feel that this was the right choice? Let us hope that with this many eyes on this sad situation, all of the videos are studied to see if other defendants may have a legitimate beef about how their case was processed.
As a graduate of the University of Akron and Garfield High School, I am pleased to welcome Scott Scarborough as president of the university. I attended all three candidate presentations and thought each would have made a great president.
I was, however, rather disappointed that the Akron Chapter of the American Association of University Professors chose to degrade one of the finalists instead of celebrating the selection of Scarborough as president.
One of my principles has always been: You don’t build yourself up by tearing someone else down. Luis Proenza has left a great legacy following his 15-year tenure as president. Now, a new administration will start.
I must also applaud Youngstown State University on the selection of its next president. I think both universities ended up with the best candidate.
A better way to execute
In what is a departure from interest in or compassion for the pain and suffering caused to a convict being put to death by court order, I find myself in accord with criticism of the method of lethal injection.
The accord is due largely to political posturing by drug manufacturers. The formulation seems to be less efficient than in the past. Where we differ is, I offer a solution: a rope.
With a properly constructed gallows and a knot that can be taught by a Boy Scout, and a hood over the head of the condemned, execution is effective, quick and painless, unlike the death of the victim. It is cost-effective, as the gallows and the rope may be used again.
Having researched the U.S. Constitution, I have yet to find anything that persuades me that a convicted killer is guaranteed a more tranquil end to life than was endured by the victim of his or her crime.