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Is $250,000 'rich'? Yes and no.

A drawing by Arthur G. Dove, Untitled (Sleeping

A drawing by Arthur G. Dove, Untitled (Sleeping Father in Dinner Jacket with Two Playing Children), c. 1930.

Regarding Ellis Henican's column "$250,000 isn't really NY rich" [News, Dec. 12]: This argument is incomprehensible to me. At $250,000 a year, they are barely getting by because Long Island is such an expensive place to live?

What about those of us who live on less than $40,000, or $25,000 - no vacations, eating out, maids, nannies, beauty shops, workout clubs, movies? Those of us who shop mostly at secondhand stores?

I was a small-business owner for many years; I owned an art gallery in Westhampton Beach, and I did rather well, but I never even dreamed of coming close to that magic $250,000.

Thank the powers that be for minimal Social Security benefits, albeit with no cost of living increase, and Medicare. What will we do when the massive increase in the national debt fuels the rationale for slashing these?

Don't include me in your pity party. Surviving for the rest of us is difficult enough.

Lynne Heffner Ferrante

East Hampton

As a retired member of the New York Police Department whose fixed income doesn't come close to $250,000, I think that if politicians of both parties really wanted to tax the "rich," rather than eliminating middle-income tax deductions such as mortgage interest, they'd make all interest income taxable, including municipal notes and bonds.

Although Wall Street would say this would increase local and state government borrowing costs, I believe that any increase would be less costly to middle-income homeowners than the loss of the mortgage-interest deduction on their income tax returns.

Furthermore, the additional income Albany and Washington would receive from the really superrich, who will have to pay taxes on the tax-free income they enjoy from municipal bonds and notes, would not only help level the playing field, but could also help hold down property taxes.

Jack Coughlin

Deer Park

So let me get this straight. Reps. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and Gary Ackerman (D-Roslyn Heights) are finding it difficult to support the extension of tax cuts for so-called wealthy individuals earning more than $200,000 and couples earning more than $250,000 annually ["Troubled by tax deal, LI Dems say," News, Dec. 8]. The last I heard, they represent districts on Long Island. Long Island, New York, right?

Granted, a couple earning $250,000 here can be considered comfortable. But wealthy? Hardly. I would like to know at what point they became so out of touch with the realities of living on Long Island.

Robert Lenahan



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